History of the T-Shirt, Hardback Book "My Freedamn! by Rin Tanaka (2003)

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My Freedamn! Vintage Sports T-Shirts Issue Hardcover – 2003 by Rin. Tanaka

 rin tanaka, history of the vintage american fashion, t-shirt, iron-on, vintage

 This is the bible among not only vintage fashion freaks, but also worldwide professional designers and collage students! This self-publishing book by Rin Tanaka was sensationally released in Spring 2003! He was already popular author in the vintage motorcycle jacket fans, but this new title featuring a history of American vintage t-shirts, made super big impact on worldwide fashion industry! He quickly sold over 10,000 copies by his hands; over 16,000 copies have been sold out till 2011! This book has total 288 pages; featuring 453 amazing KOOL samples from old surf, skate, motorcycle, hot rod industries. With such rare t-shirt product photos, he added lots of excellent his lifestyle portrait photos about famous hipstars like Joe Tudor (surf), Tony Alva (skate), Bud Ekins (Motorcycle), Billy Gibons (Z.Z. Top). This is must to check title for any fashion and culture-oriented people! writes:

The history of vintage american fashion includes the t-shirt. As we tell you in Our Story, all across american you could find in every mall, t-shirt shops where you could pick your shirt and the image or iron-on transfer and have it applied on the spot. Here's a short story from the Roach website, the undisputed master creative artist of the 1970s iron-on culture:


 roach, vintage, iron-on, t-shirts,

Few things take me back to memories of childhood summers more than images of old iron-on T-shirts. Roach Studios (a name that I thought referred only to the bug when I was a naive lad) was the undisputed king of the transfers, and I, like every other kid raised in the Seventies, added much to their coffers. Summer vacations at Rehoboth / Dewey Beach in Delaware always included stops in practically every T-shirt shop on the boardwalk (and they were legion). My eyes would scan the hundreds of designs until I found the superhero decals and then the pleading would begin. Of the iron-ons in this ad, I only owned the Captain America shirt (which used fluorescent pink in the place of red, giving Cap a slightly less authoritative, but much groovier look), but I vividly remember seeing almost every one of these hanging on those shop walls.

Them there new-fangled screen-printed T-shirts the kids wear these days may look “better” and last longer, but they’re not the same. Buying a T-shirt today is just another consumer action. In the Iron-On days, there was an almost creative excitement in picking your image and then selecting what style and color shirt would serve as the frame. I can still remember the olfactory jolt as the stoned employee pressed the iron-on, the anticipation as they let it cool and peeled the backing paper and the warm, slightly sticky feel of the fresh garment. More than a garment, really: for a ten year old, this was a rare opportunity to select your own clothes, to express your personality… even if your personality was (is) giant geek!  (by Popgustav)


We ask you, what is your t-shirt history? Do you appreciate American Fashion enough to wonder about the history? Enough to recreate your favorite shirts of your youth?

Tell us your story... Thanks!


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  • This post is an awesome atpmtet to cover most of casual clothing. T-shirts have always been an interest for me. I have bookmarked the page and will refer it to my friends too.

    Edila on

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