Another sourcing trip and another t-shirt right? Nah... I typically don't think about things like that since I write a blog but I can see how most sellers do. It can be easy to focus on the dollars and cents of things in reselling but I also do it for an unlock to a creative outlet. I love picking up a t-shirt that I think has a story and if it feels good or looks good then I really don’t care how old it is or if it is real “vintage”. I want to know the story because one day it will be vintage and I hope that someone turns to my post for a reference.
I always notice the color of a tee before anything else and while most of the time I usually pass through the racks or piles quickly, a faded red almost always stops me. Hell, faded anything... it is my favorite variety of t-shirt!
I know which t-shirts I can wear almost immediately. (We all do right?) I am so fickle about which shirts I actually purchase that everyone in my family has given up buying anything for me. I am also so cheap that I wouldn’t buy a shirt unless I needed it or absolutely loved it, neither of which happen often. When I see a shirt with an interesting print where the fit would be spot on and it feels incredibly soft then I am sold because I want to find out the story behind the shirt.
I’ll pick it up and bring it home to start the process with all the other shirts that we bought because, well...they are vintage, and I am a reseller. A funny thing to me is that not all vintage shirts are worn down to the last thread or appealing to the eye for that matter. Some of the vintage tees are just plain ugly and the only reason it has any value is because it is a vintage shirt. I think that is part of it that I have come to love of lately though is just how “unique” some of these vintage finds are and how people find them appealing.
While I wait for my personal pick to surface out of the wash pile and onto a hanger ready for pics and measurement, (everything is for sale when you are a vintage t-shirt reseller) I'll do some research on the print. Sometimes this stuff can be time consuming but it may be my favorite part. Tracking a shirt back to its origin and finding a story isn't easy but it's alot easier than say a 1989 print of a Chicago tourist t-shirt. A lot of us print shirts now and everyone, myself included, thinks that they are going to be the next big “small” clothing brand.
I am fascinated by a shirts story and how the design came about or what the retail was 5, 10, 20 years ago or longer. It may be hard to tell on a real vintage shirt because there wasn’t any internet or social media in 1980 but in today’s times it is fairly easy to navigate the web to find a shirt on a website of a thriving or defunct clothing company. The contact info is normally reliable and folks are willing to give a few details about a print. Just the website will contain nuggets of info that would give a vintage shirt incredible talking points at a dinner party.
Some designs are just ugly… I’ve made a few and some tees are just the wrong material but there are a couple that were a decent design on a nice shirt. I can tell by looking at a shirt that it isn’t real vintage but the thing is… I can tell the story now and when some guy or gal is trying to find the story on a vintage 2010 print in 2040 then we’ll have the story. That’s the vintage market I wanna see happen and this is my contribution.