It looks like the graphic t-shirts bubble may have just burst. Threadless is experiencing a slow decline in visitation, Hollisterco’s figures are not up to par and, on Thursday, Reuters reported that graphic tees performed the weakest in Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s men’s category. The strangest part is that all of this is occurring in the summer when graphic t-shirts are a hot commodity. It is doubtful that graphic custom t shirts for cheap tees are on their way out – they are, on the contrary, never more popular – but what this could mean is that they are no longer the one item that every must have. They have become that secondary item that everyone has and that, no matter how original the designs, they are still commonplace.
What appears to have really put a dent in the graphic t-shirts profit is the weak U.S. economy. We can say with some certainty that most high school kids are more concerned by paying for the gas going into their newly-acquired cars than by worrying about the new Armani Exchange graphic tee collection. Now would be a good time to start using some of the irony that has been used so effectively in graphic t-shirt design and design a tee that says something along the lines of “This awesome t-shirt or gas for my car. Guess which one I chose.”
Whatever the future of graphic t-shirts will be, one thing is clear: it will happen over the Internet. As graphic tees become increasingly mainstream, wearers of t-shirts must search for graphic t-shirts that are ever-more creative and attractive. This is creating a niche market for very elaborate designs as websites spring up that concentrate on one type of graphic t-shirt or another.