Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Local Selections

Threadless has made an interesting announcement this week: apparently they have now broken their site up into three distinct lines, with three distinct sites. Threadless will remain the center of all operations, and all shirts will be searchable from there, but they have created individual sites for their other lines. People looking for their curated, unscored selects can find them at The Select Series, and those looking for their slogans can head to TypeTees. I see it as a bit of a pointless split, but hey, good luck to them. So long as there's some high-quality shirtprinting coming from the good folks at skinnyCorp, they can split up any way they wish.

An interesting side effect of the split is what seems to be an influx of select "collections," as opposed to the single selects we normally get. Since selects are commissioned and/or curated, as opposed to voted on, this could easily lead to some very offbeat and challenging shirts, which I am all for.

Also interesting to me is the lead-off collection comes to us from the Rhode Island School of Design. I have roots in RI, so having the biggest little state in the union show up on the biggest shirt site in the country feels like something to cheer for.

In particular, I'd like to cheer for Randy Willier's "Ouroboros '08," my favorite of the selections. Willier is a professor at RISD, and his write-up is appropriately artsy, with his past taking him all around the globe. His design isn't simple to explain my appreciation toward... it's not so much the theme, with the classic Ouroboros snake twisted into a figure-8 (presumably the meaning of the title), and the elements of new life and nature surrounding and being surrounded by it. It's the colors, and how much texture they add. It's the style the scene was brought to life in, with all the fine detail fleshed out of dots... it gives the whole piece a certain vintage feel, not like distressed images or worn out graphics from the '70s, but like illustrations from older texts or tapestries. The wind cloud is probably my favorite element, adding definite whimsy, but the whole border, with its delicate embellishments showing the merging of land, sea and air, is wonderful, and those aforementioned embellishments let the design gracefully blend into the shirt itself. The toughest part of explaining what I like about this shirt, however, is trying to say it in a way that won't make me look like an idiot to an art professor. As a safeguard, lets say I wrote this in a "post-modern deconstructionist" manner. And pray I never have to face that microscope.

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