Filed under: Celebrating life, Death | Tags: real g's, stan still, t-shirts, TSP051 DON’T BITE THIS (T&B), TSP052 BACK CATALOGUE (THE END), white tee
MARCH 3rd 2010-MARCH 3rd 2011
Practitioner of White Tees
While it was executed in 2010, the seeds of the T-Shirt Party project were sown in the decades prior. Built on a preoccupation with every subculture that came, went and passed the baton for the next wave — from ragga to rave to jungle to garage and whatever sprang up in-between, plus vintage Stüssy, Iceberg and Moschino it was as the perfect white tee should be — placed somewhere between flossy and famished. It’s there to be projected upon, and T-Shirt Party projected some iconic imagery onto cotton with painstaking regularity. These are mediocre times at surface level, but the magic’s still there…somewhere. An audio-visual clothing project should, by all rights, have been a total folly.
Just looking back at those words, it hints at pretentious, inaccessible rubbish: the antithesis of the humble t-shirt, but this one was simpler — 52 t-shirts over 52 weeks at a £10 a piece. You want substance? There’s a video to accompany each piece…on occasion it would be self-indulgent friends and family-only designs…the mind behind it would stay in the shadows (a rarity in an era of e-fame, where those who engage on a one-to-one basis with the “fans” prevail)…let the shirts do the patter. Don’t understand the video or the imagery? Don’t get involved. Those who know, know. Bemused by the London-centric worldview? That’s how it’s always been since the days when people actually bought style magazines. T-Shirt Party was a restoration mission, emphasised in serif fonts.
Representing a cultural junction where Cham, 2Pac, Elton John, Buju Banton, Mike Tyson, Naseem Hamed, Christopher Williams, Brazen, Eternal, Soft Cell, Mack 10, Wiley, Echo & the Bunnymen, Soul II Soul, Dizzee, Scott Garcia, Crime Mob and Lisa Bonet arrive fully tooled-up with pounds in the pockets at the Dance Energy studio for a jam organised by Malcom McLaren on stolen StarTACs, this was the perfect reflection of the UK’s mongrel movements. What’s boring us now will be someone else’s nostalgia, but this wasn’t some wanton celebration of the past. Guests like Tim & Barry, Lewis Wright, Tyrone Lebon, Raine Allen Miller, Rhys Coren, Shane Connolly, Henry Mackay-Bull, Nina Manandhar, Jimmy Merris & Dan Szor, William Wright & Oscar Godfrey, Ferry Gouw and DDF expanded the artistic vision. After all — it was a party.
That party even became literal and physical with a Boiler Room bash in east London, complete with a screen printed tie-in. 52 shirts…that’s serious albatross around any entrepreneur’s neck. But it’s done. In an era of escalating prices, indiscriminate hype and lengthy communication strategies, here was the anthithesis — a tenner handed over, made-to-order, thrown in an envelope, worn, washed, slightly shrunken and worn again ’till it fades to grey. 52 shirts in 1 year. Mission complete. Rest in peace, T-Shirt Party. Was it an art project? A statement of intent? A protest? A harbinger of a new DIY apparel movement? Who cares? Just wear the fucking things.
BY G. WARNETT
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