Everything You Need to Know About T-Shirts in 1000 Words

The History of the T-Shirt in 1000 Words

The History of T-Shirts in 320 Words

One-piece “union suits” are cut into separate top and bottom pieces. The top part of the union suit is long enough to be tucked into the waistband of bottoms. Miners and stevedores use the T-Shirt to combat the hot environment. The United States Navy makes the T-Shirt standard issue at around 1918 and are used as undergarments worn under uniforms. The T-Shirt appears in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for the first time in 1922. During the Great Depression the T-Shirt becomes the default garment for many workers. The Wizard of Oz releases the first promotional T-Shirt in 1939. Presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey was the first to put a political slogan on a T-Shirt and it said “Dew-It With Dewey.” Charlie Brown first appears in a T-Shirt in 1950. Following World War II it is common to see veterans wearing T-Shirts with their trousers as casual clothing. Marlon Brando turns the T-Shirt into a fashion statement after wearing one in A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951. In 1955, James Dean appears in Rebel Without A Cause in a white T-Shirt making it the symbol of rebellious youth.

Tank tops, A-Shirts (wife beaters), muscle shirts, scoop shirts and v-necks are developed as variants to the T-Shirt. Plastisol ink is developed in 1959 allowing variety in T-Shirt designs. Screen printing becomes the most popular form of T-Shirt printing. Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara graces the T-Shirt of many activitsts in the 1960’s. John Sebastian and Janis Joplin popularize tie-dyed shirts. Jacqueline Bisset appears in the movie The Deep in 1977 and is seen surfacing wearing a white T-Shirt and a bikini underneath – the Wet T-Shirt is born. Thermochromatic dyes are introduced in the 80’s and change color when subjected to heat. In the 90’s, Hip Hop afficianados wear T-Shirts that extend to their knees. Threadless revolutionizes the way T-Shirts are designed and sold online in the 2000’s with their crowd sourcing model of business.

Charlie Brown

Co-Tee TV Facebook Fan Page

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Indie Tee Spotlight #18: Endgame Clothing

This week, I’ll be featuring two different clothing brands in two different Indie Tee Spotlights – to make up for missing last weeks post. First up this week is a brand that I featured in Glorious Nonsensities Episode 6: Crazy Bananas, Endgame Clothing and Chess.

I was lucky enough to chat with John OBrien, the founder of Endgame Clothing. He discusses why the game of chess is so important to him and what prompted him to start a clothing company that is focused on the chess playing community. Despite having such a defined demographic, John has made his niche in the clothing industry and hopes that the opening of his new online store will take his brand to the next level. For John, it’s all about bringing exposure to the game he loves and is so passionate about. Also, Endgame Clothing is the newest addition to our Attack of the Coupon Codes promotion so you can now save 20% off of your entire order with the coupon code “COTY”. 

Endgame Clothing

Coty: How long have you been playing chess? Do you compete professionally?

John: My father first taught be to play chess when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I was a casual player for many years before becoming more serious with the game. I play in tournaments and online, but I’m nowhere close to a professional player.

Coty: What is it about chess that inspired you to create your own clothing line around it? How would you describe the typical attire of the average chess player?

John: Because I was a chess player, I wanted some chess clothes. But the only chess shirts I could find were totally lame. And I’m not talking about nerdy chic, I’m talking straight up lame – the kind of lame that gets your ass kicked! So in 2001, while writing a screenplay with a buddy of mine, I had this funny idea for “Hardcore Chess Apparel.” It was really just a joke. But when I came across a friend of a friend of a friend who silkscreened shirts in his garage, I asked him if he would make a shirt for me – this was the start of Endgame Clothing. It’s been Bishops and Bentleys ever since! ;-)

The typical chess player’s attire is pretty typical to anyone else: jeans and t-shirts.

Wandering Kings

Coty: You opened up your online shop last month, after 6 months of planning and preparing for the launch. What was that 6 month period leading to the launch like? What were the most important lessons you learned about starting an apparel company?

John: The 6 months of preparation before the launch of the online store and the new designs was quite an education! I was starting from scratch. I had one crappy handdrawn shirt that was printed on and off in some dude’s garage for several years, but I didn’t know anything about design or suppliers or e-commerce. I basically wandered around in circles for a few months until I found a little website called Emptees. This changed everything! Suddenly I had instant 24/7 access to the most talented people in the industry. I still had a crazy time putting everything together, but there is no way I would be where I am today without the Emptees crowd – thanks, guys!

