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How to buy band tees responsibly

My father tells me all the time that I was born in the wrong era, that I would have lived for the summers in the late 60's. I’d probably be galloping around the open fields near the festival stages, wearing my favorite band's shirt from the merch table and waving flowers in the air.

My parents didn’t meet until the 80's, so I must acquire my fill of Janis and Jimi by searching high and low for vintage T’s that sing to me, including my parents' closets. I remember the first time I tried on my mom's Blondie shirt, the worn out texture and faded print made me feel connected to a period I had missed out on and I immediately craved for more.


Luckily, times of old have been refurbished into today’s textiles and local shops. However, this ray of hope has a shady side to it. Some companies have found ways to skirt the legal aspects on their way to silk screening, leaving the artist or their estate with the task of sending in lawyers with lawsuits and court orders. 

Ram Narayanan of Prince Peter Collection - one of our go-to's for USA made, who ethically produces and legally trademarks band tees, suggested that customers inspect the shirt’s inner tags for the trademark and copyrights. “Some companies put the copyright stamp on the image itself but we prefer the tag on the inside of the shirt. Customers should always check to make sure they are buying a product that will ensure royalties get back to the band.”

You can tell a company is not respecting the band if it has adjusted the logo or image of the band itself. However, they are allowed to showcase their individualism as a clothing company by adding flowers or wording around the band’s image. 

With artists making pennies from streaming platforms and the current state of music festivals, it’s important to do your research on the companies and local stores you purchase from and make sure that they are honoring not only the image that fans crave but also the trademark and licensing that the artist request be respected.  It’s a win win for everyone involved. 

Credit...David Gahr


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