Will Screenprinted TShirts Go Out of Style?
John David Wilson
Owner of Rimshot T-Shirts

(some new content has been added since this was first published in 2018)  I know, I know.  Whenever I broach this subject with colleagues they just nod their heads and mutter things under their breath like “you’re nuts” or “chicken little”.  I will be the first to admit I do not have any scientific proof or statistics to back this claim, but i have been around the block.  Just like you can predict what will happen if you stand on a hill with a golf club held overhead during a thunderstorm, i will lay out some info here that maybe will keep you from picking up the phone and sending the guys in white jackets with handcuffs.

Here is a primer: Screenprinted TShirts started in 1942 and really got off the ground in the 60’s and has been going strong ever since.  So there is no way it will go away, right?  Can you think of any other industry or item that has disappeared or has changed for the worse?  How about the phone in your house?  What about recorded music? While we are tossing things out there, how ’bout fruits and vegetables?  For you cats that have been around a while, when was the last time you had a good cantaloupe?

So let’s get started on why i think (unless things change) Screenprinted TShirts (at least as we know it) will go out of style.

#1: Thin Garments

I lied.  I actually do have some statistics to back my claims.

In the 90’s the shirts i was printing on the most by far was the Hanes Beefy T and Gildan’s G200.  These shirts were good quality for the money and weighed in at 6.1 ounces per square yard.  They could stand many trips through a washing machine and of course, some are still being worn today.  A popular tee today, such as Next Level’s 3600, weighs in at a paltry 4.3 ounces.

Here is another fact: over 98% of the clothing worn in the good ‘ol USA is manufactured elsewhere.  I betcha you can make a good guess at why thinner garments have become the norm, and why the American consumer has rolled over and still pays full price for a thin t-shirt that fits so tight you can make out the bump of a mole.

In a nutshell, that is reason number one why Screenprinted TShirts will eventually go out of style.  The quality of the tee itself has gone downhill and the consumer will eventually wake up and move on to something else.

Screenprinted TShirts
“The reason why the clothing companies have convinced the consumer that thin garments are fashionable is so they can fit more on a barge.”
Digital Printing

#2: Going Digital

As with a lot of other manufacturing, even though it’s probably not the best idea, how we print shirts will eventually be done digitally. With a machine much like a desktop printer; spraying a thin application of ink on a tee rather than pushing traditinally pigmented ink through a screen.  This technology is already in play, and even though it is slow as all get-out it will eventually be improved and become the norm.  In a lot of ways it is better: much more finer detail can be captured, unlimited color, set-up fees will be cheaper, etc.  But there are 2 reasons why this will make Screenprinted TShirts go out of style:  The imprint will wash out and colors lose their vibrancy due to a thin application and more importantly, it allows people who are not creative to make the designs.  So, much like the crap being pumped out by companies like Custom Ink, where somebody’s 8 tear old nephew did the art, the market will be flooded by substandard product – then the consumer will eventually move on to the next thing.  Think i am crazy?  When was the last time you were so excited about a band’s release you went and bought the CD?

#3: Thin Prints

This kind of goes hand in hand with thin garments.  You can’t print wash-resistant, vividly colored inks on a thin garment because then the traditional print starts to feel out of place, like a transfer or a patch.  So we end up with by far the longest running trend in Screenprinted TShirts history: the washed out, distressed look as discussed in this previous blog post.  And you know what happens to trends- especially ones that have been around for 20 years.  The consumer gets tired of it and looks for something else.  Don’t get me wrong, i think there will still be decorated garments, but screen printing will just go out of style.

Screenprinted TShirts

All right, so the big clothing providers have already convinced the consumer that a porly printed, washed out print on a super thin garment is fashionable.  What’s next?  Well, the obvious: print even less ink!  Right now in the stores you will see designs that are extremely small with very thin fonts.  Don’t get me wrong, it can be a cool thing if done discretely.  But if that is the trend, it will be just one more reason why the traditional imprinted tee will go away.  People will tire of designs where you will have to pull out a magnifying glass to see the content.  It’s hilarious how even businesses get pulled into this garbage.  You will see the company’s logo printed 1.5 inches across underneath the tag on the back of a tee.  It’s like renting space on a highway sign and making your ad 12 inches across.

Prediction: (and of this post’s revision and it is already begun)  The next way to cut production costs and still sell a tee for a premium cost is to just plain have less material.  They have already gotten about as thin as they can go, so now the direction will be less coverage.  Tight fitting tank tops for the men, low cut belly tees for the ladies.  This may sound cold, but since the population of the USA has never been less obese, it will be the fat people club (which i am a long time member) that will drive the clothing market in a different direction.

So what efforts am I making to do my part and to keep Screenprinted TShirts around forever? (or at least until i retire, LOL)  Here at Rimshot TShirts we keep our designs relevant, but do not follow the bad trends kept in place by the big box stores.  I always encourage my customers to buy high quality garments and insist on nothing but high quality prints.  If a tee falls apart after the 10th wash that reflects on ME,  Need an order printed well?  Want a design that stands out from the crowd because it is not cookie-cutter clipart cow dung? (Harsh, i know, but i am passionate about this) Please see my contact info below.  Let’s go for greatness!
Screenprinted TShirts
“Give me a shot!  Provide me an oppurtunity to show you why i have a bevy of loyal clients that have been doing business with me since 1994.”


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John David Wilson

1529 Tuley St.

Cedar Hill, TX 75104

Phone: 214-543-7137

Email: john@rimshotgraphix.com

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