T-Shirt Reviews Blog

T-Shirt Reviews Blog

Muzed Wear

Posted: 11 Nov 2010 07:55 AM PST

There’s a big difference between the words amused, mused and muzed. According to the weighty online tome that is the Urban Dictionary it means “Stoned on music. Can also be described as a lasting eargasm.” Now I think I’ve had one of those before but I was 17, high on a particularly psychoactive substance and in reality there wasn’t actually any music playing, it was all in my head. Ah well, near enough.

Muzed Wear are a Canadian label who specialise in skate and snowboard apparel which is a little confusing considering the eargasm reference, and the lack of music themed gear at the store, none in fact. Ah well each to their own, I’m not too keen on all the branded logo tees and hoodies on offer, like I’ve said a thousand time before, even major worldwide brands are trimming back on the self-promotional design for something a little more personal and individualistic. Then again, there’s one great typographic shirt (which is a rarity in my opinion) and a rather amusing panda bear tee, which isn’t even overly cute, another rare achievement I’d say.

Love Life. Love Mused. Tee

Love Life. Love Muzed Tee

You can see what I mean about the heavy self-promotional tactics now. I’d change the name of this tee to match the print “Skate. Snow. Live.” I couldn’t put it more simply myself. Beware though, it’s on pre-order and they reckon it might take up to a whopping 2 months to ship – gulp… One day it will be available in $19.99 in sizes S-XL. As a side point it’s better to get to know someone well before you start declaring your love for them – just a thought.

Cool Panda Tee

Panda Tee

Panda Tee (Detail)

It’s a panda, it’s a cool panda, and why not. Lovely piece of stencil work, groovy retro shades topping off a great design. I’d much rather see a lot more of this kind of graphic tee any day. $19.99 in sizes S-XL.

For more info visit www.MuzedWear.com

Isaiah 53

Posted: 11 Nov 2010 06:48 AM PST

Now don’t worry heathens, I’m not going to go all God fearing on you now, Isaiah 53 is actually a NY/Brazilian t-shirt label with heavy subcultural, music, film and art roots. This post is a little bit of a treat for me as I rarely get a chance to feature t-shirt brands from south of the border, I mean South America not Watford. What’s even more exciting is there isn’t a reference to Rio in sight, the collection is punchy as they come and the visual references are a real treat for an old art school geezer like myself. Some lovely little concepts on offer here, a heady mix of New York Nostalgia and Brazilian zest for life, their range of graphic and photographic montages subtly infuse rather than hammer home the message.

Created by Lucas Penido and brought to life by collaborators from across the globe, Isaiah 53 takes a lot of artistic reference on board, some more obscure than others. I even had to get a reminder on the name “Sprouse” which  features in his über slick graphic Legends tee. It’s Stephen Sprouse, subculture’s legendary fashion designer who drew inspiration from the punk stylings of  the 1970′s London fashion scene. There’s a rather Warholian design too, which makes sense seeing how connected the two artists were, the Visionary Kids tee which again really packs a punch. All the tees are available at $38 each (ouch) and in sizes S-L. Some are available in a few colours too.

Visionary Kids Tee

Visionary Kids Tee

Although I’m no fan of self-promoting brands I have to admit I’m suckered in by the grandiose statements – declaring a t-shirt a debut in print and offering up a creative ethos “We sell clothes for the visionary” is gutsy, I will give them that. It’s almost as if we’re witnessing yet another evolution in the medium of the tee here. I had a dream last night, not on the Luther King scale mind you, I walked into a posh gallery in London, a place where prices aren’t even mentioned let alone displayed. All I could see on the walls were t-shirts, highly unique, sumptuously printed, classic art tees from the past decade. That’s where this one belongs.

Legends Tee

Legends Tee

Another tribute shirt, this time hailing four legends of NYC. I’ve mentioned Sprouse earlier on, but Haring, Warhol and Basquiat should be familiar to you all. Based on the classic Ramones tee this one presses all the right buttons in the right order as far as I’m concerned. Also available in magenta/white.

