Wear it on Your Sleeve: T-Shirts from the Underground

For anyone who has had a love affair with a ragged band T-Shirt, that threadbare and faded rag just holding on for dear life, you are not alone.

On Friday, Future Music in Highland Park presents the book release of Ripped: T-Shirts from the Underground, an anthology of 200 vintage rock tees straight from editor Cesar Padilla's collection.

As owner of renowned vintage boutique, Cherry, Padilla is a T-shirt sommelier, a curator of the finest specimens from "after the submission of 1960's rock 'n' roll to mass popularity and before the onset of ironic consumerism." Including contributions by Thurston Moore, Betsey Johnson and Will Oldham, and an introduction by Lydia Lunch, Ripped is a cultural history of this countercultural artform.

For the Southern California-raised Padilla, his collecting compulsion started with a traumatic event. "In 1988, I went traveling to South America. When I returned, my mother had thrown away my rock T-shirt collection, documenting this misspent California youth. Since then, I have been searching for the Holy Grail."

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View West Coast Sound's "All Known Metal Shirts" or check out some of Padilla's collection after the jump.

All Images © Ripped: T-Shirts from the Underground:

Displayed in their present condition, these shirts are snap shots of "misspent" youth, cigarette-burns, pit-stains and all. After all, a shirt is never just a shirt. A tour shirt is a flag in the moon, a commemoration of territories conquered, a sign pronouncing, "I've been here." While a band shirt represents an ideology, an external display of your innermost desires, exposing the need to both stand apart and fit in. A shirt is a ticket to the club, a completion of an identity, and Padilla's collection opens the door to this exhibitionist artform and the unending desire to wear our thoughts on our sleeves.


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