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Inspiration — 3 months ago

20 T-Shirt Brands You Should Know in 2019

The best T-shirt brands to look out for in 2019.

 

20 might sound like a large number, but as soon as you start compiling a list like this, it becomes evident fast that it’s really not. Factor in the challenge to not repeat anyone featured in last year’s list of best T-shirt brands and that makes the situation even harder, knocking out the likes of Noah, Hidden Mangroves, AFFIX, 032c, Dime, and Better™, who have all had a very good year.

 

So here we are, having spent a month digging through the internet, flicking through rails in stores, crawling through endless rabbit holes on Instagram, we’ve finalised this year’s list of 20 T-shirt brands you should know in 2019.

 

To be clear, not all of these are specifically T-shirt brands. Some are artists who do the occasional T-shirt and have the potential to snowball into a brand in 2019 if they want to, some are publications who are taking merch to a very serious level that is set to eclipse their decades old magazine, some are brands that have been around for a long while who have injected new energy into their T-shirts of late, and some are simply brands starting where most brands start… with the humble T-shirt.

Words
Alex Powis
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Image courtesty of AKA Serial Killer

Advisory Board Crystals

Any brand that collaborates with Wikipedia is on a great path, especially when the end result looks like a child’s first acid trip explained through the use of crayons and mind maps restricted to only Lil Wayne’s Wiki page for inspiration. All of their designs seem to have a depth of inspiration that is annoyingly good and reads like a short story, which is no surprise once you learn that founders Remington Guest and Heather Haber, who came up with ABC while sharing an Uber Pool in L.A., aim to transfer the power of crystals to streetwear. That is a fantastic brand mission.

AKA Serial Killer

Presumably named after Masao Adachi’s 1969 film of the same name, AKA Serial Killer has a surreal vibe to its designs, often using text to allude to some deeper political or sociological meaning. Fitting, as its namesake did the same thing, marked as a milestone in political and experimental film. The brand’s logo stickers sum up their air of mystique to perfection – “Don’t forget that what you see isn’t all there is.”

Ashley Williams

One of Britain’s most talked about young womenswear designers, Ashley Williams’ collections often split opinions and set trends. With clear roots in the bold prints and designs of skate and surf cultures, her printed T-shirts and sweats could easily be unisex in the same way that Aries’ often are. Her work with tie-dye and neons specifically is eye catching in all the right ways.

ASSID

One of the newest brands in this year’s list, ASSID only started in 2018, but the three guys behind it have been in the game for a long time, and it shows in the execution of the designs. Their T-shirts have that tongue-in-cheek character that streetwear has been missing for so long, but is making a welcome revival of late.

Brilliant

Another new brand to feature, Brilliant has been born with a clear mission – to deliver a sustainable and aspirational brand that inspires social change. Fairtrade Certified, organic cotton, cruelty free, vegan, Bluesign system, PVC and Phthalate free, and made in California, they’re really putting the effort in where it counts. It all sounds very serious, and although their dedication to sustainability is, the attitude of their clothing isn’t. Slogans such as “Fuck the NRA” and “Save the planet kill yourself” have the DGAF, punk attitude of skate and streetwear, executed with a polished design aesthetic thanks to the talent at creative studio Catalogue.

Chinatown Market

CTM have had a great year already, but with no sign of slowing down it’s easy to predict 2019 as a very good year for this Los Angeles based brand. Big, bold designs screen printed on top of each other in vivid neon colours reminiscent of 1960s Psych Rock posters clash with more modern references like the Acid House smiley face, fashion brand logo flips, and millennial pop culture.

Dreamland Syndicate

Based between Warsaw and London, Dreamland Syndicate has its roots in self-publishing and DIY culture, collaborating with artists and musicians to release zines and cassette tapes after being bored and frustrated with the arts world. They also make really good T-shirts “referencing existential imagery mixed with counter culture ideals and punk attitude.” What more could you ask for?

Errortique

Another new one for 2018, Errortique is the work of Jessy Linton, co-founder of London’s braid and blow-dry salon KEASH. Pulling together all kinds of cultural inspirations, Errortique makes clothing for women, designed to empower. Although they’ve only put out one T-shirt design to date, in various colours, we’ve got a hunch it won’t be their last, and it’s unique enough to get them on this list. Here’s to hoping they continue with the T-shirts amongst their other clothing in 2019.

Flagstuff

Part of the new breed of brands coming out of Tokyo, Flagstuff was created in 2014 by Nobuyuki Murayama and is now making waves on a global level. Drawing inspiration from a very varied list of all the right places, including Sonic Youth, Video Girl, Patagonia, and Hook-Ups, Flagstuff is establishing itself as a cult favourite for graphic tees.

holiday®

The sketchy stylings of Holiday® feed into their playful take on streetwear, always mixed with an element of seriousness, even if it’s the simple registered trademark symbol at the end of their handwritten logo. Inspirations vary from Americana to modern workwear to internet culture, always with a healthy splash of colour and fun. Founded and designed by Nick Lenzini, former designer of Stay Broke and stylist for Brockhampton, this brand is only going to grow throughout 2019.

