I didn’t really know what to expect from the Threadless book, before the release I’d thought it was cool that they were putting something together for the 10th year, but I hadn’t paid much attention to what was going to be in the tome of ten years of Threadless dominating the ‘indie’ t-shirt landscape. Frankly, I’d expected there to be lots of pretty pictures, and the same stories trotted out as we’ve been hearing for years about their airstream office, and how ‘different’ they are from a regular company. Well, you do get that, there are lots of pictures, and and lots of stuff that we’ve heard before from Threadless about the company, but there’s a lot more than that going on here.
One of the interesting things about Threadless is how their business model has had a much wider impact on the industry than just within their company, I’m not going to exaggerate and say they’ve changed the world, but their business practises, have made a lot of people sit up and take note (they aren’t a case study at Harvard Business School for no reason), and that is reflected in the book quite a lot, with mini-essays from people outside of Threadless such as Seth Godin talking about them and how they’re different to the norm. As someone that has studied Threadless closely over the past 5 years I really enjoyed those aspects of the book, getting a fresh insight from people outside the company (that other tee companies could probably learn from). That said, it was interesting for me to read about the earlier days of Threadless, since I first heard about them in late ’04 and other than the ‘creation’ story about the Dreamless forum, there were a few years I had no knowledge of that this book fills in quite nicely.
Of course, t-shirts are a visual medium and so is this book, there are hundreds of pictures of their tees, not all of them (I presume), but all the iconic designs are included along with interviews with their designers. It’s great seeing the designs printed onto paper rather than my LCD screen, digital is great and all, but print has a certain special something about it, and since Threadless clearly haven’t cheaped out on the printing it really is a treat for the eyes.
Clearly, I’m pretty impressed by this book, I was hoping to receive something pretty that I could leaf through when I was bored, and I got that, along with something that was occasionally more thought-provoking than I hoped. If you’d like to get a copy of the book, I have most excellent news, the publishers (Harris & Wilson) have offered to give away 2 copies of the book to HYA readers. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post telling me what is your favourite Threadless design of all time, and you will be entered into the giveaway. Entries are open from now for 1 week (until Friday 22nd October), when I will pick two random entries. Please note that this competition is only open to people from the UK as it is the UK publisher offering the books to be given away.
AGAIN, THE COMPETITION IS ONLY OPEN TO PEOPLE LIVING IN THE UK