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2006: "Songs About..." Tee

Mikhail: All-over prints were popular. We had done a few, and I don’t know where I got the idea. I just thought it would be cool to do an all-over print shirt that kind of incorporated a Big Black album cover, which most people don’t know actually came from a Japanese comic book. It just looked, to me, like it had great composition for a T-shirt, and I thought, “Instead of making this green, how about we put a sort of halftone feminine image on the shirt. I remember sifting through a ton of images, and I had to go through magazines at the time, so I could get a decent sized image. We found one and did the shirt, but then we ran into a problem. Everyone refused to print it. For one, printing all-over prints was difficult at the time. No printers we were working with really had access to the necessary equipment, so we found a printer located in Sunset Park or something like that who was willing to do it. We did a green version and he did this cool discharged version on a black shirt. That was the first shirt that we pre-sold because we didn’t have enough money to do it at the time. It was an all-over print with two different screens on each side. It was an expensive shirt to do. We had to pre-sell it to be able to do it. The orders just flooded in for the shirt.

Greg: It was one of the first pieces that defined Mishka as bigger than a streetwear brand in the sense that we had found somebody discussing it on a Steve Albini message board.

Mikhail: Well, most of them didn’t like it, obviously. Most of these people didn’t realize that Steve Albini himself had taken the art from a Japanese comic book. I remember there were a lot of people being condescending because we included the part on the shirt that is only on the CD, but not the original 12-inch. I always thought that it was really funny because it was just something that they awkwardly added to the CD. It was this poor design choice that kind of made that album cover even more iconic, and it just seemed fitting to include it on the shirt. I remember that ruffled feathers. This was a Steve Albini message board, so I’m sure you can assume what the types of dudes who spend their time on a Steve Albini message board are like. It was popular, but in streetwear, nobody was doing Big Black flips. We also did a Nation of Ulyses flip. It didn’t really sell very well, but there was a market in our audience that clearly thought this was really cool and connected to it.

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