Everyone has a favorite t-shirt. A t-shirt is not just a piece of cotton you toss on your body every weekend. T-shirts have stories and tell about the wearer and communicate a message. T-shirts can have history and value, they can be security comforts, and they can be expressions of pride. Whether it's a shirt you bought at your favorite band's concert, a tee you found on vacation, or a brand or business you feel loyal - tees can be worth far more than the combination of thread, cotton, and plastisol ink used to create them.
This will be the inagural post of hopefully many. I've decided that I'd like to start featuring and interviewing a different individual each week about a few of their favorite t-shirts from their closet. Not just any tees - the tees they show priority when doing laundry, the t-shirt they'll wear even if it's dirty, the t-shirt that tells a story.
I'll be featuring my own closet today. As the co-owner of a shirt shop, I'm the lucky minority that gets to wear a t-shirt everyday to work. While I own more T&L shirts than any other brand, I'll be focusing on a few shirts today that get priority in my laundry schedule. My closet features shirts by The Seventh Letter, Dabs & Myla, Rebel 8, Warpaint, and a few obscure band tees, thrift store finds, and novelty tees I've acquired along the way. I'm proud of my collection, here's my favorite few and their stories:
OBEY: RUTHLESS STREET CATS
There is very little story behind this shirt. I found this tee on sale at Blue 7 about 3 years ago. I don't think I paid over $25 for it, and it wasn't my favorite at the time I bought it. For some reason however, I find myself always looking for this shirt in particular. I'm a big fan of Shepard Fairey and The Obey Giant campaign, I have some of his prints, and I love that his success stems from a long history of graffiti vandalism and graphic design. This tee has a very loose collar and is extremely soft. The print is either a discharge (essentially bleached into the shirt) or a water base ink, so the print has virtually a non existent feel.
BENNY GOLD: STAY GOLD
This shirt is a relatively new acquisition for me. I purchased this tee about 6 months ago from the Benny Gold online store. While I've been following the San Franciscan graphic designer for a while, I hadn't purchased any of his apparel until this year. Benny Gold is a skateboard inspired graphic design brand out of San Francisco. The quality of the apparel I've purchased is superb while reasonably priced. The design is simple and reflects the mantra of the brand: Stay Gold and maintain the livelyhood of youth. There is only one Benny Gold store currently and I think I take a lot of inspiration from his hard work ethic, hand rendered imagery, and his push to remain youthful all while being a skater, father, husband, and business owner.
I took a vacation to New York City for the first time in August 2010. NYC was essentially a graffiti mecca for me to visit. While walking around I would see pieces by some of the most famous graffiti artists in the world. One of the places I wanted to visit most while in the city was Alife Unlimited. Alife is home to one of the most prolific graffiti taggers in the history of the city: Earsnot IRAK. EAR is not known for creating beautiful graffiti art murals, he's known for simply writing on things. The importance of this tee comes from the memories of my vandal vaction back in 2010. As you can see it's becoming well worn and has paint along the back side of the shirt from a graffiti session and me accidently leaning against a wall of drying paint.
DNA GALLERIES: MAKE IT RAIN
I'm sure by now you've seen this shirt as it's also an acqusition from this year. A very good friend of mine, Dylan Bradway, designed this tee for his wife's boutique in the Plaza, DNA Galleries. The simplicity of this shirt is what really makes it for me, Dylan's design style is witty, simplistic, and clean. It's not uncommon for Dylan and I to send design drafts back and forth asking for critique and I remember offering my opinions on this shirt before it was printed.
You may have noticed that I didn't include any T&L among my selections for 'favorite tee.' Don't get me wrong, I have some very special T&L tees of my own. The Tree Tee was based off of an illustration my grandfather did, and the Giveaway tee is reminiscant of our huge party and taking a huge risk when moving into our new space. I just wanted to show a few tees that have meaning outside of our business. Whenever I'm not wearing T&L I always adorn whatever I'm wearing with a T&L button or lapel pin...
This is a Buffalo Totem t-shirt designed by Jason Pawley, also one of my favorites...
Hopefully that was an interesting look into my closet. I'm anxious to do future interviews and I'm excited to share with you what makes a t-shirt valuable to others. Feel free to send me your favorite tees and thorough discriptions firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "My Favorite Tee". I'll mainly be inviting the interviews, but if I choose to highlight your favorite tees, you'll get a free T&L shirt and some stickers!
Also, come out to the Plaza tonight to watch Tanner Frady and I do chalk art! Should be fun! See ya!