Did Suicide Squad steal style from Die Antwoord?

Random blog from me I know, not on topic usually but who cares, it’s my blog and it’s my creative outlet so I’ll write what I want when I feel like it. Today, this news story got me thinking and chatting on Twitter so I thought it was worth a (not so) little post to discuss this story and the issues with claiming ownership over certain creative ideas or looks. I’ve not seen Suicide Squad myself just yet, but I’m very excited to and adore the styling of both Die Antwoord and the Suicide Squad characters. So here’s what happened…

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Yolandi Visser of South African band, Die Antwoord called out Suicide Squad director, David Ayer last night after fellow band mate Ninja attended the premiere with his kid. Yolandi posted this in a rather aggressive but very them style, you might need a South African slang translator for some of it, but you’ll get the gist.

yes David Ayer u jockin our style. callin ninja up before your movie came our pretendin 2b down, so it looks OK when u bite our black & white graf style & our opening sequence to umshiniwam & an all da lil tiny details u nibbeld dat other people wont see but we notice. Cara & Jared told us how much u were talkin abt us on set but u never asked our permision to rip us off. An when ninja texted u sayin wassup wif dat u said nothin like a scared lil bitch. U were jus flauntin our names pretendin to b down. u aint down an u never will b. but before we knew da extent of ur two face nature – u invited us to ur movie premiere(which i didnt wanna go to) but ninja went , tinkin ur solid guy an mayb there was jus a lil “misunderstandin”. Den poor ninja had to sit thru dat hole bullshit movie. An u even got da nerve to say wassup to him smilin – an ninja has to b nice cus he is there wif his kid. But we all tink u wack. U shud start a crew called:,”im a fake fuck” ask kanye if he wants to join u. Cum show ur pretty face at my studios. U know Muggs & u know where da Soul Assasin Studios at. we watin for u. @djmuggs_the_black_goat_ @zef_alien @boojie_baby_ @ragingzefboner @_dark_force_ @dejanvisser @djhitekisgod @jipsi518

A video posted by ¥O-LANDI VI$$ER (@prawn_star) on

It’s very possible that many of you don’t even know who this woman or band are. I had seen a few images of Yolandi over the years and thought she looked interesting but it wasn’t until Neil Blomkamp’s awesome movie Chappie that I became aware of them fully. Chappie was a very interesting first introduction to Die Antwoord as the characters and story were intentionally inspired by the band linking up with the South African roots of the Director, band and film’s story. I was fascinated by the band’s image and styling on screen. Immediately after watching the film I binge watched a bunch of their music videos and although their music wasn’t 100% my cup of tea, I adored Yolandi’s styling and the creativity of their videos, many of which are directed by them and feature their art, styling and friends. Here’s one of my faves…

If you’ve never heard of them, the video views on this are testament enough to their popularity. They’re kind of a big deal, right. Spot Dita Von Teese, Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Marilyn Manson and Cara Delevigne looking awesome in this one too. To add the the creativity it’s directed by Ninja (the guy in the band) and Yolandi’s styling is just awesome, they don’t just create music, they create art. Seriously, I love this girl’s style. The other good to know thing about Die Antwoord is that they represent a subculture of style from South Africa called Zef, think Japan’s Harajuku but tough and urban influenced but some of the same colours and layering of Fruits or Decora style from Japan.

Although many people may not have heard about Zef, you can clearly see its influence in a lot of mainstream fashion, music and art. Die Antwoord are a key band to the Zef look and their roles in Chappie represent it well too. Off the top of my head, Lazy Oaf, Jeremy Scott and some of the fashion collections from Adidas could be said to be influenced by Zef style. It’s also totally likely that the return of the undercut hair trend for women took some inspo from Yolandi’s iconic hair style.

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So, to the Suicide Squad battle, yes, you can totally see ALOT of similarities between Die Antwoord and Zef style in the character design of Harley and The Joker. They could be Ninja and Yolandi’s alter egos in this version and I don’t think you can argue with that when you know a bit more about the band and Zef. However, do they have the right to complain about it? It’s a tricky one, because people are always influenced by others, but when do you cross that line? When does it become plagiarism? Can you even plagiarise style?

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We almost all know the feeling when you turn up to a party wearing the same outfit as someone else and if you’re anything like me it’s a bit of a battle to ensure that the chances of you twinning with someone are as low as possible, I pride myself in cultivating a style that is entirely my own. I’m pretty sure this is why Ninja and Yolandi are pissed off, but I’m not entirely sure what the film’s creatives should have done about it. Whatever the case I’m 100% sure that there were some Die Antwoord photos on a mood board somewhere in the process of designing the characters for the Suicide Squad movie. I love how the styling turned out, but if they’d been influenced by me I’d want some sort of recognition somehow. What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Did Suicide Squad steal style from Die Antwoord?

  1. I’m seriously sceptical. I think the two were more likely influenced more by rock/punk aesthetics. Especially when you take into consideration how much rock music was in the movie. Unless zef and yolandi are fashion designers I dont think they get a right to call people out because they happened to pair a few outfits similarly.

    Not going to lie I find a few of their songs come off annoyingly egotistical too (as is common in rap music – massive generalisation i know). This whole calling out david ayer out thing just confirms (to me) how much of a over inflated ego these guys are just cause they’re kinda/sorta famous (harsh words I know xD )

    I dont really see the link for the most part. Plenty of people out there with tattoos all over there body. Heres a comparison of Harley & Debbie Harry back in the day – influemce is so much more obvious here!
    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VkhwJUy4yLk/V520jmm0bxI/AAAAAAAAceY/5YyhGAu1PNIoprwUe8AHI9AIZJS2BszEwCLcB/s1600/DH.jpg

    1. I agree with you 🙂
      and even that … It’s no longer about ZEF but about the fact that more and more often people are looking futuristic inspiration

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