ARTHUR WITH GORILLA BISCUITS AT THE ANTHRAX, WEARING A YOUTH CREW 88 LONG SLEEVE | PHOTO: BRIAN BOOG
A few days ago, I was flipping though a pile of my hardcore shirts and I came across my original Youth Of Today “Youth Crew 88” shirt. I had to stop and stare at it for a few minutes just to soak in how much of a well done and classic design it is.
Every time I see a Youth Crew 88 shirt, I can’t help but to think back to the first time that I ever saw one. It was March 19th 1989 and I was standing in line for a show at Club Pizazz in Philadelphia. It was a Soul Side, Krakdown, Insted, Vision show, (Soul Side and Krakdown never showed up.)
Regardless, there were a ton of people there and the line to get in the show was massive (or at least it seemed so at the time.) I remember standing in that line and watching multiple people walk up wearing those Youth Crew 88 shirts and just thinking, “wow, that new YOT shirt might be the coolest one yet!” And YOT had no shortage of cool looking shirts prior to this one, but something about how clean and simple it was just made it stick out.
Over the past 25 years since seeing the YOT “Youth Crew 88” shirt for the first time, it’s remained a favorite of mine. When I came across my original the other day I started wondering who might have designed it. The thought had never crossed my mind, but for whatever reason, it occurred to me that it looked like something Alex Brown might have had a hand in. Instead of letting my curiosity get the best of me, I shot a quick email to Porcell to see if I could get the lowdown. Porcell did indeed confirm, Al Brown was the man behind the classic Youth Crew 88 shirt.
I decided to shoot Alex an email to see if he had any memories he could share and here’s what he had to say…
It was designed prior to Youth Of Today’s 1988 summer tour at the apartment that Porcell, Ray and I were sharing in Brooklyn. I don’t remember what the inspiration for the design was but I must have wanted it to look like some sort of team logo. I was really into the way the first couple of SSD records looked and I suppose that could be cited as a motive for the typeface I used; something bold and clean. I think that Ray or Porcell probably had some input but they most likely left me to do my work without to much interference.
As for the heavy Youth Crew theme with “Youth Crew 88” on the front and “Youth Crew Across America” on the back, I think we all thought it was just sort of a cool moniker to attach to our group of friends and musicians. To throw it in everyone’s face was always fun too. As for the photo that was used; again, can’t remember who’s decision it was to use that particular pic but it’s a pretty great photo and it’s easy to see why we used it.
YOUTH CREW 88 BACK ART