The infinitely complex undertaking that threadless is taking - to provide a platform of engagement for a massive audience - fascinates me. They started with attracting people through competitions and now we have the Artist Shop to try out.
Stumbling upon a t-shirt prints shop in Tel Aviv, in the later years of the twentieth century started my journey of turning threads of inspiration into wearables. The English version of the one on the left is shown at the top, the image in the center comes from a book by Halbritter; the shirt on the right is my expression of frustration over the introduction of caps to Tetra Pak cartons ("Return the cap to the bottle!").
At the time when printed t-shirts became a prominent item in the American culture, I was a bit dismissive of people making billboards of themselves. Then, in the early nineteen nineties my brother's designs for transfer technology exposed me to the broader side of this engagement. After moving to Canada in 2002 I walked into a place that made prints on t-shirts. I was appalled to realize how expensive making one would be, maybe three times the amount it cost me in Israel. However, the idea of finding ways and venues to continue my habit of turning ideas into objects stayed.
Then, in 2010 my sister sent me an orange shirt with a lovely design of a fox. This was the first time I became aware of the company named threadless. Still, the price seemed appalling to me. But why worry, here is a venue where my ideas can join a stream of like-minded people, and possibly even be purchased around the world. My first submission was kindly rejected, making me feel like, why bother…
OK, I appreciate the way things are handled here. The concept of putting your stuff out and gathering feedback, directly and indirectly, is at the core of the design process. Moving ideas from concept to reality on the threadless platform is fun and friendly. The Artist Shop is a welcome addition to the package. I'm happy to have been able to witness its initial stages of development. It's exciting to follow a process like this (the development of an interactive, functional mechanism) and also participate in its making. Occasionally I send feedback to the threadless team. They are open to ideas and have even implemented successfully some of mine.
Sharing insights with unknown people for unguaranteed prospects is not easy for me. Every day requires a set of choices to be made: "Do I post a design? Should I send this feedback or keep it to myself? Is this going to be a t-shirt or a tote bag? How much more garbage does the world need?" An intangible sense of worth is constantly challenged. I solve this by trusting myself, trusting my own intentions. Whatever inspires me I try my best to keep alive and kicking.