NYC “Hotdogs” Tee

NYC Hotdogs Tee

I like it, I like it a lot, but I know zip about this one. Being a Brit I prefer sausages, well, I’d rather neither seeing as they both contain unmentionable animal parts. Still a great design which I’m guessing is something to do with Big Apple Products Inc. 1991. Hmm…

Blonde Ambition Tee

Blonde Ambition Tee

Don’t worry, it ain’t scrawny old Madge doing her rounds (again). I’m guessing it’s Marilyn making a play for yet another Hollywood hunk of old, ah for the memories. Marilyn is as classy as a dame can get in my eyes. Boo boo bee doo.

Any criticisms I have for the label are middling, I’d reduce the size of the header at their Big Cartel store (although I appreciate the branding it slows down the shopping experience) and fill that blog with a few posts (or take the link down) and maybe get a few stockists too? I’d also work on those prices, at $38 each and no mention of screen printing or limited editions at the site it could put off a few potential punters. Asides that I’d say this is a label that simply needs to keep doing what it’s doing so well.


Posted: 11 Nov 2010 04:29 AM PST

Negrete is a highly subversive London based t-shirt label with a strong street art feel that plunders popular culture and urban myth with great aplomb. Started by a group of well travelled students of culture with a knack for powerful conceptual thinking, I love their tag line “product of a wasted youth”. Although saying that their tees do appeal to a wide range of ages, as long as you live your life with a pinch of cynicism and truth. There’s a powerful street art ethic that pervades throughout their large collection, which includes a new organic range; their Spring/Summer range, a discounted range and a few stragglers from the last season. I really like the way Negrete has done things over at www.negrete.co.uk. For a start they’ve taken the time and trouble to create a “back story” for each and every tee, many of which are both insightful and rather amusing in parts. Their concepts are powerful, leaning to the left field, they deal with all kinds of controversies and slices of subculture. What’s more, for the main part, their graphic skills back up the plan to the hilt, producing some high impact t-shirt designs that really make an impression.

The majority of their tees are home-grown, although there are a few impressive collaborations including art maverick Garry Milne and photographer Lex Kembery. It’s almost impossible to describe the house style over at Negrete, mainly because there isn’t one, I’d say it’s more about the message than prettifying the wardrobe. If you want to make a stand against anything, display a savvy cynicism for the state of mankind, or share a pithy savoir faire for underground pop culture, they’re your boys. All printed on 100% cotton tees in rich clean colours the organic range are going for £28 in sizes M-XL, the Spring/Summer tees are £25 each (S-XL), and the rest range between just a tenner and £12.50.

Negrete are one of those labels that’s managed to catch the Zeitgeist of Britain right now, students smashed up Tory HQ yesterday, with massive job cuts on the horizon it won’t be long before the rest of us join in. I can’t help being reminded of a famous quote from the movie Network “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore”. If you don’t fancy getting into a round of fisticuffs then one of Negrete’s t-shirts is definitely the next best thing.

Love Sprung Tee

Love Sprung Tee
Love Sprung Tee (Details)

An awesome organic shirt, it’s a collaborative work with artist Garry Milne that takes inspiration from the Baz Luhrmann reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet. I had to include some detail shots for this one, beautifully conceived, beautifully drawn. £28 in M-L sizes.

Drugs Tee

Drugs Tee

Drugs are bad m’kay? The thing about drugs is that everything older druggies tell you when you’re in those “experimental” years is absolutely true. I remember a hippie chick telling me how resin gives you constipation, a few years later on the toilet I tipped my invisible hat to the girl. Still, toilet-based nostalgia asides, this is one awesome design, if you look carefully you’ll see a few immortal words by Sean Coombs – which according to Negrete were probably ghost written, lol. Only £12.50 in sizes S-XXL. What a bleedin’ bargain!

Sick Rick Tee

Sick Rick Tee

A jaded tribute to Ricky D aka Slick Rick, a British born rapper who made it in the Bronx in the Golden Age of Hip Hop. Everything went downhill from there, if you want to know more read this! It’s a sad state of affairs, but as far as t-shirts go, it’s a cracker!

New Yorker Tee

New Yorker Tee

I have to admit this is probably the classiest t-shirt on the block, featuring a rather sublime quote from O’ Blue Eyes himself and stunning photography by the legendary Lex Kembery. It’s probably what I’d wear to a business meeting (if I ever needed to do that), my kind of formal. Available in white in sizes M-XL for £28 each.

There are supposed to be 100 styles over there, I can see around 30 but let’s not  nitpick – see them all at www.negrete.co.uk and check out their blog too.

Non, je ne regrette rien…

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