Utility Pole T-Shirt

Been a while since I posted a new t-shirt design, but this Japanese design is clever and certainly deserves a mention. The wires of the utility poles are both printed and stitched onto the shirt. (One thing I found surprising when I first visited Japan – a place you mentally associate with clean, minimal design and neatness – is the fact that there are overhead wires everywhere).


Available at Tokyo Art Beat.

(via Jean Snow)

Masked Penguin T-Shirt


Graniph’s Penguin t-shirt is described as depicting a ‘masked penguin terrorist’ but to me he looks more like a cross between a luchadore, a bandito and an A-Team extra. And a penguin of course. I bought myself a couple of shirts from one of Graniph’s many Tokyo stores when I was there last year; it’s a bit like Threadless in that the shirts are cheap, cheerful and while the designs change rapidly there’s always a common feel to them. Well worth a look if you’re ever in Japan; and if you do order over the web, order 1 size up from what you usually get.

Lucky Symbols

Luckiest T-Shirt Ever - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

I’ve never been one to have any good luck totems myself – no lucky socks for my exams or charmed shirts for interviews2 – but I do like this Threadless t-shirt with its collection of lucky symbols. Should make it certain2 2009 gets off to a great start. From left to right: a rabbit’s foot, a wishbone, a ladybird, a horseshoe , a four leaf clover, a shooting star, a maneki neko and the number seven itself. The maneki neko (“welcoming cat”) is Japanese; most of the other symbols are European or North American, while the number seven and shooting star probably have Biblical roots.


Lucky symbols which are missing (that I can think of): a black cat and numerous other lucky numbers. While Wikipedia is surprisingly weak on most of the symbols – the lucky 7 page is just a disambiguation one – it does its best to be authoritative on lucky numbers and numerology (“Numerology, as it relates to luck, is closer to an art than to a science, yet numerologists, astrologists or psychics may disagree” sounds positively lawyerly).

1 Partly because it just strikes me as one more thing to remember. What if your lucky socks were in the wash when you needed them?

2 Unless of course, the effects of lucky symbols aren’t cumulative, but cancel each other out. In which case, the eight symbols on the shirt would leave you back at nul points.

Threadless is on the money. My money.

Sugar And Spice - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Ah Threadless. Every now and then I think it’s all getting very samey and dull, and I find myself thinking that the label ‘the new Threadless’ is all but printed out and ready to be applied to some other t-shirt site – and then, into my inbox pops an e-mail with new Threadless designs and one of them is always rather fabulous. I can feel its hands teasing my wallet open even now.

‘Sugar and spice’ is a great piece of work; it reminds me of the original manga of Ghost In The Shell. It shares a similar colour palette, and the bulbous, chaotic, inky machine shapes are reminiscent of Masamune Shirow’s robot designs. Top stuff. 

Diary of a T-shirt early bird

Katamari T-shirt

Tuesday: Email from Threadless. Your T-shirt has shipped!
Wed: Lovely new Katamari T-shirts available from Panic (see above).
Friday: Threadless t-shirt arrives.
Saturday: Email from Panic. Katamari shirt in the post!
Sunday: Temperature plummets. Light Hail.
Monday: SNOW.
Tuesday (AM): Spent the morning looking ruefully at new Threadless t-shirt, before covering it with many layers of jumper.
Tuesday (PM): Blog about lovely new Katamari shirt. Fear it won’t see daylight til June.

New Imaginary Foundation shirts


The Imaginary Foundation has just released a new collection of T-shirts. The IF is surely one of the most peculiar of online t-shirt retailers (the IF itself is, apparently, a ” think tank from Switzerland that does experimental research on new ways of thinking and the power of the imagination”) but as ever, they’ve still come up with some wonderful t-shirt designs. Have a look here.

Let’s get sleeveless

Limb - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

It being so cold outside, it’s only natural, as you can see from this smiling girl, for the sartorial department of one’s mind to turn its attention to towards t-shirts. With its latest round of reprints, Threadless continues its journey to becoming the equivalent of Wikipedia when it comes to t-shirts on the web: ubiquitous, but still loved, and still capable of surprising in a good way. This one in particular – ‘Limb – is gorgeous.

For more t-shirts, check out the Funky Duds blog. It’s rather good.

Christmas In Tokyo

This year, I will be spending Christmas in Tokyo. Which is a little worrying.


Preparations for this, although they haven’t included learning "We Three Kings" in Japanese, have been hurried, many and varied, and I’ve also been busy working loads on upcoming issues of Custom PC so I have left the blog unattended for a bit.

Surprisingly, given it’s December, I’ve got quite a lot of t-shirt updates to do. The lovely worried image above is from a t-shirt design by Anko – appropriately enough an Anglo/Japanese company, which I picked up from Jean Snow’s blog.