Single or double stitched?
This refers to the stitching at the sleeve and bottom hem of a t-shirt (or just the bottom hem on a long sleeve.) Some older shirts (but not all) have a single stitch running at the sleeve and bottm hem (as opposed to two parallel stitch lines.)
It tends to look slightly more seamless and 'flows' better. Single stitch shirts tend to be quite sought after, and sometimes vintage shirts come with single stitch only on the sleeves, or the bottom hem.
Many vintage T-Shirts have their tags cut or removed. Yet those who do have them are notable for being printed on brands you may (or may not) recognise.
You are likely to see various old versions of Fruit of The Loom, AllSports, Jerzeez, Tultex, Hanes, Screen Stars (officially owned by Fruit of The Loom), Giant and Brockum (focused mostly on music releases) and the almighty Blue Grape, who focused predominantly on the heavier end of the music spectrum. What are often referred to as 'Euro' tags are ones that tend to just carry the size and not much else. They also tend to be the real deal (when taken into consideration with other teltale signs such as licensing, chronology and others.)
Originals, Reprints, Boots, Fakes?
What's the difference? The designs on a t-shirt will tend to be the intellectual property of an artist, or an artists' representative such as a licensee who prints and distributes t-shirts and gives some share of the profit back to the artist.
- Originals vintage shirts will (for the most part) have some form of copyright attribution, the year of the print and maybe the brand of the party.
- Reprints are officially licensed shirts, which have been re-released in more recent history. For example a t-shirt with an album cover from 1992, printed in 2005 will tend have an actualised copyright date referring to the year of the print.
- Boots are t-shirts which tend to be produced at the same time as an original, but are unofficial and made without the permission of the artist. Usually they are made by fans or other parties who want to capitalise on the success of an artist. Some boots are quite unique and highly sought after because they are made at very limited runs. Many are strokes of amateur design genius - unconstrained by copyright law they combine all sorts of imagery and can be a really cool article to add to your collection.
- Fakes are counterfeit t-shirts, which are designed to dupe the buyer. They are made to appear like a vintage item, and will sometimes contain all the telltale signs of a vintage shirt. Like other luxury items, there is a thriving industry built around fakes that looks for single-stitch blank t-shirts, fades them, and even creates copycat labels.
We will never sell a fake and destroy every one that gets into our possession.
Wear, Tear & Repairs
There are different grades when it comes to the condition of a vintage shirt. We usually disclose the condition in all our descriptions. Worn is rarely worse, but do keep an eye for these terms:
- Deadstock: at their most pristine, vintage shirts are often labelled as 'Deadstock.'This basically means that the shirt has never been worn or washed.
- Fade: It's a 'grey' area. Most vintage t'shirts have some form of fade on the fabric, and the extent to which they are faded will vary considerably. Most vintage tees have a pretty robust print, but cracking and wear on it is common and often appreciated.
- Pinholes: a common term used to describe small holes in the fabric - they can be common and to some add character. They will always be disclosed in our listings but don't tend to be structurally an issue and the garment will have a long life ahead of it.
- Thrashed: a term used to describe heavy wear - major holes, fraying, cuts, repairs or bleaching. Some shirts are prized for the unique character this offers. We rarely stock such items but we will always disclose any major flaws such as the above.