Are graphic tees DEAD??

Cool airbrushed joints that GIVE US HOPE for the future, SICK SIMPLE FOOT-GORP, & more Mach 3+ intel

“Graphic-tee fatigue” … it’s a debilitating condition that those of us in the dope-under-the-radar-joints community know all too well (and which I discussed a bit when I interviewed graphic-tee virtuoso Sonya Sombreuil of Come Tees)

Don’t get it twisted — some of my most-beloved possessions are graphic tees, whether it’s the RARE 1993 Rage Against the Machine longsleeve with murky CIA origins that I wrote about last summer; my ©1993 officially licensed Seinfeld tee (what is up with me and ‘93??); or the SICK “Blackbird SpyBlue” Björk MoMA bootleg that And After That / Edgar Gonzelaz recently made exclusively for Blackbird Spyplane’s “beautiful & blessed” Cla$$ified subscribers, donating 100% of the profits to undocumented people…

But for every 1 of these prized gems, I own approx. 3 inferior tees that I SMASHED the COP BUTTON upon in an ephemeral & deluded state of excitement… and that now clog up my damn closet DEPRESSINGLY !

Few garments can rival the quick-hit jawn-dopamine-delivery that popping graphic-tees provide … but the sheer glut of them can build up to a nasty hangover, where u wake up one day with a throbbing brain full of nagging questions, such as:

-“Is this tee a lifelong treasure that speaks to some unique set of interests and/or personal idiosyncrasies of mine — or is it a fleeting novelty that made me chuckle when I saw it on the TL, where I should have left it, uncopped?

-“Will this graphic feel dated / make me look like a swaggerless trend-hopper in 2 weeks?”

- “How many kilotons of cotton-farming water, and how many hours of underpaid labor were involved in bringing this tee into my life, and in what sense were those costs remotely ‘worth’ the ~47 likes I hope to get when I post this baby ??’”

This is part of the reason we love designers like Small Talk, whose hand-drawn pieces are, by definition, small-run and super-personal — call ‘em “SLOW JAWNS.” (🚨 BTW: Small Talk’s releasing a limited-edition screen-printed tee later this month, and our Cla$$ified Subscribers will enjoy an EXCLUSIVE presale🚨)

And it’s why we are STOKED about artist Caroline Kunka, who makes one-of-one tees & sweatshirts with big “Oh THIS is that next-up, 2021, WEIRD graphical s**t” energy…

Caroline’s based in Philadelphia, where she airbrushes custom graphic-tees and sweatshirts with animal motifs… Her pieces are appealingly posi-vibed but just off-kilter enough to avoid getting overly cutesy, and the airbrushing creates a creamy texture, warmth and depth that feels fresh in this current moment of flat, jumbled, 2-D-graphic sovereignty…

Caroline also did the cover art for PHILADELPHIA GENIUS Tierra Whack’s BBSP HQ CONSTANT-ROTATION CLASSIC Whack World… which is dope as hell.

Caroline’s tees r broadly of a piece with some other “graphic joints” we’ve appreciated lately… Some of our favorite recent shirts from our homies at Online Ceramics — who we interviewed here — enter into hand-painted / animal-kingdom / children’s-book territory….

And MERE MOMENTS before we sat down to write this post we saw a couple other harmonious specimens looking GOOD on our IG feed, one of them shared to stories by BBSP Big Buddy Ezra Koenig (the luminous single-stitch frog tee above left) and the other one modeled by finger-on-the-pulse BBSP subscriber and GQ Editor Will Welch (the spOoOkier-vibed airbrush-style hoodie above right)…

In true “slow jawn” style, Caroline tells us she’s currently closed to new commissions while she works her way thru a backlog, but “I’ve been planning to start the new year with a semi-large collection” — so tap the follow on her IG and stay tuned …


MEANWHILE: As longtime readers know — as does anyone who CLOCKED the mud-dyed pink Iris Liner Jacket yr boy is wearing at the top of today’s newsletter — I have been known to cop Visvim joints now & then

One wild Visvim piece I’ve admired in the abstract but always considered a bit too “high degree of difficulty” for yrs truly is their Sanjuro Kimono down jacket, which came to mind the other day when Erin showed me the very cool kimono-style shawl collar “Barbosa” jacket from Portugal’s La Paz — a relatively more muted / more casually rockable (and way lower-priced) take on the “down kimono”

Our homies at Boulder’s Canoe Club (whose lead buyer & co-owner, Timothy, we interviewed here) have the Barbosa in stock right now in blue (they also carry a CLEAN La Paz kimono-cut lambswool cardigan…)

And the La Paz site, which ships to the U.S., has the Barbosa in dark green AND grey wool… (This would have fit in the PUFFY ‘n’ QUILTED “FALL COMFORT-JAWN round-up” we published last month, where we also noted our animal-rights-born ambivalence when it comes to copping down coats…)


Moving on… Every now and then we do calls for reader questions on IG and handpick several for what we call the “PERSONAL SPYPLANE” treatment…

A while back, someone named @ravonoski33 asked us, “what are some of your favorite trail hiking shoes / boots — style vs. functionality?”

We’ve been loving our eBay deadstock discontinued Arc’teryx Bora 2 boots — and Merrell Moab, La Sportiva Eclipse and teched-out Salomon Lab type options remain cool ... But real talk, lately ?? We’ve been F*CKING HEAVY w/ the pared-down, faintly “Rockport dad” walking-shoe aura of the Tarvas Explorer

Tarvas SLING THEIR CHILL FOOT-GORP out of Finland, where they tuck an Italian suede upper into a rubber “mudguard” … They did an Engineered Garments collab u can find at resellers, and there are cool Explorer colorways in stock at Tanner (on sale); Meridian (ditto); This Thing of Ours (who have it in a very popping mustard); and C’H’C’M’ (who have it on sale in VIBEY metallic variants.)


AND FINALLY: Today is the LAST DAY to enter our giveaway with Herman Miller, who are blessing one beautiful Cla$$ified-tier subscriber with one beautiful George Nelson Coconut Chair… This is a deep-cut midcentury treasure, starting price $3495, that will ELEVATE any crib — throw yr name in the VIRTUAL BBSP BUCKET HAT HERE before midnight PST …

And if u slept pon it, check out our HOMEGOODS-HEAVY interview with Herman Miller design archivist Amy Auscherman, here.

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