The 1970’s were the Golden Era of the rock t-shirt. Everybody got into the act, from artists such as R. Crumb to every band under the sun. You could have all the Led Zeppelin albums and posters you wanted, but the t-shirt was an integral part of any rocker’s uniform.
Worn Free is a company that absolutely gets this tradition, and has added its own twist. Instead of offering up the usual run of the mill band shirts, they got a little creative. They carry the tees that were actually worn by the artist.
It is a subtle, brilliant idea. Everyone has seen the iconic John Lennon picture of him wearing a shirt with old-school block lettering reading “Working Class Hero.” Worn Free carries an exact replica, authorized by the Lennon estate.
The company doesn't restrict itself to the Classic Rock era. A more recent example is the red Olympia Beer t-shirt Kurt Cobain was photographed wearing in Paris in 1994. The great back story is the fact that although Cobain spent a lot of time in Olympia, WA, he was not really into beer at all, especially not the Olympia brand. For anyone who knew him, seeing him wear that shirt was hilarious.
I liked Worn Free’s ideas enough to send off for a shirt, and when it arrived I was really impressed. Not only do you get a high quality tee, but it comes with a “backstage pass” -- a removable tag with a picture of the artist wearing the shirt, information about the origins of the photo, and any other relevant details. Also it is actually a sticker, should you choose to peel it off and wear it like a real backstage pass.
The shirt was extremely comfortable as well. Apparently they use an old-school method of silk-screening, or however they transfer the image, because the shirt is very cozy. After receiving a cheap, uncomfortable-as-hell Obama t-shirt recently, I was pleased that someone had taken the time to think about the transfer process, and how it feels when actually worn.
All in all, Worn Free is definitely a place to check out for some pretty cool rock t-shirts. They are also available in retail outlets such as Macy's and Nordstrom, with a brand new line debuting May 15. They are certainly worth a look.