I finally managed to get my hands on all the vintage t-shirt books published in the last few years. Truth be told, I would recommend any book that contains photos of vintage tees, even if it was scribed in crayon by a two year old child.
Title: Vintage T-Shirts
Meet the authors: Lisa Kidner and Sam Knee are fashion retailers and designers, selling their clothes under the Heart of Glass and Upper Fifth labels. They sell authentic vintage t-shirts from stalls at London’s Portobello, Camden, and Spitafields markets.
Number of shirts inside: 500+
Buy it: Amazon / eBay
This book starts off with a great personal introduction to the authors, explaining how a pink shirt tickled their book-writing fancies. Then the introduction preemptively zips the lips of the nay-sayers. This tells me the authors know the goings-on in the minds of those passionate about vintage t’s. “Did you forget X purposely, and why is Y in here?!” are question they need not answer. They’re well aware no book could be the be-all end-all of vintage tees publications.
Humble introductions aside, this book is actually the closest any have come to the bible of vintage t-shirt books – mainly because it contains more than 500 tees, which doubles that of any book I have in my possession. Yes, they branch out to various genres, not just vintage band t-shirts, and that’s part of the beauty. Don’t worry, you’ll get your rock tee fix too. Their collection has the broadest coverage of musical styles – not just rock – which sets it aside from other books. If that’s music to your ears, then you’ll be happy to hear about the assortment of sought-after vintage tshirt genres, like skateboard, surf, bmx, movie, and so on.
All of this content takes place over the course of 300+ nicely laid out pages featuring vintage photography, great interviews with collectors, and images of related memorabilia and advertising.
The only thing I do say nay to is their proposed battle between printing techniques, screen printing and heat transfer. There really is no comparison; screen printing is better by far, and the top choice of collectors. Heat transfers that were created 20+ years ago are still kicking around in huge quantities, still going unsold in lots on eBay, and still waiting to be pressed on new shirts. Meanwhile, the ones that were actually put to use are now deteriorating, cracking, and fading beyond recognition. While there is a kitschy novelty factor to them, I would have preferred the few featured in this book to have been replaced by more of the excellent screen print selections.
I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.
Buy it: Amazon / eBay
Additional Vintage T-Shirt Book Reviews.