Sunday, May 08, 2005

Looking for wearable art? Buy a T-shirt...

Who would have thunk that something once as mundane as the T-shirt would become one of the most innovative and creative forms of fashion this millennium...?

The T-shirt market has been booming as its own category of fashion for a few years now. Trendy stores that sell nothing but T-shirts have been popping up everywhere including the American Apparel franchise which sells blank shirts, often to artists who slap their own designs on the shirts for resale. And according to an article this week in the Wall Street Journal ("By Accident or design, selling Tshirts ont he Web is big business"), many Web sites are generating hefty profits from selling T-shirts emblazoned with logos and humorous one-liners.

From hipsters and skate punks, to mall rats and college kids, today's Youth are crazy for T-shirts. We've all seen the shirts that chains like Urban Outfitters continue to pump out. But what are more fascinating to me are the artists and designers who are using T-shirts as an entirely new medium to display their work. Once confined by painting, photography or other more traditional media, more and more artists are creating Wearable Art. And more and more fashion designers are creating nothing but shirts. Legends such as Shepard Fairey (Obey Giant) have been doing this for years, and thousands of newcomers are now making a living selling their art via T-shirt distribution. Just this week I met the co-founder of Thank Theory who has an amazing line viewable at And yesterday I met David La Cross of Yes Laboratories in Brooklyn who is fusing currency, various patchwork and print silk-screens onto pre-washed T-shirts ready to wear. These guys are just an example of what's going on out there.

Do yourself a favor and check out what these innovators are up to and support your local artist: buy a T-shirt!

1 comment:

David La Cross said...

It's fun to google your name and see what happens. I remember meeting you as well, Mr. Stoakes. Thanks for the kind words on your blog. Hope things are treating you well.

-David La Cross
YES Labs