An Oral History of the Graphic T-Shirt

An Oral History of the Graphic T-Shirt

In the Beginning: Surf and Skate

Paul Mittleman (Stussy): In 1980, there was no such thing as “streetwear”. It was the end of punk and the rise of hip-hop, a grand time to start a DIY clothing operation between two of the greatest DIY creative scenes that youth culture had ever spawned.

Bobby Hundreds (The Hundreds): Growing up in Southern California, I’ve worn T-shirts like 99.9 percent of my life. What was big when I was a kid was surf T-shirts, Billabong, Quicksilver.

Eric Haze (HAZE): Rock and skate were the first T-shirts we got up on and started collecting as kids.

Sal Barbier (Zoo York, SLB): You had Santa Cruz, Powell Peralta, all the cool artists doing cool artwork.

Shepard Fairey (Obey): I loved the graphics that Jim Phillips did for Santa Cruz.

KAWS (Subware): I was really into [Santa Cruz’s] Rob Roskopp. This was probably around fifth, sixth grade. That was what we were [wearing].

Erick Brunetti (FUCT): That’s when I first saw graffiti on a T-shirt, when I saw Haze’s art in the Pop Shop.

Eric Haze: I think it was ’86 [when] I printed my first T-shirts. I printed three styles, including my bat logo, which was probably the first Haze graphic of that nature.

Erick Brunetti: There was Hysteric Glamour from Japan, they came out in ’84, ’85, and then there’s [Shawn] Stussy.

Tags: t-shirt, t-shirt-design, history, streetwear
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