Memphis design started with a gathering of architects and industrial designers in Milan, Italy in 1980, invited by Ettore Sottsass. They were all bored of the current state of design, defined by Modernism and Minimalism, and sought to form a new design collective to challenge the status quo.
They named themselves the Memphis group after the Bob Dylan song ‘Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again’, which played itself on repeat during their first meeting.
An exhibition followed in 1981 in which they showcased gaudy and colourful furniture made out of cheap materials and named after luxury hotels, in a parody of high class culture.
It caused quite a stir in the design community and made its way over to general art, graphic design and fashion. It found a particular home in the US against the austere backdrop of the Reagan administration. The newly formed MTV adopted it for its logo.
The spirit of Memphis Design was of joy and liberation, emphasized by explosive colour and geometry. The group disbanded in 1987 but the Memphis appeal continued into the 90s, as evidenced by the fashion and set design of Saved by the Bell.
It is a look that is inexorably intertwined with its time period.
Check out these 80s-Memphis-Style men's graphic print shirts we have in stock:
We also have an 80s Guy Laroche set with a Memphis style print: