Whether they specialize in just tees or are already doing cut & sew pieces, T-Shirts are the foreground products for any streetwear company. A standout tee can always give a brand exposure in the fashion community as the next label on the come up. But with all the new companies these days releasing new shirts left and right, it gets harder to find out which label really puts out well designed shirts on a consistent basis. A dope t-shirt should consist of at least one of these elements: a good design, a good theme if any, and a bold message if it has one.
Having a standout shirt alone doesnâ€™t necessarily mean the label or the tee is good either. In the end, a shirt will just be a shirt, but for those who are true enthusiasts of the T-Shirt game, a shirt can be so much more. A tee can tell a story, it can display a work of art, it can bring people together, and it can even define a certain moment in someoneâ€™s life. In other words, tees do more than just cover up our upper body. They are pieces of clothing that convey certain values and meanings depending on the person looking at it or wearing it.
10. â€œMen Are the New Womenâ€ â€“ Married to the Mob
Married to the Mob serves up a dose of Reality Check for their â€œMen are the New Womenâ€ shirt. Now donâ€™t get offended so quickly fellas. Letâ€™s think this through, because not all men belong in this category. As Leah would put it, â€œthese days, men act like bitches.â€ Calling out men for not having nuts is a bold statement, but if you look carefully in society today, men are capable of being bigger drama queens than women, and that’s the sad truth.
Available at: http://www.caliroots.com
9. â€œDirty Warholâ€ â€“ Rocksmith
One way to combine your love for pop-art and hip-hop is to own Rocksmithâ€™s tribute tee to the late great Wu member, Old Dirty Bastard. Known as the â€œDirty Warhol,â€ this Rocksmith shirt immortalizes one of the Wuâ€™s greatest in Andy Warhol fashion. Different colors are mixed and matched on nine portraits bearing ODBâ€™s face, making the design truly stand out from afar. Itâ€™s even dope enough to place in a picture frame to display as a work of art. But itâ€™s probably better if you just rock it.
Available at: http://www.oneanthem.com
8. â€œFamily Affairsâ€ â€“ Foreign Family
This tee just gets better the more you look at it. I mean from a guyâ€™s point of view, itâ€™s hard to top having a graphic shirt of an artistic version of two sexy girls in panties and thongs with tattoos making out. With all those elements combined into one shirt, this is probably as close as some of you fellas will get to actually witnessing such an act in real life. Wearing this shirt is probably the best way to keep reminding yourself about one of your greatest fantasies ever.
Available at: http://www.foreignfamily.com
7. â€œBack Like 45â€ â€“ Lemar & Dauley
You knew that a sports themed shirt was going to make the Top 10 list somehow. With all the player tribute shirts out there by other T-Shirt brands, none could really compare to how dope the Lemar & Dauley â€œBack Like 45â€ is. Once you look at the design and see the hand with the six NBA championship rings, you already feel the sense of greatness that comes with that graphic. You may not have six Championship rings like Jordan, but rocking this shirt should make you feel like a champion of wearing dope tees.
Available at: http://www.digitalgravel.com
6. â€œCrossâ€ and â€œWorshiperâ€™s Weaknessâ€ â€“ 10 Deep
The number six spot goes to 10 Deep for both their â€œCrossâ€ and â€œWorshiperâ€™s Weaknessâ€ tees. The theme for both shirts has been one of the sickest all year. The â€œCrossâ€ shirt was the first one released, giving sneaker enthusiasts a graphic of shoeboxes in cross formation they can worship. Then just recently, 10 Deep flipped the script and went antichrist sneakerhead style with a satanic shoebox graphic for their â€œWorshiperâ€™s Weaknessâ€ drop. Much props to you if you own both, but just be aware that sneaker collecting is not a form of religion â€“ not yet at least.
Available at: http://www.ftkonline.com
5. â€œServiceâ€ â€“ Coup De Grace
Coup De Grace gave the T-Shirt loving community something very special this year. When it was first spotted on the Hundreds site, the infamous Paris Hilton shirt soon made noise across the web amongst streetwear fans as one of the must have graphic tees of 2006. Paris Hilton may not be the most likeable person on the face of the earth. But put her on a shirt committing the act of fellatio from her sex tape, and itâ€™s pretty much a gold mine. Now thatâ€™s hot!
Available at: http://www.5andadime.com
4. â€œGun Showâ€ â€“ Rogue Status
If youâ€™re not familiar with Rogue Status, then maybe youâ€™ve spotted this tee sported by Rob Dyrdek (DC skater and co-owner of Rogue Status) on the MTV show â€œRob & Big.â€ As one of the best all-over print shirts released this year, the â€œGun Showâ€ is plainly just a repeat print of different types of gun silhouettes. Everything from shotguns, to uzis, to 45â€™s, to ak-47â€™s, and even bazookas are printed on, making it one of the coolest and most sought after tees of the year.
Available at: http://www.bondinternational.co.uk
3. â€œIron Maiden Diamondâ€ â€“ Diamond Supply Co.
Forget about all the parody tees youâ€™ve seen in 2006 because this one takes the cake. The â€œDiamondâ€ tee is a take on the cover art for Iron Maidenâ€™s second album, â€œNumber of the Beast.â€ With the use of richer colors and a bandana graphic over Eddieâ€™s face, the Diamond Supply Co. hit it off big for those rock fans in the streetwear community. In fact, you didnâ€™t even need to be a fan of rock or Iron Maiden to enjoy this design. The graphic itself is one of the yearâ€™s most heralded images found on a shirt.
Available at: http://www.247skateshop.com
2. â€œCousinsâ€ â€“ 3Sixteen
Some of you might not understand the meaning of the shirt right away. But if youâ€™re clever enough, you might get the actual context that lies within the image of Sleepy and Death giving each other a pound with the words â€œCousinsâ€ print up top. Now if someone gave you a hint and said, â€œNas,â€ then youâ€™d probably recite the line right away. â€œI never sleep, cuz sleep is the cousin of death.â€ Quite clever donâ€™t you think? Itâ€™s a simple shirt that conveys a well known hip-hop lyric without it having to contain hip-hop imagery.
Available at: http://www.elmercadoonline.com
1. â€œPaisleyâ€ â€“ The Hundreds
The top spot goes to the Hundreds. First it was their Paisley hoodies that blew everyoneâ€™s minds. Then when the paisley tees followed, almost every streetwear fan went just as crazy for the tees as they did for the hoodies. They even released a purple, a green, a red, and a grey version, making it a complete family of shirts that everyone loved so much. They were also hard to come by because it always sold out so quickly. Hype or no hype, these were the best tees of 2006.
Available at: http://www.digitalgravel.com