I am not uncommon in that I spend a great deal of time online, absorbing visuals and information at rates that I find alarming. In those feasts of ones and zeros I come across inordinate amounts of sites selling shirts, either as their primary function, or as a side dish to some other main protein component.
Most of these sites are digested quickly, their nutrient value fairly thin. Some cause various mind-bowel irregularities, depending on how they fall on the range from puerile to just vile. There have been many that stand as points of interest over the years. I remember the first time I naturally arrived at threadless. This must have been years ago now, and I remember immediately dismissing it as a “myspace of shirts”. Distantly watching references from media and persons over the years, I kept my distance. Recently, chance brought them back into pervue,. Going to threadless now, it is obvious that the first visit is not demonstrable of how it has evolved. Designers of high talent have taken up there since my first visit, resulting in some visual feats that satisfy me even if they do not victoriously call me to log into paypal.
But there seems to be a grand majority of shirt designs that fall into the clever trap. I’ve owned and made my fair share of shirts that people have called clever. I’ve developed a rather large bias against clever. One thing that boggled me at first, is that clever doesn’t stick. It is not amazing enough to really get in there and stay there. And it seems that even most shirts at threadless fall into this, which to me is such a low level algebra. a+b=c. I know we might not need to be doing clothing calculus here, that shirts may be to people only so much laundry or a disposable article of fashion.
But it seems to me that we are capable of so much more.