With what simply seems like a blink of an eye 2011 has come and gone and with it some t-shirts have been released, bought, sold and reviewed! I wanted to take some time to shine a spotlight on some brands that I have really enjoyed over 2011. I also want to take time to once again thank everyone that has followed, supported, contacted, tweeted, advertised, read or interacted in any way with IAMTHETREND this year. You guys all have been absolutely amazing and have made this the biggest year by a landslide IATT has had.
This year IATT received over 800,000 visits and over 3 million page views from over 425,000 unique visitors. On top of that IAMTHETREND TV received over 100,000 views this year! I know a lot of sites absolutely dwarf these stats, but for a blog that I run in my free time I couldn’t be more proud.
Anyways on with the list. Happy 2012!
Favorite Tee of the Year:
I have been a huge fan of UGMONK since Jeff launched the brand back in 2008 when I first laid eyes on the brand. Jeff has been able to keep his brand fresh, consistent and exciting throughout the last three years. Within that time Jeff has also mastered the art of simplicity of design and this has never been more present then his “Minimal” release earlier this year. One of the tees from that release titled “Mountains” simply featured two overlapping blue and red triangles and in my opinion showed off that sometimes the simplest ideas and form are the most beautiful, making it my favorite tee of the year.
Brand of the Year:
Greg absolutely never fails to impress with his vision, love and dedication to his brand MIles to Go. Miles to Go has been a brand that I have loved since day one, but I really feel that 2011 was the year that MTG have really started to spread the wings. From a new logo, revamped website, extremely limited edition releases, brand consistency and vision to the fact that MTG continues to improve with every release Miles to Go truly showed this year what it takes to stand out among the rest. I can’t wait to see what Greg and Miles to Go his in store for 2012.
Most Surprising Release:
Possibly the best kept secret of 2011, Kyle Crawford literally came out of nowhere to drop his new line Grave Takers. Consisting of 43 different products not only did this release completely surprise it delivered. From cut and sew pieces, prints and tees Grave Takers arrived with a nuclear explosion of awesomeness.
Most Helpful Brand:
Kyle from Sugar Steak has to be the most responsive dude I have ever met. Shoot him an email and he responds within five minutes or less! I imagine him walking around with his phone in a belt holster ready to draw on it at any moment! Anyways aside from being extremely responsive Kyle has also been extremely helpful in writing some extremely resourceful articles for indie brands including the art of pre-orders, balancing your brand and life and many others. Needless to say we owe Kyle a huge thank you for taking the time to put those articles together.
Under the Radar:
The Imaginary Zebra is honestly one of those brands that seems to fly right under the radar quietly releasing amazing tees and building a huge following. I absolutely love owner, Benson Chou’s style and he has done an amazing job crafting his brand over the years. More people really need to follow his brand.
Favorite new brands of 2011:
Jake Mize has done a great job this year of building and launching his brand Inkefx. From quality designs, photographs and a fantastic looking website Jake has done an incredible job coming out of the gate swinging this year. If you are into simple straight forward design make sure to give his line a look.
LaMuerta busted onto the scene earlier this year after a bunch of hype leading up to their release and they completely delivered. Working with some of the best illustrators in the biz such as Killer Napkins, Johnny Crap and Mr. Gauky, La Muerta have absolutely turned heads with their designs and look. They have been on pace releasing a new design every month which in turn has made following this brand very exciting.
Sometimes simple is more. When many brands are busy filling up their tees with jumbo prints, intense illustration and inks from every color in the rainbow, COLUS has been content sticking to very bold designs lacking of any color whatsoever. What started originally as only white tees with black ink has recently flipped to black tees with white ink, and personally I am loving it. I am huge fan of how Colus’ designs simply pop off the tees. With a new lower price point you definitely need a few of these tees in your closet.
Imagine getting ready for a huge craft fair/show to come out to your fan and realize that almost all of your shirt stock and show equipment was stolen from your van, in excess of $9,000. Well that is exactly what happened to David and his brand SEIBEI right before exhibiting at Renegade Craft Fair LA. When some people would throw in the towel, David decided to fight for the brand he has built and launched a Kickstarter to help raise funds to get SEIBEI back up and running. With a goal set of $9,000 to cover his lost goods David managed to raise over $30,000 and get his brand back on track. Truly one of the more inspiring tee stories this year.
Most Improved Brand:
To be perfectly honest when Capitl Clothing launched I wasn’t that impressed with them. I thought they had one solid design in their “Owl Knows All Tee” but other than that there really wasn’t too much there to grab any attention. Fast forward a few months and Capitl Clothing was able to win a photoshoot with photographer Josh Guim, launch a brand new line and launch a custom new website all of which are fantastic. You can definitely tell that Matt is taking growing his brand seriously. I look forward to see where this brand goes in 2012.
Formerly known as Vampire Fur, which to be honest wasn’t one of my favorite brand names of all time. I was a fan of some of their initial released but owner Matt Haydu really ramped up his brand with the Venus Fallen rebrand. He released his best tees to date as well as launched a fantastic looking new website.
Please Release Some New Designs Already!
It has been way too long since both of these brands have released anything new! They are both two of my favorite clothing lines and they have been keeping us waiting way too long! Let’s get on it guys.