Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: T-shirts

Battle the BP oil spill with the shirt on your back

We know there are probably a gazillion charity T-shirt charity designs floating around out there like tar balls   Rage_oil_photo eddying on the Gulf waves, but there was something about the earnestness of Michael Tamony's e-mail asking us to get the word out about Slam. Dance. Velour's T-shirt design, that we couldn't, in good conscience, turn him down (especially in light of the snarky comment he supposedly received about it  -- which he shares here.)

It depicts a schematic drawing of an oil drilling platform in blue against a black bar code with the word "oil" in all capital letters beneath it, on a charcoal (or is that oil-slick?) gray background.

The label's wares are usually sold through Urban Outfitters (Tamony tells us they also designed the T-shirt for this year's Vans Warped Tour), but you can pick up one of these tagless, 4.5-ounce, ring-spun 100% cotton, slim-fitting T-shirts online for $20, with all proceeds earmarked for the New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network.

-- Adam Tschorn

Billy Reid T-shirt benefits Nashville flood relief

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Photo: All sales of Slam. Dance. Velour's $20 charity T-shirt will go toward the Gulf Restoration Network. Credit: Slam. Dance. Velour.

Cobra Snake to nest at Hollywood & Highland

It looks like the peripatetic Cobra Snake is sinking his fangs into bricks-and-mortar retail -- at least temporarily.

On Wednesday we got word that local photographer, occasional fashion-show fixture, gadabout, and petri dish of pop culture Mark "the Cobra Snake" Hunter is opening his own vintage-clothing store in the Hollywood & Highland CenterRage_Cobrasnake.

Dubbed the Cobra Shop and slated to officially open on June 16, we're told the 2,000-square-foot space with "crazy high ceilings" (Hunter's words, not ours) will be located on the mall's fourth level across from the Hollywood Grill.

Offerings will include a selection of vintage clothing (personally scrounged and sourced by Cobra Snake) similar to the screened Tweety Bird T-shirts, crushed velvet dresses and Mexican ponchos he's been selling through the online incarnation of the Cobra Shop for awhile now, as well as archival pieces by fashion designer Jeremy Scott, screen prints by Shepard Fairey, limited-edition books by Todd Selby, T-shirts from Dim Mak collection and Steve Aoki's personal shoe collection.

If the merchandise mix sounds mind-bending, hold on to your brain pan because the interior decor matches it. The press materials call it a "combination retail store-art gallery-secret clubhouse-video game arcade-photography studio-hot spot-recreational facility" decorated with cardboard cutouts of '90s-era celebrities and taxidermied animals (apparently on loan from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County -- who knew they did loaners?) accessorized with sunglasses.

If you can't wait until mid-month to marvel at the mayhem, make sure to beat feat to the grand opening party slated for June 8. Hosted by Jeremy Scott, it doubles as the exclusive Los Angeles book signing for Todd Selby's new book "The Selby Is in Your Place" and will feature a DJ set by artist Shepard Fairey and  a live performance by someone who calls himself Beardo.

Also in attendance will be "Grandmasnake" and "Grandpasnake" (we're assuming those are Hunter's grandparents, no word if they're "maternalsnakes" or "paternalsnakes"), and a veritable Woodstock's worth of the wingnuts that populate his trippy Cobra-verse.

"[The shop] will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.," Hunter informed us by e-mail. "At least until September. And then we will either continue at that location or move to something more crazy," 

Consider yourself forewarned.

-- Adam Tschorn

Of Trekkie kicks and Cobra Snakes

L.A. Fashion's Class of 2010

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Photo: Shutterbug Mark Hunter, a.k.a. the Cobra Snake, is opening a vintage-clothing store/rumpus room called the Cobra Shop in the Hollywood & Highland Center on June 16. Credit: Marvin Scott Jarrett.

Billy Reid charity T-shirt benefits Nashville flood relief

In February, Florence, Ala.-based fashion designer Billy Reid took home the GQ/CFDA award for best new menswear designer in America in part for his ability to mine -- and meld -- the influences of the Southern/country vibe with high-end luxury tailoring. This month, he's doing his part to pay some of that Rage_Billy_Reid_Charity_T back to a community where one of his six boutiques is located, with a charity T-shirt to benefit the victims of the Nashville floods.

The limited-edition red T-shirt bears the word "love" stacked two letters at a time like Robert Indiana's iconic image, with the "O" consisting of three white stars on a field of blue -- an image that appears on Tennessee's state flag. The original design was created by a Nashville resident and graphic artist named Katie Beth, who, in the aftermath of the floods, printed it on stickers and sold them to benefit United Way Nashville.

Net proceeds from sales of the $38 Tennessee Love T-shirts (currently available for pre-order under the "new arrivals" tab at his website) will go to a local volunteer organization, Hands on Nashville.

-- Adam Tschorn

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New York Fashion Week AW10: Mad plaids and animal instincts

Photo: Net proceeds from the sale of Billy Reid's Tennessee Love T-shirts -- available in men's (pictured) and women's styles ($38) -- are earmarked for a charity that benefits victims of the recent Nashville flooding. Credit: Billy Reid.

One side of debate over Arizona's immigration law is boiled down to a tee

The Phoenix Suns wore their sympathies on their shirts in Wednesday night's NBA playoffs, becoming  "Los Suns" and causing quite a stir about mixing basketball with the political debate over Arizona's new immigration law. You can read all about it at our sister blog, Top of the Ticket.

But we know there are plenty of other folks who will want to let their shirts do the talking too -- and so does, which sells what it describes as "the ultimate collection of the best of Latino-inspired street fashion available in the United States."

During the last week of April, the company had a contest on its Facebook page asking its friends to submit ideas for T-shirt slogans based on the immigration controversy. Now several of the winning designs have been incorporated into T-shirts and are available to purchase on for $19.95 each.

