Printed T-Shirts?

Most (rock) bands (and some TV shows) nowadays sell T-shirts with a print referring to the band or a CD (or a TV show, or a person...) These T-shirts are quite popular among fans. They're mostly in black, although other colors are possible. Some have back prints, some don't, some have long sleeves (surprisingly these shirts are often called "longsleeves") (with or without sleeve print), some don't. OK, it all sounds great, but where can I best buy these shirts?

Where to get Shirts...

There are generally five ways to buy printed T-shirts:

  1. At a music store
    These often get the shirts straight from the record company, still wrapped in plastic. The shirts are therefore generally of good quality. The only problem with music stores is that they usually only have T-shirts of popular bands on stock (and most popular bands are crap), and that the shirts are relatively expensive (or at least in Holland they are. If you live in the UK or USA (?) you might be in luck, 'coz T-shirts are a lot cheaper there...) You may, however, be able to to order shirts that the store hasn't got, as long as ther're in the catalog.

  2. At a T-shirt shop
    Every big city has them: those tiny stores or market stalls where you can buy printed T-shirts and posters and stuff... The shirts are generally somewhat cheaper than in music stores, though this is not always the case... Most of the shirts in these shops are leftovers from stores and concerts, but some are "bootlegs", non-officially printed T-shirts, often of inferior quality. Watch out for these! They have the bad habbit of shrinking when you wash them and the print may even start to crumble. These prints are mostly of horrific quality anyway, which does make them easy to recognize. You can often determine the quality of the shirt by it's brand, printed on the label. Nearly all "Screen Stars" shirts (made by "Fruit of the Loom") are of good quality. I also have two "Kustom Kit" shirts which are just fine. However, both my "X-Large" (yes, that's a brand..) shirts are complete crap!

  3. At a concert
    The best place to get shirts by far. Shirts at concerts are cheap and generally of good quality. They come directly from the band. Most bands have their own T-shirt salesmen. There are just a few tiny drawbacks to buying shirts at concerts. Firstly, you actually have to go to the concert, which is expensive (but fun). Secondly, there has to be a concert, which is not always the case when you need a new shirt ;-) Third, only new T-shirts are sold. And fourth, you have to either wear the shirt during the concert (with risk of it being shredded into tiny pieces), stuff it in your coat (with a *small* risk of losing it) or buy it after the concert is finished (with the risk of there being no more shirts).

  4. At a festival
    Most large festivals have stands on the festival terrain where you can buy T-shirts of various bands. My experience is that they often sell quite a lot of old or rare shirts, or at least shirts I'd never seen before. (They might have been fakes...Oh what the hell, they're "Screen Stars"...) Most shirts are of good quality, but do keep your eyes open for those low-quality fakes, especially outside the festival terrain!

  5. Through mailorder
    It is often possible to order T-shirts through a band's merchendising department. This is reliable and not too expensive, although you will have to pay postage and packing, so it might become quite costly after all, especially if you don't live in the same country as the band...
    Some mailorder CD company's do T-shirts as well. Make sure your mailorder company is reliable.
    Therapy? shirts can be obtained at The Therapy? Fanclub

How to take care of your T-shirts...

Once you've finally got a printed T-shirt, you'll have to make sure that it actually stays a printed T-shirt. You have to treat it properly in order to keep it from wearing down to much.
Start by following these rules:

Levien van Zon (, MALEB/SCUM!, 1996-1998