FWA The Hunt – Basic Tee’s Part 1

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It’s just a tee shirt right? The most basic item of clothing in your wardrobe, you probably own at least 20 and probably many more, so finding one which can be the standard tee for my wardrobe should be really easy, this FWA hunt should be nailed in no time at all right? Wrong, and I’ll tell you why.

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For me the humble tee shirt is the most basic element of a mans wardrobe, from the t shirt everything flows. It is your base layer, your co ordinating canvas, it can give your outfit personality, it can draw attention or deflect attention and it looks good with almost anything else you choose to wear with it. In my opinion a good basic tee should be plain, inexpensive, have a good fit, be well made and of course ethical throughout the supply chain, and it is this simple set of criteria which makes this such a ridiculously tough FWA hunt. It is unbelievably hard to find a basic fitting plain tee which is ethically sourced and produced that does not cost the best part of £100 or sometimes much more, for a plain tee I set the price which I am willing to pay at £25, just to make things even easier (not).

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Personally I own around 30 tee’s, from super nice Japanese made loopwheeled tees made by great brands to cheap souvenier tee’s bought for pennies and without much thought. The quality variation in tees in something I never appreciated until a few years ago, a good tee is truly something to be treasured whereas a low quality tee rapidly gets relegated to being sleepwear or decorating wear in my house, but does a tee have to be expensive and made in Japan to be great? Surely not. Without a doubt the nicest tees I have in quality terms are made by brands like Iron Heart and Momotaro but I also have a couple of tee’s in my collection which are big favourites of mine, neither of which were made Japan (though one was bought there), and neither of which was particularly expensive.

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The first was actually given to me as a gift by the owner of Indonesian brand Bluesville, it is made from a pima cotton blend and is dyed in natural indigo in the Indonesian Rainforest and though it does have a logo I gather that Bluesville do sell the plain tees aswell. What makes this tee so nice is that it is light and airy without being thin and cheap feeling and it retains its shape fantastically well, especially the neck opening which starts extremely tight and remains so. The natural indigo dye gives an added depth of colour, the print wears well and it simply feels like a quality product altogether. I’m going to talk to Bluesville and see what their cost of a basic tee is and would they consider a bulk order for reasons unrelated to this hunt.

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The second tee I’m referring to would not even get a mention ordinarily, it is certainly an oddity and it might have no business being mentioned here at all if it weren’t for the fact that it’s so damned comfortable. The tee I’m talking about is a cheap souvenier tee which I bought in Tokyo 5 years ago from a gift shop in Harajuku because a) I was drunk and b) The front print really amused me when I was drunk. It is made by a brand called United Athletic in China, it is heavy, soft, extremely well fitting and comfortable and holds its shape really really well. The point I’m going to labour about this tee is the comfort, I mean as in I have never tried another tee from any brand which even comes close in terms of comfort, and it is for this reason that I am going to cross my fingers, do a little research, and hope and pray that whoever makes these United Athletic tees does so in an ethical manner, because they certainly tick every other box.

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These two tees will be the first ports of call in this hunt, I have a feeling that this is not going to be as easy as I had first hoped.

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