If you’re as old as me you probably haven’t watched the movie Heavyweights since the 90s. Heavyweights featured Ben Stiller and all of my favorite iconic 90s kid actors like Kenan Thompson and Shawn Weiss (who, until this moment, I only knew as “Goldberg”). The movie is a surprisingly dark take on a teenager’s experience at a fat camp that suddenly gets sold to a crazy weight loss guru with daddy issues.
Being released in 1994 (a year I’ve personally thought might be the peak of vintage t-shirts), the movie features some serious banger tees. So let’s dig into some of the fire vintage tees this movie featured and what some of the current market values are.
Then, after the breakdown, we connected with this film’s costume designer, Kim Tillman, who kindly answered some of our dumb questions, below.
Vintage Snoop Dogg Beware of Dogg T-Shirt
In the first 30 seconds, we get a glimpse of our first banger tee: the Snoop Dogg Beware of Dogg. 1994 was peak time for West Coast hip hop so no surprise to see this one in the halls of any fictional or non-fictional high school.
Recent Comps: $350-$650
Vintage Bob Marley Balzout T-Shirt
Admittedly, this one originally stumped me. It’s got the vibe of a Mosquitohead tee and that’s Bob Marley’s face on the chest. But it turns out it’s a Balzout/Bob Marley Music Licensed print.
Current Comps: $100-$200
Vintage Liquid Blue Dragon AOP T-Shirt
Here we have the iconic Liquid Blue Dragon AOP. Not quite the shirt I’d choose to play baseball in, but the wardrobe department needed to find a good spot for this one. Keep an eye on this kid because he has the best Liquid Blue collection in all the land.
Current Comps: $150-$250
Vintage Stussy T-Shirt
Next up we have Stussy. Unfortunately, even after parsing through dozens of pages of vintage Stussy tees I haven’t been able to find this particular tee. This is the best look at the tee in the movie so if there are any other identifying markers I can’t see them. We’ll have to use similar-looking tees from the era to comp.
Current Comps: $50-$120
Vintage Fire Marshall Bill Mosquitohead T-Shirt
Now for the big guns. This is the rarest and most valuable T-shirt featured in the movie and it might be one of the rarest Mosquitoheads ever. It was rumored to have only be given to In Living Color audience members and a legit one rarely comes up for sale. Talk about the wardrobe department showing 0ff…
Current Comps: NONE, but I’d estimate 3-5k.
Vintage Liquid Blue Wizard AOP T-Shirt
The Liquid Blue Kid is back (that’s what he’s credited as) with another classic liquid blue design. We don’t get a much better shot than this, but clearly, this kid loves his LB. This design is one of the more popular and also heavily reprinted LB designs. You can’t call yourself a Liquid Blue collector without it.
Current Comps: $100-$200
Vintage Liquid Blue Mosaic Elephant T-Shirt
The final form of Liquid Blue Kid here holding his 6ft long sub high over his head as he dances around the primordial fire. It’s a 90s kid movie trope that there has to be a gluttonous pig fest somewhere in the film and for some reason, LBK thought it was a good idea to wear the tee that would most show the evidence. Hilariously, a few scenes later he’s wearing the same t-shirt and it’s cocaine white like it’s hot off the screen press.
Current Comps: $75-$150
Vintage Bob Marley Mosquitohead
And for our final tee of the night, we have this ACTUAL Bob Marley Mosquitohead. Keenan is also reppin’ Stussy on the dome, but we’ll focus on the tee. This is a classic Mosquitohead and can generally be had for a decent price relative to the general Mosquitohead market.
Current Comps $350-$450
And those are 8 of the dopest vintage tees of the movie Heavyweights – worth approximately $5000 in today’s market.
Q&A With Kim Tillman, Heavyweights Costume Designer
Heavyweights was packed full of awesome tees, what was the clearance process like with so many tees in the movie?
We made all of the Camp T-shirts and Perkis power clothing. Since we designed those logos those were our “property”. It was a Disney film, so all Clearance went through Disney. We were also given some sports clothing to use like Adidas. That was also different in the 90’s. Now you need to go through a lot of steps to use logos.
Where did you get the Fire Marshall Bill tee?
To the best of my recollection, because of Judd Apatow’s relationship with Jim Carrey, we were able to get and use this tee.
Mosquitohead t-shirts are collectible these days, do you remember how you decided to use several of them in the film?
I wanted to use a lot of printed T’s in the film, as they are always relevant on young people and I wanted to give the kids at Camp Hope a kind of smart, nerdy cool vibe.
When you’re deciding on t-shirts that may appear, do you purchase them off the market or work directly with the license holder?
Things have changed over the years. Now it is very difficult to use licensed materials. You have to have permission on many levels. Studios have a Clearance/ Legal division and all goes through them. It was different in the 90’s, easier. Permission from the producers was often all that was needed.
What happens to wardrobe tees like these after filming? Do you ever get to keep anything?
Most of the Costumes go to the Studio. Since Disney has a Costume Department (Now ABC Costumes) it goes into their stock after being held until the film gets released. If costumes are very special they may go into the Studios Archives. I have had a few in my collection. Over the years. I think I still may have a camp Hope….? I had a Mighty Ducks Jersey with my name on it. I have given a lot away to very lucky nieces and young friends!
Do you have any fun stories to tell about trying to get clearance for a certain shirt, that you never could?
Oh gosh, well not getting clearance is never fun! But when that happens I often make something up – often with help of the Art Department. I’d have to say it happens a lot. Usually when the Director or Actor is very attached to something and we can’t get clearance. We have to become excellent researchers/magicians /diplomats…
Have you ever done a period piece where you had to source vintage t-shirts?
Yes, and sometimes we just like to use them because they can tell the style of the character. There are a few brokers out there who can help with “cleared” T’s. Again it is a process that has to go through the Studio.
Recently I did get quite a few T’s for the 90’s portion of “The Machine”. I found a guy who lived in France but was British……and we could only talk at odd hours. Anyway he was amazing at sourcing t’s. If we couldn’t get what I wanted, he’d find something similar. There have been companies now and again who sell “cleared” art. Like “Junk Food” But it is an evolving process.
I think this is getting harder and harder. The cost of using some of the licensed products will cause the studio to steer us away. Its a tricky business!
What movie should we do next? Sound off in the comments…