The simultaneously flattering, depressing, and ironic feeling of someone stealing your work

by phil on Sunday Nov 11, 2007 12:55 AM

So I'm flirting with the idea of making shirts (in a serious way) and so I devoted myself today to doing market research, which meant taking a keen eye to places like Urban Outfitters and the boutiques on South Congress since that's the kind of edgy-yet-sell-out-commercialized look I'm going for. It also just so happened that Stitch, a fashion and crafts show with an emphasis on indie designers, was this weekend. So I decided to go, and there was area sponsored by Carlo Rossi where you could make your own shirts!

So I sat down and made this one:

I hung it up to dry on a rack, and I left the area to go watch the fashion show. When I returned, it was gone! Someone had definitely stolen it as I asked the people cleaning up the booth, and they said the shirts were meant to be left there for the creators to pick their work back up. And I could see that the rack where I left my shirt was still semi-full with other shirts I had placed mine with.

So I was simultaneously hit with a feeling of sadness and flattery. My shirt, my first shirt, was good enough to be stolen. At the same time, I really liked that shirt! And since the show's for indie designers, I might see my idea taken for a ride and appear in someone else's collection.

And yet, it's ironic—and this goes back to propaganda that Cory Doctorow has drilled into my head: that everything is derivative—because I can trace my steps precisely how I came to that shirt design:

October 17, 2007 - some alums and I walked into the 21c museum hotel sales office after hours (theoretically, we were breaking in), and I snapped that photo above.

November 2, 2007 - I went to Blanton's B Scene and checked out the above photo in their amazing contemporary arts collection upstairs.

November 11, 2007 - And finally, today, I was munching on a Gyro at Kismet Cafe on The Drag and saw what I think is a silhouette of Audrey Hepburn.

And after writing this, I realize just how much of a propogandist I am for Austin, TX.

And no, I'm not as much of a narcissist as my blog's self-aggrandizement makes me out to be.


Squidhelmet said on November 12, 2007 11:15 PM:

Cory Doctorow is my favorite blogger! I've tried to read his science fiction a couple of times! We should talk about him sometime! That's a great shirt! You'll have to make me one when you get rollin! We were talking about making shirts tonigh at rehearsal! All in exclamation!

Sam said on January 8, 2008 4:56 AM:

There's a new shirt store near campus called Storyville I've been meaning to check out. Maybe you can talk with the owners and license out a couple of designs to see how they sell :)

Creative Commons License