Creatively designed T-shirts furnish struggling peewee teams with a sense of unity and last-minute prom dates with something to help class up their sweatpants. Brighten any occasion with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of artistic tees and accessories online from Threadless.
Each week, Threadless prints a new line of T-shirts designed by illustrators and artists from all corners of the Internet. The website’s forum community approves each design in a democratic process that allows browsers to find compositions as diverse as the unrelentingly masculine Revenge of the Toro guys' tee ($20), the visual haiku of a Sunny Leo girly tee ($20), and a shirt that folds itself into a crane when removed from the body. To suit the character of every family member, the online outfitter presents a range of children’s wear, including whimsical onesies, such as The Birdie Tree ($18), and T-shirts, such as the Moon Kite motif ($20), that turn torsos into surrealist canvases. Threadless is also a repository of artful accessories including wallets, umbrellas, totes, and iPhone cases to reward smartphones for academic excellence. Designs rotate weekly to keep the selection fresh, so the tees above may not always be available.
Wanting to further the careers of other artists he knew, Jake Nickell set up a competition-based T-shirt-design company in his small apartment to give those artists a chance to make their art and get paid while doing it. Today, the small design startup has expanded into Threadless, a virtual boutique showcasing artsy apparel and accessories from designers all over the globe. Each week, guest artists and illustrators submit designs depicting pop-culture references, animals, folk art, and vibrant abstract works, leaving it up to the online community to vote on which entries will populate the shop’s menagerie of merch ranging from T-shirts and hoodies to bags, laptop cases, and umbrellas.
In addition to printing their work, Threadless honours artists with awards for designers in various categories, as well as a Made By program highlighting artists who've developed a following in the community or discovered the whereabouts of Van Gogh's middle-school diaries. Store staffers also award scholarships to hardworking designers and present Design Challenges to focus submitting artists on a central theme or aesthetic style. At Threadless Atrium, they collaborate with charities and other outside organizations to gather eclectic art submissions that currently benefit the American Cancer Society and Disney Villains.