The tees are pretty much for people who are against the new law -- one has a slogan in Spanish that roughly translates to "Arizona, kiss my grits." For the higher-minded, another (shown above) paraphrases the famous words of Jose de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz, president of Mexico from 1876 to 1911: "Poor Mexico, so far from God, and so close to the United States."

If, unlike the Suns, you'd rather stick to sports and keep politics off your chest, also has plenty of sports-related shirts among its offerings. My favorite screams "GOAL GOAL, GOAL" and it's just in time for the World Cup!

-- Susan Denley


Gap tees up for the American woman


In an effort to make tonight's Conde Nast prom (a.k.a. the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual Costume Institute Gala Benefit) more accessible, Gap, the event's sponsor, is selling T-shirts inspired by the fashion exhibit "American Woman: Fashioning A National Identity," which opens at the museum Wednesday, May 5.

The T-shirt designs are drawn from archetypes of American femininity from the 1890s to the 1940s, which are the organizing principle for the show. Above, left to right, are the Heiress T-shirt (back view), the Gibson Girl T-shirt and the Flapper T-shirt.  Below, left to right, the Suffragist, Screen Siren and Patriot tees. Shirts are $34.50 to $44.50 at Gap stores and at

Which one is your favorite? I'm partial to the Gibson Girl.

--Booth Moore

Photos courtesy of the Gap.


Hot tome: A coffee-table book celebrates classic post-punk T-shirts

TeesWe all have a beloved old rock T-shirt or two in our possession. But for Cesar Padilla, owner of New York's Cherry vintage boutique, retro rock tees are a passion. And the retailer and collector, who's been amassing music tees since 1980, has now turned his obsession into a book.

In "Ripped: T-Shirts From the Underground" (out March 9), Padilla captures more than 200 tees made by (or in homage to) post-punk artists and musicians of the '70s and '80s from his collection. The shirts -- which are shown in all their sweaty-stained glory -- chronicle a musical movement that hinged on the DIY. This was an era when bands silk-screened their own T-shirts (and posters and fanzines) to sell at their club dates. Even the mass-produced shirts looked homemade.

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'We Are the World' T-shirts for a good cause

In case you missed (or weren’t born yet) for the star-studded group performance of "We Are the World" back in 1985, you can catch the new version (same sentiment, but probably not as many light-socket-permed hair dos) version Friday night during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 winter Olympic Games.

In addition to the totally new cast of crooners (including Lil Wayne, Justin Beiber, Josh Groban and Miley Cyrus) a company called Give and Take has released a T-shirt with the original “USA for Africa” logo made when the original "We Are the World" was released.  Twenty percent of proceeds from the sales of the shirt will benefit USA for Africa.

Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: Give and Take “We Are the World” T-shirt, $40 at Give and Take Tees

Society for Rational Dress debuts a cool T-shirt collection


Designer Corinne Grassini, founder and owner of L.A. fashion brand Society for Rational Dress, has always been pragmatic about designing clothes that fill holes in a hip girl's wardrobe. And now she's fleshing out her offerings in one of the most basic clothing categories: T-shirts.

The designer is debuting SfRD, a T-shirt collection separate from her signature line, for Spring 2010. Comprised of a handful of cleverly unstructured designs -- wrought in a silk/micromodal rib knit fabric that's seriously soft -- the collection features subtle details such as knots and simple metal and leather straps that add intrigue to simple silhouettes. 

Continue reading »

Yellow Bird Project: Rock T-shirts for a good cause

Grizzly Yellow Bird Project, a Canadian nonprofit organization that taps music artists to create T-shirts for charitable causes, has lured three of indie rock's most revered acts -- Grizzly Bear, Metric and Bloc Party -- to design tees for its holiday collection.

Pop-folk band Grizzly Bear's T-shirt -- which benefits the Brighter Planet Project Fund -- is pale pink, with a purple scribbled design on it meant to riff on the invention of the wheel (don't strain your craniums, Grizzly Bears!).

Angular indie-pop band Bloc Party, meanwhile, created a black tee emblazoned with a surreal and peaceful outdoor landscape (complete with fluttering butterflies). Proceeds from the shirt will benefit the Bread & Roses community fund, which seeks to address power and resource inequalities.

Longtime indie fave Metric's purple top -- which has yet to appear on the company's website -- allegedly features vibrant pinstripes and benefits MusiCounts.

All artist-designed tees are $25. And for hard-to-shop-for teens, they may be just the ticket this holiday.

--Emili Vesilind


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Photo: Grizzly Bear's ode to the invention of the wheel. Credit: Yellow Bird Project

Alternative Apparel celebrates its green initiative

Last Thursday night, environmentally conscious celebrities and all-around fans of Alternative Apparel’s slouchy sweatshirts and super-soft loungy pieces gathered on the rooftop of the quaint Petit Ermitage hotel in West Hollywood to celebrate the “Think Earth” T-shirt, sales of which benefit Global Green. MONDAY

Model, mom and eco-friendly makeup line creator Josie Maran arrived early with her daughter in tow. Maran also appears in Alternative Apparel’s “ReThink” booklet, which highlights how various celebrities and notable names view and support the environment. Davis Factor -- also a party guest -- snapped a few of the book’s subject, such as Alicia Silverstone and Nina Clemente, wearing basics from the lifestyle line.

Alternative Apparel owner Greg Alterman, who started the line 14 years ago in his home state of Georgia, is looking to expand the brand into freestanding retail locations, so people can snap up their favorite cuts at one time. Also on deck: an expansion into ready-to-wear pieces such as the knit pants and a blazer Alterman was wearing at the party. Like American Apparel, but without all the irony.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: Josie Maran and Greg Alterman/Wireimage


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