To celebrate the launch of the Collective we’ve put together a list, aka compilation (one of the cool features of the Collective) of the first 10 t-shirts we listed for sale. Each one was carefully selected from our collection for its Defunkd significance.
1. Vintage Adidas RUN DMC T-Shirt
We’re giving this tee the honor of being the first listed at the Collective because it represents the inspiration for Defunkd. Back in 2004 I noticed how much fun Vintage Vantage was having selling vintage tees on eBay and through their own website. This exact tee (I acquired it from them last year when they closed) and its $13k price tag blew my mind. My uber-nostalgic ways, combined with my status as an eBay seller since the ’90s, meant Defunkd was born a month later. I based Defunkd on the Vintage Vantage formula: one part eBay, one part web support, detailed with some cool branding, a sense of humor and live models in front of a custom background. So we thought it only fitting to let the legacy of their exorbitantly priced t-shirt live on.
2. Vintage Eric B. & Rakim Paid in Full T-Shirt
The iconic Paid in Full tee was regularly sported by DJ AM; the same one he mentions in our interview with him. After his passing we hosted an auction for one of these t-shirts and donated the proceeds to his memorial fund. Sadly, his sister Lara passed away shortly after his death. She was in the vintage business operating the popular Plaid Pony Vintage website. In honor of them Defunkd will donate half of the proceeds from this t-shirt to AM’s memorial fund should it sell. We’re determined to keep Adam’s memory alive any chance we get. I’m pretty sure he would have loved the Collective. We’ve got a history of using vintage tees to raise loot – and plan on making vintage t-shirts as catalysts for charity an integral part of the Defunkd Collective.
3. Vintage De La Soul Glow-in-the-Dark Promo Tee
Yet another AM favorite he mentioned in our interview with him. He called it a 3 Feet High and Rising promo tee. But unlike the Eric B. tee, this is the only example I’ve ever seen floating around online. The letters on the front and back have a glow-in-the-dark ink halo. 3-feet High and Rising is my all-time favorite album; AM was impressed that I knew the trivia questions off by heart. Not that impressive considering I’ve probably listened to it 1000 times, the original cassette right here in my office. Remember when I said we’re going to keep AM’s memory alive? That was plug one, and this is plug two. And if yer down with De La, the plugs will make more sense to you.
4. Vintage Queen T-Shirt
This tee represents a friendship formed from a Defunkd business partnership. In 2006 I noticed a gentleman selling deadstock t-shirts on eBay. Turned out he was a merchandise manager for bands and had been since the 1980s. His deadstock inventory was coming directly from his garage – overstock from decades past. I contacted Mark through eBay and proposed that we partner up and that I’d handle the sale of his inventory. At the same time he was approached by a now infamous vendor with a colorful name who made a similar offer. Let’s just say he chose wisely… two weeks later there were two huge boxes of tees waiting for me at the post office. His shirts and his friend’s supply lasted for many years. Dealing with Mark was a great experience that’s rarely found in the notoriously cloak-and-dagger vintage business. This t-shirt was a gift from him and I’m proud to say I’m still in touch with him today.
5. Vintage Back to the Future T-Shirt
This t-shirt took an odd journey. It was first featured in our eBay store ages ago and purchased by a gentleman who had a short foray into the eBay vintage tee biz. He never managed to sell it for the price he was asking, then eventually listed it for auction when he decided to move on. So I ended up buying it back. But the Michael J. Fox content is what’s particularly relevant to Defunkd, given my father has Parkinson’s disease. While my father deserves no direct credit for Defunkd, he deserves partial credit for me – and thus makes this tee an important entry on the list. 100% of the purchase price of this t-shirt will be donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
6. Vintage Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid T-Shirt
The other person who deserves partial credit for me is my mom. Defunkd would not exist without her. Steve Martin is one of her favorite comics and this is one of her favorite films so here’s a shout-out to her. I remember watching it with her when I was ten years old and many more times in the years that followed. We always joke around about Martin’s “cleaning woman!” line. You can thank her for the silly sense of humor that comes out in my posts from time to time.
7. Vintage Beat Street T-Shirt
I spent most of the ’80s at a school in Toronto called A.P.S. (Alternative Primary School). The alternative part meant we could call our teachers by their first names and experience a slightly different style of curriculum. One year we participated in weekly breakdancing lessons from a respected Toronto breaker then put on a performance. Not only that, we also frequented movies on field trips, like when we saw Breakin’ and Beat Street. So when I found one of these t-shirts back in 2006 (it was white based with a blue ringer) I put it in my eBay store and priced it at $284 to show it off, assuming it would never sell. Well, it quickly did sell and any subsequent ones I found never fit. Thanks to Mark of Time Travel Tees for putting me back in touch with this t-shirt.
8. Vintage Computer Whiz T-Shirt
Inspired by the 1983 movie War Games, starring Matthew Broderick, as a kid I was determined to hack into some sort of mainframe. Eventually, I got a 300-baud modem for my Commodore 64 computer; and by age 12 I was running my first online community. My BBS (Bulletin Board System) was called Weird Science. Users would direct-dial my home phone number and login, chat with the SysOp (me, the system operator), send emails, and upload/download video games – albeit very, very slowly. I ended up meeting a lifelong friend through Weird Science. Who says you can’t meet people online? My buddy used to wear a shirt that said, “computer quacker” and featured a duck on a computer and I’d wear this computer whiz t-shirt. As you can imagine we were a real hit with the ladies. P.S. no matter how big your urge, we do not recommend urinating on items powered by electricity.
9. Vintage Family Tree of Rock Tee
Where would Defunkd be without all the musicians on this t-shirt? We sold more than 4000 vintage t-shirts during our eBay heydays so you can bet we sold tees from most of the bands featured on this t-shirt. And now we’ll spend the rest of our lives wishing we had most of them back.
10. Vintage Alien 3D Chest Burster T-Shirt
This scary tee rounds out the list because it best represents the month the collective was launched, October 2011.
The launch of the Defunkd Collective is dedicated to my fiancee Katya who not only suggested the name for it but has provided mondo support.