There are many lessons I learned along the way, but I will give you one specific example. Since my launch, I have been very happy with the sales of all of my shirts except for one, the one I call Trophy. I basically wanted this design to be “light on the chess elements.” My rationale was that I wanted to offer a shirt for people who might not be comfortable with a whole lot of chess on their chest. I came up with the concept and the artist did an amazing job with it. I love the shirt, but it’s my worst seller!

After asking some of my best customers why they never chose the Trophy shirt, I found the reason. The reason is that if people are going to sack up and buy a chess t-shirt, they want chess on it!! So the moral of the story is to stick with your branding!!

Trophy

Coty: Have you gotten feedback from other chess players? What has their response been like to your brand and your designs?

John: The response so far from other chess players has been great! I even have a few fans that have gone out of their way to help promote Endgame. So it’s really the players and fans that make everything worth the hassle. There have been many times when I have thought to myself, “Chess t-shirts? Chess t-shirts? What the hell am I thinking?” But then getting a really nice email or picture from a fan makes it all worth it!

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WatchTeeV Launched

WatchTeeV is the newest site by the same guy that brought us The Art of Apparel. This brand new site is dedicated to collecting and posting videos that are all about the T-Shirt. Topics range from professionalism, to screen printing to preparing designs. It’s a great place to find videos focused on the tee industry. Although the selection is a bit sparse at the moment, we can expect to see the number of videos rise as the site takes off.

The idea is the brainchild of the members at the tee forum, Emptees, who discussed such a site during an online chat session. Hillman also known as MadeByMas on Emptees, took the idea and ran with it and was was able to do a great job on the new site. Although still in beta mode, users can submit video links that the admin can review and then post on the site. Hopefully I can add some of my videos on there in the future! Check out WatchTeeV! 

watch-tee-v

Howard The Duck

This tee by Garret Egles has been getting a lot of attention over at the Emptees forum. The tee has a huge print of that Marvel character turned movie star in the 1980’s, Howard The Duck. From the preview, the print looks huge and has a back print as well that is just as huge. The back has a line taken from the 1986 film, “On my planet we don’t say die, we say kill!” 

It’s Alive has this shirt available for presale and it is going for $30.00 – a hefty price but you do get that huge front and back print. The front consists of 5 colors and the back has 3. Another thing to note is that this tee is super limited and they are only printing 36 of these on tees and 16 of these on tanks. They will be available in Mint, Raspberry, Sunshine and Grass colored tees. 

Howard The Duck

Oh and if you’re scratching your head wondering who Howard The Duck is, then here’s a clip from the George Lucas produced flop turned cult favorite.

The Importance of Branding

Emptees user Quest has posted an insightful forum post titled The Importance of Branding and It’s Impact On Your Business. If you’re planning on starting your own brand or line of tees then this is an excellent resource that you should definitely checkout. 

The Elegant Scoundrel

And to no surprise, the author of the article runs his own line of tees, The Elegant Scoundrel. He has put together an excellent 1st series of tees that jive well together. You can find his full line of tees at his online store. 

Here are excerpts from his Importance of Branding post:

1. Have a solid concept behind your brand.

“You know the main reason it is so hard for tee shirt companies to actually make it big? Because EVERYONE is doing it. Literally, hundreds if not thousands of companies, organizations, and individuals each year make an attempt to create Tees that sell. Most fail. Why you ask? Because the market is flooded with companies that do the EXACT SAME THING. So how do you succeed in an industry that is flooded with the same thing? Differentiate yourself from the masses, by being unique…”

2. Don’t Force Your Name.

“You know the main reason it is so hard for tee shirt companies to actually make it big? Because EVERYONE is doing it. Literally, hundreds if not thousands of companies, organizations, and individuals each year make an attempt to create Tees that sell. Most fail. Why you ask? Because the market is flooded with companies that do the EXACT SAME THING. So how do you succeed in an industry that is flooded with the same thing? Differentiate yourself from the masses, by being unique.”

