You could be away from the internet for a long, long time these days and miss nothing. Just the echo of pop cultural references past as the global regression continues unabated. That’s why something different hits a little harder when it saunters onto the screen without blog hyperbole surrounding it. The majority of us could tell a cotton-based life story through print tees – those discarded, those lost – those that required a garment-disposal ‘Sophie’s Choice’ decision to euthanise because of yellowed ‘pits or a stretched off-the-shoulder neck. While on the west coast, the print shirt still seems to shift to kids who elsewhere, are button-downed up that makes sense – that’s the print tee’s spiritual home.
Elsewhere, the blank took over, from 5-packs to deadstock US-made Hanes to painstaking replicas of vintage, glorious crew-necked plainness. Bar the token collaborative offering on a tee, Supreme-heads seem to be bypassing the extensive screen printed offerings, going straight for the Ventile parkas instead – things done changed. Once the tees would’ve been the first to vamoose – the affordable, entry-level into a lifestyle brand, feeling infinitely less tokenistic than a similar shirt as a diffusion line from a brand – with Supreme or Stussy…even Vision, the shirt was the iconic piece from the brand. But over the last year, to quote Coppola in ‘Hearts of Darkness’, with regards to the hype-fueled tee-influx of ’06/’07 “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane.”
Now only makers of street-level shitcoms like HBO’s ‘How to Make it in America’ think that print tees are edgy. But the truth is, when they’re tough to track down, well executed, and steeped in that same mystique that got you stacking paper round dough to own a little piece of cutural capital, there’ll be an exodus back to ink and cotton. Those camo Rejuven8s are a hugely technical throwback to co.jp glories and if that aesthetic quietly slips back into the party, print tees will rise again. Palace dropped a few beauties these last few seasons, but T-Shirt Party is bringing it. Really fucking bringing it.
Serif fonts, well-chosen imagery, reference points that don’t feel played, and all straight out of London. Shirts are white, available as a subscription or purchased individually and the website’s aesthetic matches the garms – each one has an accompanying video. The Lisa Bonet (word to ‘Angel Heart’) design is strong but the ‘They Danced the Dance’ DEFII ‘Dance Energy’ stills collage is a classic. That’s a good use of a Fruit Of The Loom. (The tribute to Brother Malcolm is a great one too – anyone else re-watched the once hard-to-find unseasonal oddity that is ‘The Ghosts of Oxford Street’ on YouTube or 4OD?) With a certain mystique, it all feels like the kind of thing that would have you sending an SAE to an address published in The Face for more information. And getting no reply whatsoever. Those were the days.