Designing a T-shirt doesn’t have to be hard work

Kanye West has just come out with a T-shirt design for French clothing company APC. Apparently, for those in the know, it’s a sweet t-shirt bargain priced at a reasonable €90 euros. To me it just looks like like a blank white t-shirt. Which it is.

I guess it can be both though.

In the Guardian today there was an editorial in praise of the T-shirt. I found myself nodding in agreement: T-shirts are great, and as a fashion item they’re a big deal. And quite possibly they’re celebrating their centenary this year. Which makes it a good time to praise the T-shirt. I’m on board with that.

I’ve got a huge collection of T-shirts: from concerts, from other events – like improv festivals, gifts from friends, some received as partial payment for copywriting or other services rendered, some I’ve made, or have had made for me.

I have a bright green one I bought in Berlin during the World Cup 2006 – unrelated to the sporting event taking place. I’ve got a black one with a glow-in-the-dark lightning storm on it from the Dance Party Party election campaign in 2002, and a now-slightly-too-small red one that I wore for months while living in Hawaii in 2001.

From more recent times I have a white one I’m quite fond of, a souvenir of the Wurzberg International Improv Fest in 2012. It was a gift, because I wasn’t in attendance. And many more besides. I have drawers full. the most recent T-shirt purchase in my house is a Bon Jovi tour shirt Chiara bought when we went to see him in Cologne, Germany. Chiara’s a lifelong fan, and there is something about seeing her in that shirt that makes me incredibly happy.

I might even get more joy out of it than she does. But I doubt it.

I’ve even still got a T-shirts and some stickers from the Advertising Bodies Alliance days. These were part of when I orchestrated a public intervention around the city of Vancouver. Not only informing people who had logos on their chests that they were walking billboards, but going a step beyond and walking those people through invoices we would then send to those companies on their behalf, for advertising services rendered.

We’d then offer them stickers to cover up their logos that would read either: “This Space Not for Rent” or “Advertise Here Reasonable Rates!” And we had white T-shirts with those logos on them too.

I don’t wear T-shirts as often as I used to. But when I do… man, there are some difficult decisions to be made. And it’s not just logo (or not), but colour, weight, cut, sleeve length, collar elasticity, and more. There’s a lot going on in a T-shirt.

Happy 100th birthday my old friends.