This past weekend I went to Berlin to take part in the International T-Shirt Day celebrations being hosted by Spreadshirt in the city. I realise exactly how crazy that sounds, but let’s be honest, if you have a good excuse to go to Berlin, you’re going to go to Berlin, right?
I’ll spare you the holiday snaps I took of the many, many, incredible architectural and historical sites (walk in any direction in Berlin and you’ll find something interesting, it’s a great city), and we’ll focus on what I was actually there to do, report on T-Shirt Day celebrations… and be a model on the Open Runway. Oh yes my friends, on June 21st I became the world’s least professional and most clueless model.
The event was held at the Kaiserstein bar and restaurant in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin, and there was a decent-sized turnout for the event, with lots of teeple meeting and mingling, I must admit that other than Spreadshirt & laFraise (the event hosts) the only brand I recognised was Silberfischer, though the quality of tees being exhibited by the other brands was impressive. Speaking of teeple that you guys will recognise, I met Adam from Tee Junction, who had done a lot of good work promoting the lead up to t-shirt day by organising lots of competitions and getting lots of companies to have special one day coupons on T-Shirt Day. I also met Spreadshirt CEO Jana Eggers (and her husband Evan, who isn’t in the tee business, but was a great guy so he deserves a mention), who chastised me for having the audacity to wear a Design By Humans tee to the event, but I must say was very nice, how on earth she manages to be CEO and have the energy to participate in triathlons I have no idea, but then again I did consider the walk from the U-Bahn station to the event as my day’s exercise, so I’m probably not the best person to judge.
After some chatter it was time for the main event, the open runway. Despite all 60 spots for the runway being claimed on the T-Shirt Day website, there were actually 34 brands/groups represented, but with some brands showing off multiple tees with multiple models, the show was probably as long as it needed to be to ensure that people didn’t lose interest. With me going 8th people were still happy to clap, and there may have even been a small cheer when I took off my jacket and threw it over my shoulder as if we’d time-warped back to the 80s, but I would imagine that by brand 50 people would have been a bit bored even if the models were covered in fireworks. I can’t really remember that many of the brand names that were involved, so my apologies for the lack of detail to go with the captions of these photos.
As you can probably see from a lot of the photos, there were a lot of photographers and some video/TV people at the end of the runway, which made me feel rather more like a model than just some guy walking on a carpet whilst people looked at him. In short, despite having no clue what I was doing, it was damn fun. I got the feeling that everyone else had a good time too, which is exactly how it should be at an event like this, you don’t need people pulling Blue Steel at the end of the runway, or models that believe smiling and currywurst are crimes, you just need people to have fun, and I think that Spreadshirt did a good job of making sure that happened.
After the runway there was further mingling and chat, and yes, some more beer (I do have a rockstar blogger image to maintain). There were also a couple of racks of LaFraise and Spreadshirt tees up for grabs. Adam and I decided that if you were giving away free t-shirts in England that the ensuing scrum for freebies would result in arguments, fights and probably some guys turning up with a van and just taking the whole rack, but apparently things happen differently in Germany, because people actually looked over the merchandise properly before taking it, and there were even some shirts left at the end of the event… perhaps the public hadn’t quite grasped the concept of ‘free’. I had a thoroughly excellent time at T-Shirt Day ’09 in Berlin, so big thanks to the Spreadshirt and LaFraise teams for putting the whole event together and doing such a good job, specifically to Ami at Spreadshirt for helping to organise getting me there, and to Adam for saying “hey Andy, you should come to Berlin for T-Shirt Day.”
LOTS more photos in the gallery.