In this review, I’ll look at the quality of ShirtStak‘s production and shipping as I chart my quest for ethical subscription models.
I don’t have a bumper sticker that says, “My other blog is a geek blog”, because I don’t have a car to attach the bumper. I don’t have a car because, in part, I spend my money on games, dice and running a geeky blog.
As a direct result, I spend much time on geeky fashion sites and have long been stalking t-shirt subscription options.
There are two reasons why I’m tempted by a t-shirt subscription, and the first is cost. The economics allow clever wheeling and dealing, more efficient logistics and scale. I observe that t-shirts from these programs are generally better quality and cheaper than from traditional retailers.
They’re less risky than trying an untested boutique that turns out to be a DropShip importing via a slow boat from a sweatshop elsewhere.
The second reason is just the geek collector in me. I’m not a fashionable bloke. But having fresh geek culture/pop culture t-shirt designs to wear on camera for Zoom or Discord, the anime film festival I hope to get to is as appealing as backing that next RPG or dice deal on Kickstarter. I don’t need it. I want it.
Ideally, I’ll get t-shirts at a sensible pace, keeping the collection fresh, conveniently and with as little disruption to my day to day life as possible.
So, what’s been the challenge? As I noted, this is a need, not a want, and I do not want to have a fresh t-shirt collection at the planet’s expense. I worry about ethics and killing the world.
ShirtStak is a t-shirt subscription company with two points of interest, and both are firmly directed at me.
The first is ethics. For every 10 t-shirts shipped, they plant a tree. Sadly, I can’t tell you whether or not a tree depends on you joining today, but it would be great to know the impact ShirtStak has in general.
Each t-shirt sold is 100% organic, and, I’m told, the ink used vegan.
I’ve heard the drama around vegan tattoo ink, but I’ll admit not knowing about other inks. It does beg the question, “Is ink vegan?”
Depends, is the answer to “Is ink vegan?”. I’ve researched a little, and most commentators agree that modern ink, generally made with a petroleum oil base, can contain glycerin from animal fat, bone chars, gelatine from hooves, and beetle shellac.
Secondly, ShirtStak is aimed squarely at geeks and gamers. They’re my people. The catalogue of t-shirt designs is likely to appeal.
My review of ShirtStak
I’ve had one t-shirt through the system, so I can’t comment on whether the standard remains as high, but the initial impressions are good.
There’s a choice every month; pick one of three t-shirts from based on what the system thinks you’ll like. Let’s not call it Tinder for t-shirts, but there is a match-making process.
Of course, let’s also acknowledge that there’s also this deliberate restriction in place so ShirtStak can deal with a known quantity of orders and optimise accordingly. I think this is less wasteful.
If you don’t make a selection, the system does for you, and a t-shirt comes in the post anyway. Importantly, if you send it back, you get a refund. It’s as simple as that.
I was expecting a t-shirt in a bag. That’s how all my clothes generally arrive these days. Plastic bags are cheaper, lighter and predictable, which is why retailers like them. I was delighted to see that ShirtStak sent me a t-shirt in a box. The card is recyclable and protects the t-shirt better.
Foolishly, I didn’t grab a copy of the t-shirt design I selected from the website, and I can’t access it now. But, and this is telling, I did find it on eBay! You can see the geeky Among Us inspired design in this blog.
The eBay find was more expensive than ShirtStak. I’m not sure who has the rights to the t-shirt design. It’s probably commercially available, but it’s not that common, it’s undoubtedly nerdy, and my ShirtStak produced one is vegan ink printed on organic cotton, so I’m happy with that.
I’ve worn and washed my Imposters, and it’s held its colour, the design as not creased or cracked. It certainly isn’t a transfer or sticker.
To try and prove this, I’ve included a photo of the t-shirt straight off the drying line. It’s crinkled as hell (someone, please invent the smart iron), but I cite that as further evidence as to why I vouch for the quality of ShirtStak.
Pleasingly, my test of ShirtStak is (relatively) guilt-free and has given me a t-shirt I adore, with a geek cred design and a quality that’ll last.
Lastly, look around for a discount. My Honey plugin activates on the site and the code TEEGEEK works.
Note: My t-shirt was supplied by ShirtStak for review.