Ban T-shirts: The Interview pt.2

by Andy on September 7, 2006

And now for the concluding part of HYA’s interview with ‘The Dude’ from Ban T-shirts, if you missed the first part you can find it here:

5. If the Democrats were to make major gains in the November election, and then go on to win the Presidency in 2008, would you begin making t-shirts which criticised the decisions of a Democrat administration (although admittedly you do only have 1 tee that is specifically anti-Republican)?

Many people often assume that because we are anti-Republican we are pro-Democrat. That is not the case for the reasons I gave to the previous question. However it is highly unlikely that we would make anti-Democrat T-shirts, mainly because our core audience is not going to wear them as it would make them look like right-wingers. What we WILL continue to do is make shirts that attack specific issues. If we think the Democrat administration is wrong about something we will say so, but it will always be done our way, it won’t be a case of taking sides with the Republicans, it will be dealt with from a left-wing point of view.

6. Do you view ban t-shirts as a business, or as more of a grass-roots political movement?

Ban T-shirts is a business with a political opinion as well as a reason for existing that goes beyond making money. I wouldn’t call it a grass-roots political movement but I would say that it is part of a widespread political movement that is yearning for change in society.

7. Do you ever feel limited creatively that your designs have to have a political slant?

Well, it’s interesting that you ask that because a few of our designs are non-political (we throw them in the “attitude t-shirts” section of the site!). When I first started doing designs I did a few non-political ones. I think that although the site is chiefly political in nature that people won’t mind seeing the odd non-political shirt up there.

8. Considering your business involves controversial material and opinions, do you ever receive hate mail from people that oppose your views, and have you had any reports of people feeling discriminated against due to their wearing of one of your products?

Yes, I occasionally get hate mail, although it seems to have died down a bit recently – I expect it will pick up again as we get closer to 2008. It’s all pretty much the same “you idiot, you hate America, our troops are fighting for your freedoms, blah, blah, blah”. Most customers seem to receive compliments on their shirts but inevitably they will receive the odd sneer or tut-tut from passing right-wingers. [on a side note, when I wore my Ban T-shirts ‘Fortress America‘ tee to a club on Satruday, the only American I met insisted on (physically) pointing out where he used to live, and when I told him that the tee was about the immigration debate he just told me that it take 13 hours to fly to Japan… politics is dead amongst young drunk backpackers in loud nightclubs]

9. Clearly a business needs to sell its products to be successful, do your designs ever have to be altered to make them commercially viable, or are you willing to take a hit financially in order to better represent your own beliefs?

I’ve never altered a design to make it more acceptable to anyone. There is some pretty hard-hitting stuff on the site and it’s going to stay that way. We do have some t-shirts that you could wear to your aunty’s but each issue has to be dealt with in its own way. We don’t go out of our way to be offensive but if an issue calls for harsh language then we’ll use harsh language (and imagery)!

10.Lastly, George W. Bush, great President, or the greatest President?

Wow, that’s like asking me if I prefer Coca-Cola or Pepsi… and that’s not really what you would call “freedom”, is it?

I hope that you guys enjoyed this interview as much as I did, and hopefully this Brit hasn’t made too much of a fool of himself trying to discuss American politics.

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