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Review: MPISA

by VitaminSteve on June 27, 2013

Photo Jun 25, 10 39 54 PM


I was very excited to receive a tshirt from MPISA the other day. MPISA is a tshirt brand dedicated to saluting the creative arts, and the people who do them. In support of this, $1 from each tee goes to support early art education, which is a great cause.

Photo Jun 25, 10 35 59 PM


I gotta say,  was impressed with the package I received in the mail. First impressions are everything, and even just the act of sending a nicely folded tshirt, with the brands logo on  sticker clasping the whole thing together, and a bag of freebies to go with it.

Photo Jun 25, 10 36 51 PM


Ten stickers, a pin, a pencil, a pen, a business card, and 10% off my next purchase coupon. A nice haul of unexpected merch. (Also, I apologize for my dirty table. I need to clean up better after breakfast).

Photo Jun 25, 10 38 54 PM


As for the shirt, I thought the design was a super interesting take on the brand logo tee. MPISA spelled out their name in the Adobe Photoshop tools associated with the M, P, I, S, and A keys on your keyboard.

Photo Jun 25, 10 39 32 PM


On the hemline of the shirt, they stitched on a tag with the brands logo. I love when brands do things like this. It’s a way for them to mark work in a classy way. Plus, this really saves the shirt from looking like one of those freebies you get at tech expos.

As for the fit, they warn on their site that “Sizes run slightly small”, and I feel that’s almost unnecessary. The shirt fits just like your standard American Apparel shirt, which I still find to be the industry’s high water mark. The shirt has no tag, so I have no idea who the manufacturer of the shirt is.

The only downside is the price. The shirt retails for $32.50, which is about $10 more than I expect to pay for a shirt with such little print and only one color. I understand that they donate a portion to charity, but maybe if they cut back on the freebies, then they could take the price of the tees down a little.

UPDATE: As of 6/28/2013, the prices of the tees are down to $26, making them a much better value, and a brand I can endorse whole-heartedly.


Review: Speakeasy Gear

by VitaminSteve on March 29, 2013

Photo Mar 29, 9 29 40 AM


I’ll admit, I was skeptical when I first saw the shirts on Speakeasy Gear’s website ( The designs looked interesting enough, but the product shots on the site weren’t the best. Though, when I finally got a shirt in my hand, I changed my mind.

Photo Mar 28, 10 35 32 PM


Speakeasy is a Maryland based brand, and it shows. The shirt they sent me is a Baltimore Orioles meets Rat Fink design called “Oh Say Can You See”. Other shirts on the site include designs based on other Baltimore based icons, like Edgar Allen Poe. Again, I wish the website had a little more backstory on the shirt’s design origins. If I wasn’t a fan of baseball or pop art, I don’t know if I would understand the design of this shirt, and I’m still curious on the designs of other shirts.

Photo Mar 28, 10 35 41 PM


I was impressed by the whole package here. The shirt’s hang tag was affixed via a button, featuring the brand’s logo, which was a nice bonus for a button hoarder like me (carefully placed on the neck seam as to not add a pointless hole to the shirt), and the design on the hang tag was nice. But the big thing here is that portions of all of their profits from their shirts are donated. For example, 15% of this shirt goes to a college radio station, WTMD out of Towson University (, and it’s always nice to see great looking shirts with a good cause behind them.

Photo Mar 28, 10 35 59 PM


The back of the shirt features a design on the lower right hand corner, with the name of the shirt. It’s a nice touch, not too overwhelming, and gives a sense that the shirt has a fully developed design. It’s not just a “cool image slapped on the front”, but a well rounded package.

As for the fit, I got a size large, and it fits exactly how I want a shirt to fit. I’d say it’s close to the standard American Apparel tee, which I feel is the high-water mark of tee. They have a custom neck tag, so I don’t know what type of shirt they are using, but I don’t feel like there is anything to worry about when it comes to placing an order, which I would highly recommend, despite their lackluster product shots on the website.



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