T-shirts are quickly becoming their own art form. With hundreds of different t-shirt websites featuring many different well known artists, sites like Threadless and Shirt.woot are creating more than just apparel. They are creating wearable art.
Each shirt site has its own unique following, created by the types of t-shirts they generally offer. Here is a brief description of the types of followers these common t-shirt sites have attracted.
Popular T-Shirt Sites
Threadless is perhaps the most well known t-shirt site on the Internet. Its shirts are extremely popular with hipsters, although the designs are not necessarily hipster oriented. They have a very harsh extensive rating system, so bad art is weeded out very quickly. Those that appreciate t-shirts as an art form also use this site quite a bit because the editors tend to make decent choices, yet occasionally a text based design gets through.
Even though this site has been around for a while, it is still trying to find its identity. The daily designs are hit and miss – some of them are the pinnacle of shirt art, while others are just plain awful and shouldn’t have been a sketch, let alone for sale. Over the last year there was a strong focus on so called “cute” designs, but the last few weeks have brought in influx of incredibly artistic, high quality work. The audience at shirt.woot is incredibly diverse, primarily due to the woot.com host site, which attracts all types of people.
TeeFury has quickly become one of the most popular shirt sites, but they attract a completely different crowd than the other t-shirt sites. TeeFury focuses primarily on pop-culture references. On any given day there will be a Star Wars, Lost, or some other pop culture t-shirt available. Though the designs are attractive, this site tends to draw a lot of scorn from the artistic oriented t-shirt community, because of their heavy reliance on pop-culture themes. It appeals to anyone that enjoys the pop culture references they often refer to.
Designed by Humans is the anti-TeeFury. Though a few pop culture references have been added, they are extremely rare. Instead, Designed by Humans (DBH for short) uses the shirt as a giant canvas. It is the only shirt website that consistently uses the shoulders, the back, and even the armpit of the shirt to allow artists to continue to complete their incredibly full designs.Interestingly, DBH has a fairly broad audience similar to TeeFury, due to the depth of their designs.
Tilteed is a much newer shirt website, but like DBH, it has managed to keep its artistic integrity. All of the designs on Tilteed are unique and interesting, many of which are selected by prominent members of the t-shirt community. They commonly feature unique designs by well known shirt artists, which has allowed them to quickly grow in popularity and feature some of the more unique t-shirt designs available. Tilteed’s primary audience are the regulars at the major artistic shirt sites, but it is quickly growing to attract more regular shirt lovers.
T-Shirts as an Art Form
It seems silly to believe that someone can “wear art,” but as most of these shirt sites grow in popularity, so too do the number of interesting, unique artists that turn these t-shirts into their own canvas. It would not be a tremendous surprise if someday shirts were bought, sold and valued the same way people value paintings as the field starts to expand.