Anyone who reads through our product descriptions knows that we love a good story. As with all of our fabrics, everything has a story. Everything. Being curious, forever asking questions, finding what makes things tick, a story always emerges.
Part of our design research always involves exploring the where, what and how of the wonderful fabrics that present themselves to us from the far reaches of our world. Luckily we work with a lot of very patient vintage collectors who are willing to share their research and knowledge. Sometimes though, we purchase things with or without a story, simply because we like them. (To be honest, we only purchase things because we like them- there's no better barometer).
Being collectors ourselves, of "vintage things", we frequent antique shows, estate sales, and flea markets. The Rose Bowl Flea Market being a favorite haunt. Never to disappoint, the Rose Bowl is a treasure trove of Americana- furniture, memorabilia, farming tools, kitchen equipment and tableware, linens/fabrics, clothing, and more. As a lover of tee shirts and graphics, vintage tee's are always in my sights. These I buy for their particular personal appeal and not necessarily for any "investment" purposes. After all, T-shirts are meant to be worn (and collected).
The above t-shirt was found during a Rose Bowl research trip back when I worked for Tommy Hilfiger (hence, the red white & blue graphic). Nonetheless, I took a liking to it and used it in a post I wrote on The First Few. For one reason or another and it stayed with me until receiving a random email back in the Fall from Tom Shannon, the adult who became of the young boy below.
Tom and his family spent the better part of the 1970s living in Indonesia while his father worked for Dravo in South Sulawesi. T-shirts like this were made and given to employees for events and ground-breakings. Many were probably lost through time and the many miles between here and there. Fortunately for Tom, this particular shirt ended up back in his hands after making its way through LA and back to New York. He reached out to me via my blog, sharing his family's story and hoping to give said shirt to his ailing father as a piece of family-related nostalgia. I was all for it- who was I to stand in the way of a t-shirt reunion!
Through the years, we (all people) acquire and consume various articles of clothing and rarely learn anything from their past lives. Of course this becomes far more interesting with vintage clothing. Each piece passing from one hand to another, generation to generation, stopping for a short time before moving on (these are the thoughts that run through our minds while rummaging through the Rose Bowl).
Playing my small part in bringing this t-shirt full circle gave me a sense of being a part of a bigger picture, something more than just an old tee shirt.
Tom's Father, circa mid 1970s
The Shannon family unit, circa mid 1970s