11 July 2007

The $17 Blank T-Shirt Cult

I know I shouldn't be surprised but somehow I still am.

In a world where people will not only gladly fork over $5 for a cup of coffee they'll wait on line to do it, here is a company who somehow made selling blank t-shirts hip. Hanes could've done it, Fruit of the Loom could've done it, but they beat them all to the punch.

Is it genius or are we all fools or both? I guess we're the suckers who fell for it. Just like bottled water.

I've been screening shirts for over 10 years. Well, I actually never screened a damn thing but a few of my friends did and still do. American Apparel was just a company you ordered blank t-shirts from by the gross from a wholesaler; you took them home and put your stupid band logo on them and sold them at your gigs for gas money.

You ordered the shirts by number from an industrial black & white catalog that had little drawings of each shirt style. It wasn't until years later the companies got models for their catalogs. American Apparel just took the garden variety Sears models and swapped them out for bewildered heroin chic hipsters and suspiciously mature eleventeen-year old girls.

Somewhere along the way they brilliantly repackaged undershirts the same way Starbucks repackaged coffee and Poland Spring tap water.

Ripping a page from Calvin Kleins heroin chic / child porn ad campaigns mixed with that Fiona Apple video where she's writhing around on wood paneling like a meth-head in a Delaware motel, they created a cult of personality surrounding undershirts and underwear!; combine this ├╝berhip pedigree with the whole "we're sweatshop-free" party line and you've got a hit with every ironic Wisconsin transplant with an ironic mustache or neon t-shirt this side of the Mississip.

Let's just remember, they sell blank t-shirts in lots of colours. That's their claim to fame.

They brought the wholesale world to retail but they aren't selling a cure for the common cold, but hey, don't tell Kristina that!


Anonymous said...

at least it's not made in a sweatshop or so the company says. it's made in america.

blank tshirt wholesale said...

omg that was a great read. The marketers at am ap are geniuses. They could probably sell dirt if they wanted to. Find some pretty models and some wild colors and people gobble that stuff up. You can find most of the stuff from am ap at most wholesale t shirt companies, probably not the womens am ap personal massager advertised though.