Threadless x GAP Invades A Mall Near You

It looks like Threadless has scored yet another major partnership. In 2010 they hooked up with Thermos and Target Stores nationwide. This year they’ve partnered with GAP and have invaded malls across the United States. I’m sure that this is a huge deal for Threadless that will indeed add nicely to their bottom line. However, I don’t know how I feel about this.

By doing this it’s as if Threadless is losing that element of exclusivity that made them special for me. Or maybe they’ve already lost that exclusive element and I’ve just been ignorant to it. It no longer is the case that you need to be in the know when it comes to Threadless. With the new GAP partnership, any Tom, Dick, and Jane can walk into one of the 3,248 GAP stores spread across the United States and pick up a Threadless T-Shirt.

Of course, this is great for the designers and the exposure that they will be receiving. It must be a seriously cool feeling to walk into a GAP store and see your hard work on display. However, is Threadless spreading itself too thin? Do they risk becoming another Quicksilver, Hurley, or Billabong? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Quicksilver, Hurley, and Billabong. Except my mom knows about each of those brands. Heck, my grandma probably does too. They aren’t exclusive brands like, or maybe how, Threadless used to be. Maybe Threadless has grown and no longer wants to be a niche brand that caters to the small crowd of artists and designers littering the Internet. Maybe Threadless wants world domination. Whatever it is, I just hope that Threadless tees never end up on a shelf at my local Wal-Mart. That, my friends, would be fucked up.

With that said…where’s the nearest GAP?

Check Out These hitRECord T-Shirts + The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories

hitRECord.org is a mass collaborative production company led by its founder, and director, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known on hitRECord as RegularJOE. All the merchandise found at THE RECORD STORE was made collaboratively on hitRECord. And all profits made at THE RECORD STORE are shared with the contributing artists per The hitRECord Accord. Neat!

I first stumbled upon hitRECord when they released their Tiny Book of Tiny Stories. I thought, to myself, oh, “Joseph Gordon-Levitt is writing books now.” It turns out that he’s been doing much more than that. Gordon-Levitt has been “directing” this open collective production company of creative artists that have been churning out some really great stuff. The idea is that you can upload an idea or work in progress or “record” as they call it on hitRECord and other people can download and edit your “record.” If your record goes into production then all profits will be split by all of the collaborators. In their first year, hitRECord split $50,000 amongst its various collaborators. Awesome!

Want to joining hitRECord? Visit their site and join now.

Threadless + Thermos = Threadmos

It seems that Threadless is experimenting more and more with mediums not related to T-Shirts. First we saw the release of the Threadless themed Griffin iPhone cases, and now the ubiquitous T-Shirt site has hooked up with another big name – Thermos. Now, you’ll be able to find some of your favorite Threadless designs plastered on Thermos branded bottles and lunch bags.

I originally saw these pop on the Threadless 365 Days of Awesome Flickr account, just days before Christmas. I found it a bit weird that they would release such a new product so close to Christmas. I would have definitely bought a couple of these had they been available before I had got all of my Christmas shopping done!

Both the bottles and the lunch bags are priced at $14.95 and are available for purchase exclusively at Target. Yep, that means you can head on down to your local Target store and (hopefully) find a nice stock of Threadless branded Thermos items.

Johnny Cupcakes X Hello Kitty

Johnny Cupcakes and Hello Kitty? I’m just as confused as you are. One is relatively new brand, founded by Johnny Earle in 2001 with its origins in Braintree, Massachusetts. The other is a character from a company that was founded in 1960 by Shintaro Tsuji in Tokyo, Japan. So what is the connection between the two and why on earth would they collaborate? I’m not too sure.

Other than each brand having a collection of kawaii (Japanese word meaning cute) characters, each brand seemingly caters to different types of people. But heck, these are two of the coolest brands on the planet and ever since Mr. Cupcakes announced the collaboration, I’ve been interested to see what they would come up with.

The collection (so far) includes 3 T-Shrits, 1 tote bag and 3 different stickers. For the most part, the T-Shirts feel more Hello Kitty than Johnny Cupcakes (with the exception of the black logo mashup tee). How do I know this? Well, my girlfriend LOVES Sanrio and really enjoys buying her friends Hello Kitty items. She has seriously gone on a couple of Hello Kitty shopping sprees in the last year. Needless to say, I’ve seen the inside of numerous Sanrio stores, in multiple cities (e.g. San Francisco, New York, Hawaii).

I actually think that these tees make a bit more sense than the Johnny Cupcakes X Looney Tunes collaboration that we saw a while back. I wasn’t much of a fan of those tees. And although I’d probably never wear anything from this Hello Killy collection, I think that the collaboration is a good thing for Johnny Cupcakes the brand, mainly because Sanrio fans who are new to Johnny Cupcakes will likely be attracted to the JC style.

The T-Shirts are priced at $40 a piece and are available now at the Johnny Cupcakes online shop and the retail stores.

Regan Smith Clarke X Cavata Clothing Co. Collaboration Tee

In Episode 63 of Co-Tee TV I raved about how I loved Regan Smith Clarke. His brand had a throwback style that was all his own. Since then, RSC has teamed up with fellow Bostonian, Lori Kirk of Cavata Clothing to deliver the first (of hopefully many) RSC X CAVATA Collaboration T-Shirts.

The shirt design is definitely closer in style to Regan Smith Clarke’s line than it is to Cavata. The creme colored American Apparel T-Shirt is very specific, featuring the names of both brands on the front of the tee as well as the date of release (June 2010) and the price of the T-Shirt. It will be interesting  to see how such a specific (but very well designed) shirt does with shoppers that are not hardcore RSC and/or Cavata Clothing fans.

