Writer and music reviewer Grant Smithies says that black jumpers like this one were the uniform of the Dunedin Sound, not as a fashion statement, but because they were useful against the cold, cheap to buy and they didn’t show spilled beer or burn marks.
The Dunedin Sound was a punk-influenced lo-fi form of music championed by the Flying Nun label in the early 80s. It included The Clean, The Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings, Toy Love, Doublehappys, The Chills and many others.
When The Chills recorded the album Soft Bomb with American label Slash in 1992, they wanted to capitalise on the popularity of the Dunedin Sound and produced this jumper as a marketing gimmick to help promote the album.
Read more about wearing the colour black in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Black: The history of black in fashion, society and culture in New Zealand.