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The Geek Life: RIPT and TeeFurious
By Robert T. Trate
February 15, 2012
Robert in his 3D Bumble Bee mask and Star Scream T-shirt by RIPT
© Robert Trate
The Geek Life is a weekly look at what is going on in the Geek Culture. Movies, Comics, Books, Video Games, and TV Shows encompass more than just release dates and reviews. This week the Geek Life gets RIPT and TeeFurious.
What I am about to do to you, I apologize for in advance. If you live in the blissful world of not knowing of the following then you and your wallet are in a good place. If I have either peeked your interest or have scared you enough then by all means proceed with caution. About two years ago I received a Facebook link to following image:
A friend of mine had sent me a link to TeeFury. He knew full well that I was a huge Star Wars fan and a shirt like this was not only cool but also unique. I went to the site and saw that I had only a few hours to pick up said shirt. Apparently TeeFury.com offers a shirt for only 24 hours and then it is gone, gone forever. Well I’ll be damned if I was going to miss this unique Star Wars shirt. What kind of fan would I be if I didn’t get it immediately? What sweetened the deal was that the shirt was only $10. Now I know you have ventured into the men’s department at both Wal-Mart and Target and seen shirts of this nature. The prices are usually comparable, but the design is usually pretty cookie cutter. Cookie cutter in two ways: the first being everyone from Miami to Seattle is going to have that Star Wars shirt and two: (no offense Mr. Lucas) the design is a snore. Here was the chance to have not only a piece of unique clothing and art, but more importantly to stand out from the Geek crowd. Something it was had to see for myself. However, it came with a price. .
Over the next few weeks I became addicted to TeeFury. At 11:30 pm (East Coast Time) I would check their Facebook page for tomorrow’s t-shirt. The funny part was in my circle of Geek friends I would share the shirt with them. This would clearly be a contradiction to how unique I was being by telling them how cool I thought said shirt was. My reason for this was I needed their backup in case I forgot about the TeeFury shirt or couldn’t get to a computer in time to buy one. This then created a support network and nightly exchange quickly developed.
Many of us would go to the movies and wear that week’s arrival at the same time. I didn’t feel too unique but hoped I would get my chance soon. I got the chance to step out my Geek circle as I ventured to The Last Tour to Endor at Disney World (see article). I packed only TeeFury Star Wars shirts and headed deep into Geekdom personified. The response I got was amazing. If you have ever been to Comic Con or any comic book type convention you know that we Geeks literally wear our pride on our sleeves. The t-shirt is our way of flying that Geek flag. Initially I would get a strange stare at my shirt and then the eventual hesitant conversation, “cool shirt, where did you get it?”
Now I’ll be honest with you. Part of me relished in the fact that I said it was from a site where you only had 24 hours to buy it. I felt a kind of Geek pride mixed with a Greek slap in the face as I looked down at their cookie cutter store bought Wal-Mart shirt. Another part of me felt horrible because I could see the look in their eyes, as they wanted a shirt just like mine. If anything we Geeks, the truest of the breed and not the fashionable ones, have to stick together. So I thought I would reach out and tell my larger community of Geek friends about TeeFury. However, as I would come to learn, TeeFury is not the only game in town.
Facebook is a crazy place and in a few minutes any company can have a link to their website and word of product can spread like wildfire. Whether that be a link or a share in seconds you can know about something. Again another friend sent me a link to RIPT and my daily obsession doubled. In the two (if not three) years of looking at the t-shirts on a daily basis, I have not only become a connoisseur but a snob as well; enough to say that as of late my first love, TeeFury, has gotten kind of lazy. The company itself doesn’t design the shirt but the artists they are picking from are either dull or duplicating the same design principle over and over again (see below).
I like both the takes on the ET and Rosie the Riveter, but after seeing this designed inserted with a different paring or strong female hero type it gets dull. It becomes a cookie cutter t-shirt. TeeFury, who I once thought picked great designs, has lately picked photoshopped designs that lack any real imagination, whereas in RIPT has been featuring different artists and celebrating that over and over again. Though like any kind of art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
It’s a dangerous path that I have put you on. One where it will let your Geek light shine but also tap your wallet out on what could be a daily obsession. With multiple cons coming up for the year its time to suit up and try something different outside of the standard superhero/ movie/ studio endorsed t-shirt. For your one stop Geek T-shirt shopping, check Tee Magnet.com. It posts multiple shirts on a daily basis and provides you with direct links to each. Yet, my last word to you is that no shirt is gone forever and Redbubble is an incredible location for the shirts that once held that “24 hours only” moniker.
Robert Trate won RIPT’s instagram contest this month with his Star Scream photo in the header image above. The contest goes all February. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.