06 March 2013

This tee shirt costs $495.00

Not an ordinary tee shirt. It's designed by Giorgio Armani and sold at Neiman Marcus:
  • Trapunto-Trim Tee:
    • Knit with trapunto trim.
    • Crew neckline; short sleeves.
    • Pullover style.
    • Viscose/silk.
    • Made in Italy.
I had to look up "trapunto" (my tee shirts seem to lack it...)
Trapunto, from the Italian for "to embroider," is a method of quilting that is also called "stuffed technique." A puffy, decorative feature, trapunto utilizes at least two layers, the underside of which is slit and padded, producing a raised surface on the quilt.  The style originated in Italy before the 14th century.


  1. Save your money. Joe Boxer makes one that looks exactly the same, and you can get a 3-pack for about $18.

  2. "Looks the same" from a distance maybe. Up close all those amazing sewing techniques are probably pretty impressive. Yes, most of us would rather prioritize our money on more practical things. But it's certainly a damn fine T-shirt, even if I'll NEVER be personally willing to spend $500 on one. I feel that it represents someone taking their craft to the ultimate level and perfecting every aspect of it. From the design, to the material, to the assembly. I strive to do that with my own art, so I try to appreciate it when another artisan does the same regardless of the genre. Should no shirt ever exceed a certain level of cost/quality because of it's pedestrian nature? Where is the line to be drawn on what items/services can be enhanced?

    I guess, the point I want to make is that you can appreciate the excessive attention and craft behind luxury items, while still despising the people who are [usually] the only ones who can afford them. To me, the real irony is all of that talent is wasted on people who likely don't even appreciate or understand that level of dedication to a task. "They buy it just because it's more expensive and proves they are better than the rets of us" may be true occasionally. But, sometimes it just means it was made by the hands of master craftsman instead of an assembly line.

    Perhaps, the point of this post is exposing how it's just the designers "name recognition" that's really increasing the cost. And yeah, that could get into a grey area depending on how much expertise the designer's still putting into their work (if it's even THEIR work anymore and not some poor desperate intern).

    So I'm not surprised Joe Boxer produces something that "looks" identical- they had to steel it from somewhere. Some people create while others imitate. Should everyone get paid an imitator's salary too?

    1. Joe Boxer has been making their shirts for years, raising the question of exactly who is "steeling" from whom. All Armani has done is make the same shirt out of fancier materials, so anyone foolish - or foolishly vain - enough to shell out $500 for a t-shirt will somehow think they're getting their money's worth.

      Methinks thou dost protest too much. Feeling guilty about charging too much for your own work, perhaps?

      Oh, and you need to look up the difference between artisan and artist.

    2. So you feel urged to turn the focus on to what I do and dissect what kind of person I am?
      I just tried to point out that it's easy to dismiss things like this with a bias based on your own personal tastes and priorities. It doesn't make me a stupid person because I can appreciate why certain things may be higher in quality than others. (IMO) Artists are different than artisans primarily because an artisan likely produces things that are necessities, and art is viewed more as indulgent form of self expression. However, the 2 overlap all the time. Especially in design: industrial, graphic, apparel, architecture, etc. Even culinary arts has value placed on presentation and name recognition. People pay more for certain things if they were created by a human who has been deemed better at what they do, right?

      Since you felt the need to attack me personally, should I assume you are a person who makes judgements of things you know nothing about? Someone who can't even perceive the differences because you are unwilling or unable to even perceive them? If so, all the more reason for you to never get one- it really would not matter to you in the slightest. I'll never get one either because the differences, obvious to me as they may be, are not something I'm willing to sacrifice so much for.

      I don't get paid much for my work at all. Far less than most of my peers working at creative agencies. But, I do have clients that think very little of my work and try to push that disrespect onto my paycheck. So yes, I suppose I am sensitive to seeing people de-value work that view as elitist. And maybe this particular shirt is, I'll admit I've never see this actual item in person. But I've looked at other luxury apparel items before and can easily understand the appeal. To each his own.

    3. "Since you felt the need to attack me personally, should I assume you are a person who makes judgements of things you know nothing about?"

      No, you shouldn't. As an artist/designer myself with over 25 years of experience, I know very well of which I speak. Having worked in creative fields all my professional life, I am fully aware of the overlap between art, craftsmanship, design and manufacturing.

      "Someone who can't even perceive the differences because you are unwilling or unable to even perceive them?"

      Wrong again. I am fully aware of the differences. I was merely expressing my opinion that someone would have to be a vain fool to pay $500 for a t-shirt merely because it has some designer's name on it - a designer who likely had absolutely nothing to do with actually "designing" the shirt.

      I also have no problem with the notion of paying top dollar for a luxury item which is actually WORTH the price you pay for it. A beautifully handcrafted piece of glassware or ceramics, say, or a painting - or even something less tangible like paying a composer to create a piece of music. But paying $500 for a t-shirt made in a sweatshop in China or Bangladesh or wherever - just so you can try to impress your equally vain, boneheaded friends - is sheer preening idiocy, and I have no problem whatsoever naming it as such.

      If people are pathetic/daft/stupid enough to pay thousands of dollars for something simply because it has a well-known designer's name on it, let them. A fool and his money are soon parted anyway. As for myself, I would rather surround myself with beautiful objects created by individuals who actually think and care about what they create, as opposed to buying expensive crap churned out by someone who relies on a stable of wretchedly-paid interns (who would cut each others' throats for the chance to do it) to come up with their baubles for them.

    4. Sounds like we are in agreement more than you think. I even mentioned in my first post that this could have been the work of some poor intern in actuality. And I admitted this shirt might very well be a rip-off, simply touting a designer label. But, I don't know that for sure, since I haven't checked out the item in person. Therefore I attempted to play devil's advocate stating there was a chance this item had more to it than what can be seen in a photo.

      I also agree on what I would prefer to spend my money on. I'm not into fashion myself, and would never spend so much on a simple T shirt. But, I didn't see it this as any different than me spending a lot of money on a really nice teapot, or fossil. Yet, I'm sure somebody out there would think I was wasting my money on items like those too. That is the only reason I didn't think it was fair to single out this apparel (I admittedly know very little about) as some absurdity that had no right to exist. Different strokes right?

      I do get clothes that are on the more expensive side (nowhere close to this though). I just really like the intricate elements in the design and fit. Also, I tend to get many more years out of a $150 pair of jeans than just some denim from Ross. But, I never get anything where the "brand' is clearly visible, since I don't believe in becoming a walking advertisement after giving them my money.

      In conclusion, I don't think I'm vain, insecure, elitist, or a swindler. I was just trying to represent the other side of the story here. I'm sorry if I've seem to just come off as an asshole. I really didn't want to start an argument for lulz. I guess it's easy to become defensive when so many people assume they know everything there is behind my job, and treat me like a thief. It's actually just made me appreciate other people's professions more, even if I don't understand them. because I know there is probably way more to it than what's apparent.

  3. How does that old saw go? A fool and his money are soon parted?

    1. Actually, I think it goes: "brum-brum-brum-brum-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr WAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN NNNNNNNNNHHHH!!!!!!!!!"

  4. Thanks for the post. They live in another world, don't they?


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