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Launching against the backdrop of the global pandemic, 90s protest brand DEATH™ Cigarettes unveils a new aesthetic and streetwear offering. The new collection captures the uncompromising stoic-spirit of the iconic DEATH™ brand, bringing back to life the brand’s powerful imagery across signature streetwear shapes crafted from custom-developed fabrics, sold exclusively at LN-CC.
London-based entrepreneur BJ Cunningham launched DEATH™ Cigarettes 30 years ago, creating smoking products emblazoned with the universal symbol of poison and disease, it stood for “The Truth” in a market riddled with fear, hypocrisy and lies. The message was simple: Smoking kills. Given that information, if you choose to smoke, it’s your funeral. DEATH™ was a protest.
During its tenure as the world’s most infamous smoke, DEATH™ defiantly burned brightly, with DEATH™ paraphernalia finding its way onto the backs of the most influential artists across the globe; the mavericks, the outsiders, the rebels, the activists, the game-changers, the exceptional and the brave.
The launch of DEATH™ Cigarettes as a streetwear brand, sees original founder BJ Cunningham teaming up with his Los Angeles based partner, fashion entrepreneur and Creative Director, Benn McGregor. Following an ‘unprecedented’ 18 months in which our understanding of, approach towards and philosophies around LIFE and DEATH have come to the fore of our collective conscious, LN-CC asks BJ and Benn what DEATH and LIFE AFTER DEATH means to them and unveils DEATH™ Cigarettes X LN-CC ‘Live Immediately’, a collaborative short film featuring music expertly composed by Benn.
What does DEATH and LIFE AFTER DEATH mean to you?
BJ Cunningham: DEATH is always relevant. Always present. Always True. Without DEATH there is no Life, so DEATH is Life and Life is DEATH. The pandemic just reminded (re-minded) us, woke us up a little, rebooted.
The shock of the Pandemic taught us all an important lesson: We have to build resilience, survive and thrive through unpredictable, changing, and unfavourable events. We should prepare for a changed world and prepare now for the next crises queuing up around the corner (because its sure as fuck a-comin’). So DEATH serves as a constant scream to Live Immediately. To find something to Die for. It is not about fearing DEATH, it is about fearing never having lived. That’s the essence of Memento Mori.
DEATH looks at all of this through a Stoic lens. There are things that we can change and things that we can’t. Its binary: “I can” or “I can’t”. Life and DEATH. DEATH says Live in the “I can”. Focus on what we can control, accept what we can’t. Be in a fearless place, a world of Love, because Love is ultimately the absence of fear. Then Love every outcome (“Amor fati”), especially the failures, the lessons. Consider obstacles and problems as Opportunities. Take clear action. Always try to do the right thing, because that’s all that we control. Be Here Now. Speak Truth. Don’t take yourself too seriously, because you’ll never get outta this World alive (100% money back guaranteed).
Be Prepared - Practice misfortune. Act, don’t Re-act.
Be Mindful - Domesticate emotion. Act out of logic.
Behave - Act for the good for All. Direct every action toward common welfare.
Be who you really are. All ways. Stop pretending.
Be in Love.
Too bad you’re gonna die.
And LIFE AFTER DEATH is the proof of all this, that you cannot actually fail. 30 years ago DEATH was a tobacco product. Today it has reincarnated as a T-Shirt and accessories brand. There is always Life after Death. There is always another chance. The Game is never Over.
Could you introduce the LIFE AND DEATH film in your own words?
Benn McGregor: The film is a prayer to being alive. To really Living. It’s a homage to Life. A mantra for every generation. It harnesses the power of nature, the beauty in chaos, destruction and creation. It glorifies throwing ourselves willingly into the arms of chaos, knowing that the Universe will catch us, because she always does.
So the film surfs the binary, the line between two worlds. It eulogises both the dark and the light, the exhilaration of being on the edge, in the moment, dancing where Angels fear to tread. It carves the snaking curve of the Yin Yan, sticking to the line in-between, embracing black and white, accepting both, and joining with the ‘laughter in the woods’.
We want the film to inspire the idea that we can walk that fine line, because we all surf a monster wave. It’s called living. If we wanted to sum it up in two words it’s this. DEATH. Live Immediately. (OK, three words).
The music is a solid groove you could land a jet on; one merciless relentless riff that begs us all to dive into the mosh pit of existence and join with the dance of Life.
DEATH™ Cigarettes is now available exclusively at LN-CC.