What do you think about the 'The End' shirt, C?
Hey, friend! I have many thoughts about the “The End” shirt.
So, first off, for me to answer this question, you have to recognize that Louis has a long history of communicating with the fanbase via his clothing. Sounds crazy, I know, but bear with me - I’ll explain. He does this a lot. A great deal of his signaling to the LGBTQ+ community is done through his clothes.
Here’s just a few (of many) examples, in case you’re unfamiliar.
Exhibit 1: The Queen’s Surf shirt, advertising the most popular gay beach in Hawaii. He wore this shirt multiple times, even after he would’ve seen people on twitter/tumblr recognizing what the beach is. He could’ve said, “oh shit, I didn’t realize the beach was gay!“ and not worn it again, but he didn’t. Instead, he wore it again - this time for an entire day of filmed promo that spawned probably 20 different filmed interviews for TIU - all of them featuring him wearing the shirt.
Exhibit 2: Rainbow shaka shirt, rainbow Apple shirt. Both of these were worn after/around milestones that directly pertained to the LGBTQ+ community. The shaka shirt was worn at a concert that had no participants for Rainbow Direction. It was the very first rainbow worn by any of the 1D guys.
The rainbow Apple shirt was worn right after Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, came out as gay. This, of course, spawned Bullshit 2.0.
Exhibit 3: The Polari clothing. At his High Snobiety shoot, Louis wore two separate shirts that feature phrases in Polari. Polari is a language that was used by gay British men. Out Magazine wrote a great article about it - check that out here. Polari Polari, which makes the clothing Louis wore, calls it the “language of the subversive” - the language of the revolutionary.
Exhibit 4: The Robert Mapplethorpe hoodie.
Mapplethorpe was a famous photographer.
“His most controversial work is that of the underground BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s of New York City. The homoeroticism of this work fuelled a national debate over the public funding of controversial artwork.” (x)
A quote about the photo on L’s sweatshirt - the 1987 photo:
The 1977 image is of a tattered flag was taken in the summer of 1977 in the Pines, a gay-friendly resort on New Yorks’ Fire Island, where Mapplethorpe’s lover, Sam Wagstaff, had rented a house. The 1987 image was shot after he was diagnosed with AIDS and knew he didn’t have much longer to live. In contrast this flag is not tattered unlike the previous one. Both flags show resilience and endurance.
Exhibit 5: The Billie Jean shirt. In the BTY teaser video, Louis wore a shirt that prominently features the artwork for MJ’s Billie Jean on it - Billie Jean, the song that infamously has the lyrics, “the kid is not my son”.
This song has been connected to Louis and BG for a long, long time. Does anyone remember when Billie Jean used to be played after 1D shows during OTRA? There was enough speculation around that alone for Louis to see it, and for him to see that fans connected the song to BG. He would’ve known that when he wore it in the video. What’s more, he wore it in a video that was filled with easter eggs and was meant to be analyzed by fans.
Here’s the point I’m trying to make with this trip down memory lane: Louis repeatedly communicates with the fans (and signals to the LGBTQ+ community) through his clothing. He’s very intelligent. He’s purposeful with what he wears, and he knows what it means when he wears it.
Because of his long history of communicating through clothes, I think that “The End” is no exception. Just as he knew the fandom’s connection to Billie Jean, to bees, etc. - he also knows that “end it” is the motto of every Larrie on here. I think he sees much more than some people give him credit for.
I don’t think that he would wear something like that lightly, knowing what “the end” means to the fandom. He knows what we’re interpreting that as. What’s more, he wore it at rehearsals for The X Factor - the performance in front of S*mon Cowell and Co., who have been tearing him down and holding him back for years and years.
I made a post about the shirt back in December when he first wore it, so I’ll quote myself here - the part about the date of the shirt is particularly poignant to me:
First off, the shirt is called Othello’s Scorpion, and it’s from the brand Off-White. The shirt has been released for months now - it came out in very early March. That fact alone makes me think that the shirt is intentional, since he’s held onto it for so long.
The scorpion on the shirt: it’s small but very deadly if you mess with it. They’re also incredible survivalists - they can survive in very harsh environments. The scorpion itself is a symbol of lying in wait, of biding your time and waiting to strike at exactly the right moment. Not to mention the fact that he was showing “The End” off, front and center in that IG story!
Finally, the name of the shirt is also interesting. Othello’s Scorpion. Othello was a famous Shakespeare protagonist; he’s described as a “brave and competent soldier“, and he’s famously manipulated by his deceitful Ensign, Iago, into believing false information.
Long, long, long-winded story short:
I think that “The End” is very important - similar to Harry getting the bee. It’s like Louis is checking in with us, and letting us know that things will get better soon.
ETA: Perhaps the clearest and most obvious example of communication via clothing was the Stella McCartney “tomorrow” sweater from the BTY teaser video.
The teaser video was released the day before BTY came out. Louis unequivocally knew that he was communicating with fans through his clothes by wearing that sweater in that video.