I think the something in the dye that corrodes the fabric over time seems like the best theory thus far!
Is it strictly 90s? Strictly black tees? share you experiences. Together we can wipe out dry rot. Actually, no we can't but at least we can figure out why it happens.
Oh, one thing to add - there's a very distinctive smell to these tees - so if you're buying, sniff 'em and tug at em.
Demo video here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/FiPP5UIC6Xg
picked up a deadstock michael bolton 1991 black t-shirt with a hanes tag at the thrift store. it was very thin. it started disintegrating onto the other shirts next to it in the bag. i tried to soak it in white vinegar (cigarette smoke smell) and when i picked it up from the sink it was shredded! like a pile of black shreds.
very interesting comments above, i'll watch this thread for more info!
Curing may still play a part in it but who knows for sure. Although in my experience, I grew up hanging out with friends whose dad ran a t-shirt shop and back then at least they cured them on something that essentially looked like a small/short pizza oven type deal. It had like a conveyer belt and he would put the shirts on the belt and they would go through one cycle and pop out the other side into a box. So it wasn't targeted curing at least in that respect. And I had some shirts made a while back at another t-shirt store and they did the same thing so I think that's still common. I think if you're doing them at home you just cure them with the lamp deal but in the industrial mass-produced world where these shirts come from I'd imagine they're all being done on this conveyer belt scenario. Again, who knows if it has anything to do with it at all but just another part of the puzzle I guess
Did he say what year they were?
Perhaps one ink manufacturer experimented with a new formula in the early 90s - then realized the issue and removed it.
Had another dry rot shirt today. 1991, NOS and black. At least it was only Rod Stewart.... but I did rip it to shreds doing a sexy strip tease for some very uninterested female co-workers. Goodbye Vagabond Heart, Hello sexual harassment case.
I just examined it again - it's a Spring Ford 50 50. It's see through - almost as if it's been washed many times, but it's deadstock.
And there's a black residue that comes from it.
I wonder if it's possible that the dye killed the cotton content only? Isn't that basically how threadbare tees come to be? the natural fibres wear thin over, wear, washes and dries?
This one is from 87 though.
If the dye has an effect on cotton it would have to effect 50 50 tees too.
Let's just keep reporting the years and fabric content of 'em. Hopefully we can rule out it happening to W&T's deadstock fort knox.
My dad would always make wash any new clothing we got growing up before we wore them. He knew someone who would break out in a rash/hives if they wore something without washing it first.
Also, many items have to be fumigated when being imported into the United States. I've worked in retail for many years. You could always tell which boxes came direct from the overseas manufacturer and which ones were repacked once they entered the US.
The smell of the overseas boxes had such a strong, distinct scent when you first open them. Sometimes it was so overpowering, we would leave the box to air out behind the store for a half hour or so.
In the case of NOS items, since the fumigation chemicals were never washed off, maybe they eventually cause clothing to disintegrate?