The $300,00 T-shirt
October 25, 2011 9:31 AM   Subscribe

Threadless has created a t-shirt line for UNICEF in which the shirts cost the same as what's depicted on them. So this one, of a cargo flight, costs $300,000. This one, for insecticide-treated mosquito nets, might be more in your price range.
posted by me3dia (43 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Where the one with the little orange box full of cha... pennies. Only pennies. I only got pennies.
posted by griphus at 9:37 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The measles vaccine one is fetching too.
posted by of strange foe at 9:38 AM on October 25, 2011


"100% of the purchase price goes to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to support lifesaving relief efforts for children in the Horn of Africa."

Sweet, not profit but purchase price. Give to UNICEF get a shirt; im down.
posted by Felex at 9:38 AM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Obligatory rant: The horn of Africa got 100 Metric Tons Of Corn Soy Blend from UNICEF and all I got...
posted by hal9k at 9:39 AM on October 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


So this one, of a cargo flight, costs $300,000.

Aw crap, I clicked the wrong size.

May or may not be shamelessly stolen from the page.
posted by kmz at 9:42 AM on October 25, 2011


This is a very clever idea. I like it.
posted by phunniemee at 9:43 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somebody tell Brewster. I hear his baseball team needs some warm-up shirts.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:51 AM on October 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


there is a chinese mechanic down my block in shanghai laughing at that 3,700 motorbike. he just wanted to sell me one for roughly $100.

but yes, that's nitpicking. it's a great idea. congrats, sean and colleen, who I suspect did it.
posted by krautland at 9:51 AM on October 25, 2011


kmz: " May or may not be shamelessly stolen from the page."

If I was going to steal from the page it'd be the one where the person says 'who's going to spend 300,000 on a cotton t-shirt'

Because I haven't done enough commenting around here to prove I sometimes totally miss the point.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:03 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm at a loss as to why I can't add the $75K or $300K shirts to my cart right on the page. Are they all sold out?
posted by supercres at 10:05 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


$3000 for an onroad/offroad motorbike with a powerful engine that is from a trustworthy brand (and therefore sturdy and reliable) is spot on (low end, even) for the prices here in West Africa, at least. Yeah, you CAN get smaller off-brand bikes in more like the $600 price range (see: what I drive), but that's not going to get you around for very long if you need to go outside of the city, you need power to negotiate the highways and sturdiness to negotiate the muddy strings of pot holes they call rural roads.
posted by solotoro at 10:08 AM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I was going to steal from the page it'd be the one where the person says 'who's going to spend 300,000 on a cotton t-shirt'

Probably nobody, unless Bill & Melinda order a matching pair. I guess the point of that t-shirt was not so much selling it but generating some buzz.

Mission Accomplished, I presume.
posted by Skeptic at 10:08 AM on October 25, 2011


This is a very clever idea. I like it.

One of the best marketing ideas these international aid organizations ever came up with was to give people the sense that their money is going towards something definite and specific, which is far more motivating than feeling your money's just going into some large fund. For years now I've been getting a goat for Christmas — my father makes donations to World Vision for each member of the family and generally picks out the most absurd item available. If you donate money to Foster Parents Plan, you feel you're supporting one specific child, although the reality is that the money goes towards supporting programs that aid that child's community. And I wonder if maybe the money that is supposedly going towards specific items maybe isn't. Which is fine with me, as long as the donations are being used wisely and for general international aid.
posted by orange swan at 10:09 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. Donate enough money to buy someone a plain white t-shirt
2. Receive t-shirt with a picture of a t-shirt on the front
3. Donate enough money to send someone a copy of that t-shirt.
4. Call M.C. Escher. Scream "NOW WILL YOU TAKE MY CALLS?"
posted by PlusDistance at 10:14 AM on October 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


100 Metric Tons Of Corn Soy Blend = $75,000

Wow. I needed to calibrate this number against an comprehendible scale. According to the USAID fact-sheet for "corn soy blend", there are 375.7 kcal per 100g serving of this stuff, plus a sprinkling of useful vitamins and minerals. If my math is right, at 100,000 kg that works out to about 7.5¢ per serving. Or, put another way, about 40¢/day to for a 2000 calories/day adult.
posted by rh at 10:16 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


They really should have chosen a different background color. I've had my share of T-shirts from various events, and they've all had a white background, meaning they look like crap after being worn a couple of times. If the point is to get a nice T-shirt depicting your donation, the shirt ought to look, well, nice after you've spilled coffee on it once.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:17 AM on October 25, 2011


put another way, about 40¢/day to for a 2000 calories/day adult.

...but of course, this is baby food for weaning. Even so, the numbers are still tangible: a quarter will keep a baby alive for a day.
posted by rh at 10:17 AM on October 25, 2011


I think you can select a different color on the page.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 10:18 AM on October 25, 2011


Well, apparently I'm just an idiot. Please forget that I exist.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 10:19 AM on October 25, 2011


a quarter will keep a baby alive for a day

...but of course: it'll cost another $2 to get the food and staff and security to the right people at the right time. That's the hard and expensive part of famine relief.
posted by rh at 10:20 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Appears to be an extension of Wants for Sale, which is a pretty clever concept by the shirts' designers Christine & Justin Gignac. i.e. Purchase paintings of the things they want for the price those things cost.

