The recent partnership agreement between noted t-shirt customizer Threadless and The Gap has generated a lot of buzz, some goos, some critical. Threadless, as you know, is known for putting unique designs from new artists on their shirts. The critics core argument is that partnering with a successful retail giant like the Gap effectively dilutes Threadless’ exclusivity and independent message.
Those in favor, however, point out a few things. First off, Threadless’ shirts aren’t typically an exclusive item, at least not in terms of price points. The typical Threadless shirt can be had from $5 to $20 and in Chicago, they can even be purchased directly out of vending machines.
Supporters of this partnership also point out that the shirts that will be available through The Gap will have designs exclusive to The Gap, and not available through Threadless’ own website. Some of the designs currently available on The Gap’s website include a red and black “rock lobster” tee, featuring a lobster morphed into a guitar, a “pyramid scheme” offering showing a picture of an Egyptian pyramid and a cartoon word bubble demanding money, and an “I love math” t-shirt, with “love” spelled out as “< 3”.
Those in favor will also point out that this move simply makes Threadless tees available to a wider audience, and that previous corporate partnerships have not done anything to hurt Threadless’ core mission either.