5 Things That Are Wrong with Designer T-Shirts

t-shirts, expensive clothing, designer t-shirts, rip off fashion

Left: Mary Katrantzou t-shirt, $470. Right: J.W. Anderson t-shirt, $275.

What is the world coming to when people spend $500 on a printed cotton t-shirt that is dry clean only? That’s a question I asked myself recently, when perusing some of the luxury fashion e-tailers. I love a great t-shirt, but since they require a minimum of seams and cotton jersey isn’t exactly the most expensive of fabrics, I cannot justify spending more than $100 on a t-shirt. EVER. Here is what’s wrong with these overpriced tops.

1. Most of them are tacky. Look at these designs? Why is it that a designer who makes cool clothing decides that their t-shirts need to have garish prints on them? The t-shirts above look like memorabilia from a comic book convention or the type of thing my son wears, hand me downs that I put on him when he is doing crafts and I don’t care if they get stained.

t-shirts, expensive clothing, designer t-shirts, rip off fashion

Left: Christopher Kane t-shirt, $310. Right: Givenchy t-shirt, $750.

2. They are a rip off. Cotton t-shirts never need to cost $500. Or even $200. If they are covered in embroidery, yes, I can understand the high price point. But a 100% cotton t-shirt for $750 – no. That is highway robbery.

3. These aren’t even good shapes! My favourite t-shirt now is this striped, mullet hem top I bought from a department store in Sweden with a loose, trapeze cut. The shape is fantastic, and that is why I love it. But these t-shirts aren’t even breaking ground with their shapes. If you are going to stitch together four pieces of cotton and sell them for several hundred dollars, AT LEAST make them an interesting shape!

t-shirts, expensive clothing, designer t-shirts, rip off fashion

Left: Proenza Schouler t-shirt, $250 (this looks like something you’d buy from Quicksilver for $40!) Right: more crazy expensive Givenchy, this one is $570.

4. You’d be embarrassed if anyone found out your t-shirt cost over $300. I remember once I was wearing a Darryl K (remember her?) hoody to a family event in Vancouver and someone spilt some Coke on me, and I jumped up and screamed “Be careful! This hoody is dry clean only!” I could see the glare coming from my aunts and great aunts, they were thinking “Ooooh… she’s gone off to Paris and now she comes home with expensive hoodies.” I felt like an idiot. And that was the last time I spent big bucks on a sweatshirt.

t-shirts, expensive clothing, designer t-shirts, rip off fashion

Left: a Juun. J “exclusive” t-shirt for $275. Right: Stella McCartney t-shirt, $260.

5. They dilute the brand. I’m presuming a lot of the designers make these t-shirts so that Joe Average can afford something from their label. That might not actually be a good thing. First of all, do you want Joe Average to be able to afford your brand? And secondly, do you want people walking around representing your brand with an overpriced tee? Look at what happened to Louis Vuitton when they made their entry level monogram bags accessible? It practically ruined the brand and they had to go in and “fix” it all with the very costly Core Values campaign. I understand young designers need to make ends meet, and sometimes that involves making cheaper products to get more sales. But make something that aligns with your brand, not an overpriced, tacky cotton t-shirt.

T-shirts available from Net A Porter or Ssense.

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  • jaspy

    it is insane what givenchy charges for their t-shirts. even their non-runway tees that are actually hideous cost at least $300!

  • H.T

    I’m quite surprised you didn’t include an extra section for Kanye West’s $120 t-shirt from APC (a brand that used to be cool), especially given his moronic anti-fashion and anti-luxury rants recently. Great post!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    $120 is practically cheap compared to these ones… especially since someone as cool as Kanye was involved.