Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Woot Doesn't Suck For A Week: A Review

Regular readers likely are very familiar with shirt.woot. I know many of you are woot users yourselves... designers, patrons, possibly staff (hi, guys). I know many of you are bloggers, and ergo used to finding yourselves on all the big names. And surely many of the designers and shirt buyers from other sources have been featured at woot, or checked out designer friends when they were featured. So I think it's safe to say that the average visitor knows the simple fact: shirt.woot is not known for great, good, or even decent tees. Which was part of why last week was so glorious for long-time checkers of woot... it was like finding a whole new site!

As Contest Watch goes, we're pretty psyched to announce that two of our four predictions panned out for their last Editor's Choice week. The best of the two (and the best print of the week, if I do say so myself) was EdgarRMcHerly's "Air," a gloriously sunny and bold watercoloured piece that has absolutely exceeded my expectations in print. It came out big and bright and beautiful, while preserving the hazy weirdness of this city in the stratosphere. It really hits a standard of design, not to mention print, that woot rarely can find itself measuring up to. It's simple complexity and charming little cloudmen make me wonder why a site with this sort of talent wouldn't print things this wonderful regularly.

Also succeeding in printing was Drakxxx's "Steamworks Operatica," a piece (shown below) which truly illustrates just how needed these editorial fingers in woot's pie are. The piece took fourth in woot's Steampunk derby, missing a print despite being more on-theme than the rest of the top-5 combined. It is, however, a wonderfully detailed piece, full of the bits and bobs that capture the imagination in the style. It aims to capture the aesthetics of the technology, the fashion, and the art, instead of simply condensing it down to gears, smoke and robots (though there's certainly plenty of that, too). Again, it makes for a shirt that is attractive and artistic enough that it's a wonder people take the generic route so often.

It's not to say woot was short on its humor, giving us Dekonstruct's smart-yet-nerdy Cthulhu BBQ to prove that it is indeed possible to appeal to the average wooter base AND the people who want a little more in concept, as well as Artulo's clever parody Gonna Make You Lunch, which serves to prove that cuter art need not be geared to children. For people who wanted a moodier piece, there was Jewelwing's The Pressure Lessens, which stands out even against the other artistic pieces this week. It was just nice to see a week that was diverse without being super-niche, and to see derby designers get some recognition without needing to be generic and cloying.

Of course, while the reviews were pretty raving all week long (and why shouldn't they have been), it's looking like the sum total of awesome will be lost to the sands of time this coming Monday, during the reckoning. Le sigh, this is why we can't have nice things. But there is time yet for you to make a difference for these lucky tees that got a chance to rise above the milieu normally surrounding the contest they were denied print from. It'd be nice to see something good succeed for once, and it looks like you can buy with confidence in these cases, so feel free to snag yourself a woot shirt you'll feel good about. We all know it could be a while before that happens again!

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