I’ve always enjoyed creating hand painted items and I think it’s the best gift any customer can get! That’s the reason why, I’m continuing to grow my craft with the goal to become an advanced craftsman. Of course, it did take time and many failures to reach my goal of hand printing my own military inspired t-shirt.

Brand Philosophy

Before reaching my today’s level, I have done so many experiments. Years ago when I was a college student, I just wanted to design t-shirts for the fun of seeing my designs on garments. But later, thanks to 88th Co., I’ve rediscovered my deep love for craftsmanship and history. So it felt only natural to take my journal and write my brand philosophy, which is the most important thing any designer could do! Any successful brand has a solid brand philosophy that they follow no matter what! If not, you will lose yourself and your customers. It took time for me to find who I really am and what my brand is about. Now, that I have clear image, my brand philosophy came out naturally as: “88th Co. is specialized in rugged hand painted goods, inspired by military history”. Now, I hang this on my wall’s design studio to never forget it.

88th Co. First B-29 t-shirts.
2013, 88th Co. First B-29 t-shirts.

Following My Brand Philosophy

Last month, as I was on vacation, I had the time to relax and think on how to make 88th Co. better. So, I decided to look at the numbers and the quality of my items. I felt that it was time to remove all the made to order digitally printed t-shirt. Why you may ask? First, I don’t control the quality of the tees made by Printful. Second, I couldn’t customize the packages of the tees, which annoys me deeply. Third, I hate the fact that the shirts are made by a machine. There’s no soul in the shirt! Finally, the made to order shirts, don’t math my brand philosophy anymore. So it only felt right, to remove the made to order items from my store. However, I will do the removal gradually, until all my hand made t-shirts are ready.

What Do You Get with 88th Co New Tees?

You get a soft 100% cotton t-shirt that is naturally dyed.

WWII, Vintage Style USAAF, US Army Air forces,  Hand printed and weathered T-Shirt

Hand Dyeing Method

In my various research and documentation, during ww2 combat operation, military t-shirts from WW2 were never perfectly clean or white. They showed signs of sweat, elements exposure and wear. My goal is to mimic that by giving the shirt a soul! To make it even more authentic and comfortable for you, I used natural dyes such as curry powder and coffee. And for extra staining effect, I also use water based paint for fabric.
The dyeing process takes between 2 to 3 days to be completed, but the result is worth the wait.

WWII, Vintage Style USAAF, US Army Air forces,  Hand printed and weathered T-Shirt

Hand Weathering Method

Weathering is a long process that can take 1 to 2 days to finish. Each section of the shirt is carefully distressed with various type of tools such as: sand paper, paint, x-acto knifes, metal brushes, razors and bleach.

WWII, Vintage Style USAAF, US Army Air forces,  Hand printed and weathered T-Shirt

Hand Printing Method

This t-shirt is 100% hand printed. It takes a couple of hours to a day to finish the printing of one t-shirt.
To apply the paint on the shirt, I use my custom made stencils, Speedball paint and a pastel brush. Each t-shirt is unique! The stroke of the brush can’t be copied and pasted on each t-shirt. Each one has its own unique finish.
You’re getting an art piece, that no machine can reproduce.

WWII, Vintage Style USAAF, US Army Air forces,  Hand printed and weathered T-Shirt

Hand Painted Packaging Method

Packaging is the last and most important part of the design process. Since this t-shirt is all hand painted, it’s only natural to have the same method applied to its packaging.
I used a recycled paper box, that I customized to look like a used ammo box. The olive drab color is my own acrylic mix and all the weathering is done my watercolor paint.
Finally, all the tags are watercolored too (please look a the pictures). Every single detail, has a countless hours of hand work.

The price will be higher than my Printful tee ($28.99). Since the shirt is fully hand painted, it will be sold for $80, but the shipping will be on me. I ship worldwide.

Here’s a closer view of my work process in this video:

If you’re interested in buying this shirt, or have any questions, please feel free to comment or to contact me directly.

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