Pre Shrunk

Keeping T-Shirts in the Moment, an article in today's New York Times profiles the mini companies who make and sell limited edition t-shirts to hipsters (usually on-line). The article profiles several entrepreneurs, from unknown artists who use t-shirts as a blank canvas for their work to frustrated graphic designers longing to restore authenticity to a t-shirt market polluted by fake vintage designs. And I agree, long live indie t-shirts... until I read about the Hollywood actresses who started the company Just Dumped Inc.

The shirts by Just Dumped Inc. claim to be a "fashion outlet for your deepest neuroses." But can it possibly make anyone feel better to wear a shirt screen-printed with a slogans like:

emotionally unavailable men rock

my boyfriend's wife hates me

i brush my barbie's hair every night


will cry for attention


ignore me and i'm yours

I know, I know... it's just a shirt, but I wouldn't wear it. Is it funny? Ironic? Somehow I've missed the boat. Interviewed in the NYT article, a representative from Conde Nast's shopping magazine, Cargo, explains the success of indie t-shirts by saying, "People have found a relatively inexpensive way to distinguish themselves." Huh? I'm not sure if silently describing your mental state on your chest effectively differentiates you from the next person.

Living in New York, a city with over 8 million residents, allows for anonymity. There's a good chance I won't know anyone on the subway car I step into... until I read their shirt. Then I catch myself involuntarily pondering whether they really do "buy a lot to fill the void within" or if they truly "date down." I don't want to know!

Karl, Jul 21 2005 4:16PM

So where can a hipster such as myself get a limited edition Gutsy tee?

mark, Jul 21 2005 5:49PM

i find a person's odor & posture do all the communicating necessary about how they are mentally predisposed on the subway. no ironic t-shirt necessary.

reading the shirts from the link you provided reminds me (rather tongue in cheek) of being at a steven wright concert. if that guy had only made some shirts he would be filthy rich.

another online project that reminds me of this is postsecret. respondents anonymously send in handmade postcards that contain secret information, all of which are displayed on a website. this differes from the shirt project in that people are individually crafting each message and are liberated to say whatever they like since they don't have to wear it.

Heather, Jul 22 2005 2:16PM is a great t-shirt source. They even hold "design your own" competitions. Perhaps a Gutsy design could be created and submitted?