The guys at Boomslank sent me a couple shirts for review. I don’t do product reviews outside of Jtor because it’s just not something I’m comfortable in doing, but these guys have been on my mind over the past year so when they cold emailed me about it, I figured why not. Call it a delayed favor, because these are the guys I referenced to back in this post (all the way at the end).
I think I first saw their wares in the flesh at Animazement last year. They’ve been sending out some PR-type things and as always they have some pretty striking artwork. Original anime-style apparels is a tough market with a hard sell. Most people who wear that stuff tend to go for the references (which I have a mixed feeling about re: the J-List category of unlicensed clever shirts) and the official licensed goods tend to be kind of, well, boring. (Unless you are Cospa, which then you don’t make any shirts bigger than a L and would cost you $50 a pop.) But maybe that’s what nerds want.
On the other end of the spectrum we have your usual catalog of wearable memes and the stuff you find at shirt.woot.com or Threadless. It passes for either super nerdy or somehow mainstream enough for normal people, and everything in between.
From what I can tell, Boomslank is trying to marry the two.
It’s hard to say if this stuff is fashionable. I think it makes sense in my mind, but I am no trend-setter. Maybe more like a risk-insensitive trend-detector? I’m not sure. But it’s the closest you can get pixiv-style ink spoiled on your shirt short of actual pixiv-style artwork on your shirt. Think vania600’s impeccable landscapes, but toned down so your dryer won’t destroy it after one wash.
Oh, wait, there are no trains. You know what you need to do next, Boomslank guys.
And that kind of sums up my issue with Boomslank’s offerings too. On paper all the artwork you see on their store fit the design profile of stuff I would want to own and even wear. But they all lack just that little something to push it over that I’d fork out the $25-30 to buy. Maybe it needs to be more cheeky, in the case of “Flag” (which is one of the samples they sent me). It’s a nice image but not at all remarkable beyond “cool graphics tee,” at a glance. I guess that’s nice if it’s what you’re going for, but there’s more you can do in terms of the layout to showcase the clever details on it. (For example, it would be pretty neat if they sold 2 companion shirts from the angles of the two characters from the back.)
Another example, the “Carwash” one, well, could look just as cool with a bullet train, and it would… anyway. I mean, it’s a slick piece of art and a great idea as is but it lacks that one slant that makes it really stand out. Maybe if it was a retro prop aircraft with high-tech hoses attached to it? The other tee I have for review is the “Soundflow” image which is not listed on their website; it comes printed with the key graphics on an offset, where you see the anime-style girl bust-and-up image from the bottom of the shirt. The headphones are a major plus. Unfortunately given how you have to wear it properly for the full effect, I can’t really quite pull it off during the period I had to test-drive the tee (winter is…cold), so I’ll reserve my judgment on this. I might still have a pair of baggy jeans somewhere (yea it’s not quite my style). I guess I rarely have to cosplay as a homie from the 90s. In retrospect I probably should’ve shot some more photos when I first got them, whoops.
As far as the bread & butter aspect of t-shirts, these Boomslank shirts are cotton, unisex Fine Jersey short sleeves tees (I guess that’s American Apparel’s?) and they’re of good quality and comfort. It looks comfortably worn after 2 dryer cycles. I like it, it’s on the thick side but not too thick. Each of the shirts came with a postcard with the illustration and name on it, so you know what it is. I guess it’s good to note that what they offer on the online store is just a section of their total offering, such as XXL shirts for certain items (at least I can’t find it on their store). One real important thing about these shirts is that they’re really colorful and vibrant looking, so I probably won’t even recommend using a dryer if you want to really maintain the color accuracy on these. Keep them fizz free guys–always wash your printed tees inside out, etc. For a couple of these, like “Gate Keeper“, you might want to wash/dry it especially careful–it’s super colorful for something that isn’t custom made.
(Test notes: I wore the 2 shirts, each at a time (lol) for a whole day at a time, over the course of about 2 laundry cycles. Just in my routines on weekends when I’m out and about doing stuff. Of course being sub-freezing half the time makes testing the T-shirts in public rather difficult but it’s showing when I go indoors, usually. The shirts go through my usual wash routine–nothing fancy, just liquid detergent–after each use. )
I think my favorites are the two flying fish ones, although only “Pieces” is available as a shirt, where as the other, flying-with-Cenco “Blue Serengeti” is just a print. But it’s always the kind of question where you have to ask yourself, “Do I really want to wear a flying aquarium?” At least, major props to Boomslank for offering phone cases for the Samsung GS3, a welcome break from the iPhone dominated marketplace for graphic phone cases (and they have those too, and for other iProducts). It’s that kind of stuff that will be necessary to push P-shinobi’s guys over the verge of being something worth my monies.