Last night, we attended Microsoft's soft launch party for Softwear, the company's new line of graphic tees designed by hip-hop artist Common and “inspired by the 1980s when both Microsoft and hip-hop really came of age.” The software giant's foray into fashion is intended to conjure a sense of nostalgic hipness around the brand, while reacting to the “I'm a PC” stereotype made popular by Apple. The shirts (which hit select stores in the US on Dec 15) incorporate old DOS iconography, geek vernacular, and a retro-futuristic aesthetic into some surprisingly stylish designs. Softwear's two lines – Classic and Common's designs – can be previewed at Microsoft's Softwear site where viewers can also learn about the impetus and story behind the concept, narrated by Common.

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