I guess I’m actually way too middle-aged to be doing it, but I buy t-shirts from Threadless. Threadless is the company that’s getting all the press lately (links via Population Statistic, and, oh, here’s a link to NPR’s recent piece, too) for crowdsourcing. It’s built an online community that actually designs—and helps select the most promising designs for—the shirts. So I frequently spend free time looking at designs and ranking them on a 0-5 scale. (I’m a tough grader; currently, my average score is 1.55.) Somehow or other, it’s fun, even though I know I’m (literally) being made a capitalist tool in the process….
Anyway, a few months ago, I bought a t-shirt called Funkalicious, designed by Christopher Golebiowski. The design is retro or ironic or ironically retro, of the 80s persuasion; it shows an astronaut carrying a boom box, and there are silly, delightful primary-color echoes suggesting movement. Whenever I wear the shirt, I get comments (sometimes about the astronaut’s, er, bulge). I love the shirt.
I occasionally see someone wearing one of the bazillion different Threadless t-shirts, and that’s not surprising, given all the attention the company has received lately. On Sunday, though, while I was wearing my t-shirt, I saw someone else wearing the same Funkalicious tee. That’s a first for me. Each t-shirt is printed in limited numbers. In fact, if you see a t-shirt that you like, you better buy it quickly, particularly if you wear a medium or large. The clever tees sell out quickly. So I’m thinking that the odds of seeing someone else wearing the same Threadless t-shirt that you’re actually wearing must be pretty slim.
Whatever the odds, I felt a little bit like I’d shown up at a party wearing the hostess’s dress. [Clarification: I’ve never actually worn a party dress. Or any dress. Really.]
Except here, I was one of two people wearing the same t-shirt at a Radio Shack.