It's pretty clear now that what looked like it might have been some kind of counterculture is, in reality, just the plain old chaos of undifferentiated weirdness. - Jerry Garcia

On June 27th, 2015, the surviving members of The Grateful Dead reunited for their final tour. With Trey Anastasio of Phish filling in for the late Jerry Garcia, the concert took place over two weekends to commemorate the band's 50th anniversary and offer a final goodbye to an international network of diehard fans. While many believed the five-day concert was the concluding chapter to The Grateful Dead's legacy, the Fare Thee Well tour reignited the dwindling flame within the GD community and a new generation of “Deadheads” emerged. Thanks to the mass popularity of the tour, the living members of the Dead—with the exception of bassist Phil Lesh—decided to team up once more, this time with long-time Deadhead John Mayer. The next era of the psychedelic jam band, dubbed Dead and Company, tours across the country inviting fans new and old to celebrate the Dead's historic catalog of jams.

Interestingly enough, this new generation of Deadheads isn’t just inspired by the music—they’re clamoring for the merch. Mayer—arguably as famous for his fashion fanaticism as his music—hired ex-House Industries designer Jeremy Dean to design a new line of merchandise for the Dead & Company tour after discovering his “Steal Your Face” (or "stealie”) tee that incorporated both the Black Flag logo and lyrics from “Sugar Magnolia.” The resulting Dead & Co merch was a smash hit, selling out at every venue.

In addition to a resurgence in official merchandise, the dramatic increase in Deadheads between the ages of 18 and 30—in stark contrast with OG fans well into their 50s—sparked the rise of various bootleg labels. Thanks to the inflated prices of vintage tees, fans are designing apparel with a DIY approach inspired by an extensive regard for streetwear and the Dead's surreal oeuvre. Over the summer, independent streetwear boutique Heir Portland teamed up with Dead Head—a curator of Grateful Dead paraphernalia—on a capsule of vintage and bootleg T-shirts using old zines from Portland-based GD concerts. Menswear guru Mordechai Rubenstein released a psychedelic Dead-inspired polo shirt with tattoo artist Fernando Lions and Dead & Company even opened a pop-up location at Union LA with original merchandise and collaborations from LA-based designers.

Up-and-coming labels like Petrified Good Garments, Bring Out Your Dead and From The Lot also capitalize on their mutual fandom, adoration and merch obsessions. Each homage utilizes the Dead’s classic imagery, combining graphic design with iconic logos to create garments that feel as unique as they do authentic. More than a fad, this DIY attitude has an inherent sense of authenticity, one seemingly missing from the ubiquitous realm of streetwear. The designs harken back to the OG days of Shakedown Street—a mass community marketplace outside every GD show with everything from bootleg and fanmade T-shirts to rolling papers. Unlike their predecessors, however, iconic motifs such as Stanley Mouse Miller's Skull and Roses logo and Bob Thomas' Steal Your Face are cleverly reworked in the context of contemporary streetwear.

These direct Grateful Dead homages and their respective cult followings are only a part of the current Deadhead resurgence. As opposed to more direct interpretations, there are designers who aren’t as explicitly inspired by the Dead’s imagery but rather their mantra and ethos. These designers don’t necessarily incorporate motifs depicting the Dead, instead borrowing inspiration from the various design elements, aesthetics and philosophies that make Grateful Dead merchandise so alluring. Various aspects, from organic color palettes, tie-dye and psychedelic graphics to the music and community, all in some way inform their design process. Consequently, it seems the holistic culture surrounding the Grateful Dead and their merchandise is bleeding into contemporary streetwear—especially within the Dead’s native California.

Here are five of our favorite streetwear designers inspired by the psychedelic and bohemian styles of The Grateful Dead.

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