3. Don’t Unveil your company too early.

“Speaking from personal experience, hold off announcing your presence to the world before you really have anything to show. As tempting as it may be to tell everyone and anyone who will listen that you are now the Supreme Overlord of the Illustrious (INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE), hold off until you have a solid collection of things to keep the public’s attention…”

4. Be passionate about your work.

“If you have a true passion about what you are doing, and where you plan to go, that will be evident to those around you. But don’t just focus on the shirts themselves. Find other nuances of the industry that fascinate and inspire you, and learn as much about those topics as possible. Knowing about the inner workings of the biz and how things are made and presented will not only give you a clearer understanding of the industry you wish to be in, but will also give you things to keep you motivated and keep you inspired when your plain sick of seeing .PSD save files and the same graphic you have been staring at on your monitor for the last week straight…”

Disobey by The Elegant Sqoundrel

TeeFury and Stabb Collaborate for Charity

It’s a great thing whenever people in the tee community help each other out. The people at tee-a-day site TeeFury have teamed up with Stabb Clothing to help raise money for charity. 

In a recent post on the Stabb blog, Stabb founder Ryan Grandmaison, mentioned the recent cancer diagnosis of a good friend and bandmade (Something for Nothing) of his. He has also been posting regular updates about his friend so be sure to check those out on the Stabb blogs.

TeeFury recently reached out to Grandmaison and offered to collaborate with the up-an-coming tee brand to create a tee with the help of the indie tee community. Grandmaison (aka as RustyEight) posted about the collaboration on the Emptees forum:

As most of you know by now, my buddy and guitarist Ben has been fighting Burkitt’s Lymphoma for the past few months and thanks to you guys we’ve raised a bunch of money and some clothes.

Wotto approched me the other day with an idea on how to raise some more, via TeeFury . TeeFury Collab! Alphabet Edition!

What’s the idea? Every designer signs up to design 1 letter (capital). If we have enough people(52) we’ll do both capital and lower case. Keep it at 3 Colors.

The shirt will then go up on TeeFury for sale sometime in in January or February. If you would like to sign up for this huge collab, post the letter you would like. First come first serve. Remember, proceeds will be going to Ben, you will not get paid for it. DEADLINE IS JANUARY 31ST 

If you’re interested, then be sure to check out the forum post. You can sign up for a letter there (there are a couple of letters left as of this posting). Good luck to TeeFury and Stabb with this!

Stabb Me

Stabb Me

The Emptees Top 12 of 2008

Every day Emptees selects a Tee of the Day based on “loves” received by members of the site. From this selection of tees they then go on to select a Tee of the Month. Here are the 12 Tee of the Months for 2008 as seen on Emptees.

If the tee is available for purchase then I’ve added the buy link (just click the image), if not, it’ll bring you directly to the appropriate Emptees page!

The only question left to ask is – who will Tee of the Year? It’s a close race between When Panda’s Attack and Colorblind! Now Ooogle on and enjoy with tea and a nice tee!

December 2008: Sarcaphagross by discordantart

November 2008: Rilla Gorilla – Octopus by discordantart

October 2008: Salt The Wound: Smell The Roses by BrandonHeart

September 2008: Kanye West by Killer Napkins

August 2008: When Panda’s Attack by Jimiyo vs. Collision Theory

July 2008: Eternally, Always, Forever The Sickest Kids by Incarnadine

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My Liver Hates Me

I think I’ve found a new favorite tee and it’s called My Liver Hates Me! The tee, designed by Jon Kruse of Mediocore Clothing, was purchased by Jeff Wolff (better known as pzn in the Emptees forum) and is being sold at none other than myliverhatesme.net! 

Interestingly enough, Jeff set up a Big Cartel store specifically designed for this tee and even purchased a URL to match the tee! I highly doubt that he’ll be starting a line of liver inspired tees (though anything is possible), so kudos to him for going all out on this one!

My Liver Hates Me is currently on sale for the paltry price of $14.00 and if use the codes WOOT, emptees or 15OFF you can get 15% of the already cheap sale price and it will bring the cost down to $11.90. 

New Stabb Store Open

Popular Emptees member, RustyEight, has just launched Stabb on Big Cartel. The first two items that are available for Pre-Sale are Robot Decapitation and Shackles. Both tees are going for $18 and have an estimated ship date of either late November or the first week of December. 

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.