The Regan Smith Clarke X Cavata Clothing Co. Collaboration Tee is available now at both the Regan Smith Clarke and Cavata Clothing online stores for $25. As a bonus, the first 30 orders will receive a free print of the design and free shipping. And if you need even more incentive to buy this tee, 20% of all proceeds will go to support music and art programs in public schools.

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Ouroboros Box Set by Oliver Hibert X LTD Tee

The Ouroboros Box Set is a nice little collaborative project between artist Oliver Hibert and LTD Tee. The Oliver Hibert Ouroboros box set includes:

  • High quality, screen printed t-shirt
  • 8” x 10” art print
  • Custom screen printed box
  • Artist bio on both the box and neck label
  • Sticker pack

Like all LTD Tees, this shirt is available only for a limited time. You can pick this shirt up from now until June 6. In fact, to help you out, there’s a little ticker at the top of the LTD website that lets you know how much time you have left to pick up this box set. As for the design, it’s a 4 color print featuring what looks like a recursive snake eating itself. Neat! The box set is reasonably priced at $24.99, so go grab one now!

“Oliver Hibert describes his art as an escape from the mundane, influenced, at times heavily by the music, colors and imagery of the psychedelic 60’s era. Hibert’s iconic style transcends time as it nods to the past, while being so contemporized that it speaks to the future. The art is smothered with busy patterns, alluring figures, super bright colors and plenty of exclamation marks.”

Ouroboros Box Set by Oliver Hibert X LTD Tee

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Johnny Cupcakes + Looney Tunes

Ever since I started to follow the indie T-Shirt scene with a keen eye, I’ve been a big fan of the Johnny Cupcakes brand. I even made it a point to visit his shop on Newbury street the last time I was in Boston. Up to this point I’ve always been impressed by his creativity and imagination, as well as the way that he has interacted with his community.

Having said that, the latest collaboration, one with animation pioneers, Warner Bros., just doesn’t do it for me. When I think Johnny Cupcakes I think exclusivity. Everything about the brand is exclusive. They’ve made a ton of money by parodying pop culture. And now that they’ve got an actual pop culture icon on the front of the tees, it makes feel more “meh” than “woah.” For some reason, seeing Bugs Bunny on a Johnny Cupcakes shirt reminds of similar Looney Tunes shirts I’d see in Sears or JC Penny, with the exception of there being a Johnny Cupcakes logo slapped on. Again, more “meh” than “woah.”

Johnny, before you could ever dream of landing big licenses like that from Warner Bros., you were already making the freshest shirts around. Warner Bros might need you, but your brand certainly does not need them. You mentioned, “We did have an entire bound book given to us that was filled with rules and regulations. A what-not-to-do book. From the littlest details like whisker placements. All in all, using the tools that were + weren’t given to us, I think these came out great.” I disagree, I don’t like these for the very fact that you played by the rules. What I would have dug would have been a unique take at these classic WB characters. Sorry Johnny, I just feel like you failed to deliver on this one.

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Daffy Duck

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Yosemite Sam

Linty Fresh To Do More Collaborations

Other than single rare collaboration (see Eye Scream below), Eric Terry of Linty Fresh has been running his brand on his own for the past three years. He has been the solo designer of his tee designs, buttons, website and even marketing materials. Despite this, Eric announced on the Linty Fresh blog that starting in March, he will be  releasing more collaborative based products.

It seems that the Linty Fresh brand is getting bigger and it’s good to see that Eric is broadening his horizons, so to speak. He did mention that the design concepts, as with his current line, will be his own. He feels that by working with other artists on these concepts, they can bring fresh and new styles to the Linty Fresh brand.

I look forward to seeing what Eric has up his sleeve and am quite interested to see who he will be working with in the future!

Eye Scream

In other news, the next Linty Fresh live chat is schedule for this Sunday, January 11. Check it out on ustream.

Linty Fresh

100th Tee Fury Tee and First Collaboration

Tee Fury has been around for just over 3 months and has just posted their 100th Tee. Tee Fury posts a different tee everyday for sale for a limited time of 24 hours. The great things about this new tee is that it’s not only the 100th Tee Fury tee to be released, but, it’s the first collaboration tee they’ve done. 

The art on the tee is the work of the many designers that frequent the Tee Fury forums. The idea was first suggested by Craig Watkins aka Wotto who suggested that people should submit their take on the Tee Fury bird logo for use on a collaboration tee. The final design is pretty great and the tee design itself is titled Furyous Omnibus. Grab yours now at TeeFury for a measly 9 bucks!

The Emptees Zombie Anniversary Tee

The Emptees Zombie Anniversary Tee has been in the making for the past month. JeffK first suggested on the Emptees forum that Emptees artist collaborate to make a tee filled with zombies. It was such a popular idea that within a few days it was officially endorsed and sponsored by the Emptees staff. 

Long story short, a ton of Emptees designers, including fan favorites like jimmyheartcore, gaunty heavyprints and sittingduck, uploaded their zombie designs. Over 50 different zombie drawings made it onto the anniversary tee. Emptees offered up a Photoshop file and users were allowed to play around with different color combinations for the shirt. The different color schemes were posted and users voted. The following color scheme won and will be printed on silver American Apparel tees. 

“A colossal community collaborative concoction coinciding with our birthday commencement. In other words, a limited edition zombie tee using over 50 drawings by Emptees members.”

Check out the color schemes that didn’t make it here. To see the artwork check out this link. Amd finally, to buy this tee, go here, it’ll ship on November 17, 2008.