House33

House33 is the merchandise offspring of renowned hand-type foundry House Industries, which itself is the typography offspring of renowned Delaware-based design agency Brand Design Co. Originally launched in the early ‘00s, House33 was a collaboration between House Industries and UK streetwear/fashion legend of near-mythical status, Barnzley. It even opened it’s own store in London in 2005. Having disappeared before the ‘00s were over, House33 is now back for 2018 and set to re-establish itself throughout 2019.

La Folie 8

Max Villa aka La Folie 8 is an artist who’s turned his hand to all kinds of merch, putting his seductively pessimistic and “fuck you” attitude on lighters, hoodies, posters, T-shirts, and even a Burberry leather coat. If you resonate with his vibe (and you should), you can support his “fuck a job” motto by buying his devil-worshipping clothing and keeping him out of employment. Or to use another tagline of wisdom from one of his T-shirts… “GROW MONEY & FUCK THE SYSTEM”

MISBHV

Growing from strength to strength, MISBHV was the brainchild of Warsaw-based Natalia Maczek when she was only 19. Beginning by customising T-shirts and sweats for her mates, MISBHV has snowballed to become a fully-fledged label that showed at New York Fashion Week this year. With one foot in streetwear and one in fashion, this brand produces some of the coolest graphic T-shirts and clothing for women on the market at the moment.

Noon Goons

Southern California’s Noon Goons have a love for vintage counter culture – from original Punk and Hardcore, to the roots of skateboarding and early Jazz. With graphics ranging from collegiate and Old English typography, to collaborations with the Chet Baker estate, there’s something simple but very on-point to everything they do.

Richardson

First and foremost, Richardson is an erotica magazine founded in 1998 by stylist Andrew Richardson. Originally from London, Richardson moved to New York in 1989 to work in the fashion industry under stylist Brana Wolf and photographer Steven Meisel. Although the magazine is 20 years old, it’s only published 9 issues, but has established cult status in doing so. After collaborating with Supreme in 2003, Richardson expanded into merch, but this year saw that really take hold and the clothing line is now arguably more known than the magazine itself. Such is the world we now live in.

SCI-FI FANTASY

Sci-Fi Fantasy is the brainchild of legendary skateboarder and photographer Jerry Hsu. Clean, simple type-based graphics have a playful focus on nonsense, often just using the brand name. There’s almost nothing to it, but that’s kinda the whole point. You’ll either connect with it, or you won’t. To put it perfectly, and to use the brand’s own words, it’s “boldly going nowhere.”

Stain Shade

Another new name for 2018, Stain Shade are leading the charge for the tie-dye comeback. They’re in that wonderfully elusive early stages of a brands life – no website, no real brand description (their Instagram bio simply reads “Dye twice”) – yet they’ve already got the co-sign from LN-CC, Liam Hodges, Caliroots, Boiler Room, and Browns. That’s pretty serious since they only launched in May. Keep an eye on this one as 2019 unfolds.

Surf is Dead

Surf is dead. Long live surf. Another relatively new label from Los Angeles, Surf is Dead puts a modern spin on West Coast surf nostalgia. A nonchalant approach to how to run their brand seems fitting for a brand rooted in Cali surf, but thankfully they find the time and energy to keep putting out awesome products and collaborations.

Stray Rats

Stray Rats are a beloved favourite for many. Keeping it cool under the radar over the last 8 years, this Miami-born brand have consistently been putting out high quality goods with a calm to their approach that’s focused on building family. Something that’s often missing in today’s “gotta be an instant hit” world. It garnered them a cult following in the Miami Hardcore scene and has gone on to grow well beyond that, in-part helped by their relocation to New York, securing them collaborations with the likes of Carhartt WIP and New Balance and an enviable global stockist list.

UDLI Editions

UDLI Editions is a DIY-focused publisher of zines, artists books, and clothing. They’ve got a raw, low-fi aesthetic to everything they do, and it works. Their T-shirts look as if they’ve done their best to use all of the surface available to them, with big chest prints, back prints, and patterns or typography running down the sleeves. They also make a fair few one-of-one T-shirts that range from screen printed tie-dye, to hand painted tees. Their relaxed hands-on approach can’t be embodied better than the product description for one of their latest designs… “An edition of twenty-five with two artist’s proofs and one that has coffee spilled on it.”

Dig through our curated selection of original T-shirt designs by the world’s best DIY creatives.