(If you were surprised by the not-so-Threadless-y aesthetic of the UNICEF shirts but felt like a jerk mentioning it, I think this puts it in better perspective.)
posted by pokermonk at 10:20 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What do they need a motorbike for?
posted by cjorgensen at 10:30 AM on October 25, 2011


Dear Threadless.com,

You have received a Paypal payment, detailed below. We've placed a temporary hold on the funds for this transaction.

QTY 171       MENS XL T-SHIRT       $51,300,000.00
Transaction ID: Q3KDJ392JF1SR24
Buyer: R. Abramovich (Russia)

Unusual account activity has made it necessary to limit account access
until additional verification information can be collected. After 180 days, any remaining funds will be available to you for withdrawal. We've limited access to your account temporarily.

Sorry about the famine and we thank you for helping to resolve this problem.

Sincerely,
PayPal Account Review Department
posted by crapmatic at 10:32 AM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


For $300K I'd expect at least a little Bedazzling.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:33 AM on October 25, 2011


There is only one UNICEF shirt I'm wearing
posted by humanfont at 10:36 AM on October 25, 2011


I just bought someone a tentacled monster!

I think it helps carry supplies around or washes laundry or something.
posted by orme at 10:38 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What do they need a motorbike for?

A motorbike can also scout across many villages quickly and cheaply to figure out which one is in most need of a truckful of supplies or to tell residents where to expect an airdrop. If roads are impassable, a motorbike might also be the only way to get medicine and doctors to people.
posted by rh at 10:40 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am confused why I can go to the page for the measles shirt, but there is nothing on that page that will take me to a page showing the rest of the UNICEF shirts.
posted by rhizome at 10:47 AM on October 25, 2011


The homepage logo/link on the measles page takes you to the rest of them
posted by zeoslap at 11:03 AM on October 25, 2011


Motorbikes can also be used to deliver medicine.
posted by ambient2 at 11:04 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am confused why I can go to the page for the measles shirt, but there is nothing on that page that will take me to a page showing the rest of the UNICEF shirts.

I want a page taking me to a place that sells them for America, but instead of buying vaccine doses it pays to have Vinnie and Guido go kick the shit out of a anti-vac celebrity douchebag.
posted by phearlez at 11:11 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used to love Threadless, but over the last couple of years they have changed their t-shirt suppliers so the material is now incredibly poor quality and doesn't last (seriously - the worst quality t-shirts I've ever had which is particularly annoying as they used to be excellent); in the meantime they've kept their prices the same or higher indicating to me that they are more interested in profit than turning out a quality product. Charity t-shirts are great and all, but I'm going to give my money direct rather than via Threadless (who presumably hope many people will order several non-charity t-shirts at the same time).
posted by Pilly at 11:20 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Along the "missing the point" theme... Am I the only one disappointed in the designs? They're just so cartoony, bleh.
posted by maryr at 11:33 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


7 of them are sold out, including the most expensive, and are listed on the
Bring em back page. That might support the idea that some of the designs are more for talk than planned sales.
Cute idea though!
posted by Librarygeek at 12:04 PM on October 25, 2011


I like this a lot. It shows a tangible connection between the gift and the impact, without implying that the gift is a restricted fund.

The one thing I'd do differently is have at least one shirt explicitly representing human salaries. Nonprofits always have to battle the attitudes that their staff are overpaid. A shirt representing one week of a community worker's time would assert that worker's importance, while simultaneously showing that it's not much money, compared to salaries in the for-profit sector.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:29 PM on October 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


The homepage logo/link on the measles page takes you to the rest of them

Eh, possibly I'm just too nerdy, but I assume they're only there because they're the latest ones released. The real punchline of the joke (on the measles shirt page) is the tiny little graphic gallery-selector thingy up in the right hand corner below the heading.
posted by rhizome at 12:42 PM on October 25, 2011


I don't like the designs at all. They're not witty, they're not serious, they're not fun. They're just plain ugly, and it looks like no thought at all was put into them. Someone said "Hey, we're doing this thing for Unicef, make a design for these subjects!", and someone responded with, "What? More work? Blah, whatever, I'll throw something together.", and out came these terrible shirts.

I support the cause though, but it'd be better just to donate straight to Unicef. Hopefully this will at least get people talking.
posted by Malice at 1:21 PM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can I just say, this is fucking brilliant. The best thing that could ever happen to the engine of charitable donations is if it was aligned with conspicuous consumption. It would be fucking fantastic if folks viewed the more expensive shirts as a badge of pride to show up when you where it. Instead of "look how many bottles of Cristal I can afford!" being the message of your watch, how about "look what I did for Africa" as your message. Fucking. Brilliant.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:01 PM on October 25, 2011


Wow I shouldn't write comments right after a long day at work. You get the point, I hope.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:02 PM on October 25, 2011


and just when i was looking for a t-shirt with a giant syringe on it. done! take that, malaria or smallpox or whatever!
posted by sexyrobot at 4:29 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


They have an arsenal of crazy talented artists willing and waiting for opportunities to contribute to projects like this pro-bono and those are the illustrations they use? Seriously? I know charity is charity but honestly if they gave a little bit more of a shit about those shirts they'd already all be sold out.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:50 PM on October 25, 2011


PBS has trained me to expect scale in terms of donation and "thank you gift," so...how about some mugs and DVD sets with the ugly shirts?
posted by litnerd at 5:49 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Super cool idea. I'm getting one for me and my girlfriend.
posted by Flex1970 at 10:42 AM on October 26, 2011


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