About 4 years ago, I spent a lot of time on Threadless.com. In fact, one of the only reasons that I visit the site so rarely, at this point, is because I’m always so busy with this one. I had been working the graveyard shift as a night auditor at a shit-hole of a hotel across the street from a public park full of crackheads and the one thing that I had to occupy myself during the long nights was a computer screen and the internet. A lot has changed, both with my life and with Threadless, but every once in a while, they produce something so crazy and awesome that I remember what drew me to them in the first place.
For those that don’t know, Threadless is a T-Shirt/design company started by Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart, with the $1,000 that they won in a T-Shirt design competition. Well… it’s a T-Shirt design company by definition, but it’s actually a whole lot more than that. The amazing thing about Threadless is that they’ve been able to use their business model to actually create a thriving community, which places a remarkable amount of control back into the hands of their customers. The designs are submitted and voted on by the visitors and members on the site. The winners are printed and are paid for their contributions. The sites provides a great referral program as well, with every order generated a $3 credit back to the referrer and $1.50 credit is rewarded for every image that is sent in of a customer wearing one of the products. What really keeps the fanbase feeling appreciated and involved is the fact that, as the company grows, so does the compensation for the winners. Printed designers can come away with thousands of dollars, including additional compensation for every time that their designs are reprinted. Threadless has been able to open actual stores now and grow and grow but, by recognizing the fan base that they’ve relied on and giving back, they’ve still been able to stay on top, as more and more imitation sites have continuously popped up over the years.
Back in the day, it was rare to catch someone wearing a Threadless Tee. There were Threadless sightings and people would actually post about it when they came across one. Now I see them almost every day. Back in the day they weren’t released as often either. Now multiple new designs are released every week. I stopped keeping track of every design, because it was impossible. With more people came new directions and designs that many people didn’t identify with as much. Shit got too cutesy at times. Shit got corny at times. I hit around 40 plus T-Shirts in my own collection that I didn’t need and stopped kicking it around the site as much. Still, the progress arguably outweighed everything else and the community driven “BLOG FORUM” is still going strong. The forum is a great place for artists to get feedback pre-submission and to connect with other artists and community members. In some ways, the creation of Monster Fresh itself owes a great deal of debt to the Threadless forum. It was there that, by utilizing the knowledge of other forum members, I was able to learn such things as the simple basics of html. Before that, I didn’t know shit about how anything on the internet worked. Threadless and it’s blog forum was also springboard for Mike Mitchell to gain notoriety, years before ever envisioning and designing the poster for the immensely popular “I’m with Coco” campaign for Conan O’Brien. It’s awesome to see community members like him gain a much deserved, larger audience. Now another long-time Threadless forum member and submitter has gotten his first design printed and it’s easily one of the best designs to come out of the site in a long time.
This TRON-inspired shirt was created by Rolf Nelson (aka: MartianDriveIn) and, although he’s had 3 of his slogans printed in the past, this is the first of his many design submissions to be selected. First introduced on Monday, April 19th, 2010, the shirt sold out immediately and, due to a tremendous demand, it has already been reprinted, a mere 3 days later.
Advancements haven’t only been created for 80‘s heavy technology like 3D, there have also been leaps in the world of glow in the dark ink. That’s right, this shirt glows and really, what kind of TRON-related garment would it be if it didn’t?
Here’s an example of what the shirt looks like on an adult man.
[Notice how the design actually fits to cover the shoulders and not just the chest and torso]
They are available for the ladies too. As if simply having a female speak to them wasn’t enough, women everywhere can have an entire convention of nerds at their beck and call by rocking one of these shirts. This may be the next best thing to walking around in the gold slave bikini.
If you want to step up your game even more, you can even get the design on a zip-up American Apparel hoody…
…and when this one glows, it even simulates the classic hockey-style TRON helmets from the film. Even if you aren’t the type of person that would rock something like this, it’s hard to deny that it’s amazing, from a design standpoint.
I found a pair of TRON Adidas at a Buffalo Exchange a few months back and they didn’t fit. I was so psyched on them that I bought them anyway, and ended up giving them away. This totally makes up for it. With the upcoming next installment in the TRON film series being released soon, this new reprint probably won’t last long, so our suggestion is to:
Make sure to check out more from Rolf Nelson at DesignbyProxy.com
CLICK HERE to find out about the new TRON: Legacy film coming out, through our past entry, which includes a teaser trailer, storyline information and concept art.
Congratulations Rolf, and nice work!
- Dead C (aka: Chemi Hydro)