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Anyone who has ever been to a metal concert will have seen them: We're talking about patches, the iconic scraps of fabric that fans apply to their clothes to flaunt their taste in music and favourite bands.
In addition to band t-shirts, patches, which come in many shapes and colours, are probably the most popular merchandise product on the music scene and are an indispensable part of the culture. Patches are a diverse accessory that can adorn any piece of clothing in no time at all and make a statement about your favourite band.
The cowl - the reason there are patches
The patch trend actually comes from the motorcycle and rocker scene and spread to heavier guitar music at the end of the 1970s. The so-called cowl - usually a vest or jacket made of leather or denim - is adorned with the logo and name of the wearer's own motorcycle gang and shows their affiliation to the group.
Well-known examples of a typical motorcycle gang are the Hell's Angels, whose trademark is a skull with a motorcycle helmet and wings. In the metal scene, instead of bike club names and logos, the lettering of favourite bands or popular record covers are put on the cowl instead. This is how fans show their loyalty and enthusiasm and at the same time create a unique and stylish piece of clothing that is completely personal to its owner. A classic style for the trend, which can often be seen at concerts and festivals, is usually to have a large back patch that fills the entire back of your jacket. These patches usually represent bigger iconic band names like Metallica or Iron Maiden, or AC/DC, and the patches often show album covers. The rest of the jacket is then filled with smaller patches and logos - usually until there is no space left - because for long-standing fans, this time consuming hobby is often carried out with a lot of passion.
Big or small ...
The shapes, colours and sizes of band patches are as diverse as the music that they represent. Rectangular or square patches which usually measure up to 10 x 10 centimeters and include band names and an illustration, are typical. But unusual shapes, such as precisely cut-out lettering, round logos or silhouettes, are also popular.
The EMP patch shop is filled with classic monochromatic patches as well as colourful ones in unusual shapes. Larger back patches often show well-known album covers from well-known bands and are particularly popular among collectors - especially rarer patches that can only be purchased at concerts or tours, or that are no longer manufactured.
Modern production technology means that multi-coloured patches and shaded illustrations with lots of detail are now easy to find, for example exact replicas of famous mascots such as Eddie from Iron Maiden plus miniature versions of legendary album covers.
But patches don’t just play an important role in the metal scene and the designs go far beyond the classic iron crosses and anarchy symbols of the biker crowd. Many of the patches in our online shop display popular logos and characters from film, TV, gaming and comic books. With EMP you can place your favourite characters from Walt Disney right next to Slayer - the only question is, will you still pass as a real metal head!
Not just for Battle Vests!
Although the cowl with its colourful collection of fabric is really eye catching and an indispensable part of the music scene, other items of clothing can also be upgraded and re-designed with patches. Jackets, rucksacks and shoulder bags in particular offer plenty of space for fabric logos, giving each item it’s very own look. Patches are also ideal for collecting, because there are often band logos and designs that can’t be found on any other item of clothing or merchandise.
There are no limits to the variety of colourful pictures that you can sew onto your clothing. Whether seen individually as a fashionable detail added to a shoulder bag or in combination on a classic denim vest, a patch adds a cult accessory that can enhance any look. In the patches Shop at EMP we offer a large selection of different shapes, colours and designs and you are sure to find something from one of your favourite bands.