Remaking a destroyed t-shirt: Fugazi Repeater photos

I absolutely love Fugazi’s Repeater all the way through, great album. Used to listen to it a lot when I was younger. The cd booklet contained some of their best B&W photos. Going through these I came up with the idea of placing 2 square photos on a t-shirt, the guitarist and bass player turning their backs to the photographer and each other, but kind of like jamming or something like that.

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I have to say that I did print that t-shirt  first at a tees printing shop in my neighbourhood, used a plain white one. That was quite a long time ago. Well, that one didn’t survive to see much, it was thrown away after getting soaked in red wine along with some other clothes back in 2003.

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As I was really fond of it, I just had to reproduce it once again by myself. Nothing difficult there, 2 black & white photos scanned and lightly photoshoped, I used a color tee this time (should have sticked to a white one, I think it looked much better) and it was ready.

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Got this for about a decade now, it seems to be getting pretty worn down so a new reproduction might be on its way.

A stencil and iron-on transfer mix (as it turned out): Gang of Four tee

Done around 2003, this was supposed to be an all Brazilian-like baggy yellow t-shirt with a green Gang of Four stencil on it, inspired by their first few singles corner font line. I was probably also listening to Pigbag doing their Brazil nuts tune at the time.

At first, well, the t-shirt wasn’t that yellow and I didn’t have any fabrics spray paint so I used the first green one I found at home. Stencil didn’t turn out that good, spread quite a bit.

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It wasn’t after some time that I thought of printing and using each letter on top of the original stencil which was already a little worn out from washing. Darker green transfer worked great and background now-lighter spray paint looked like a photoshop shadow. Or even better.

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A simple idea for combining two different tee techniques, but do be careful when ironing on top of spray paint, use silicon sheets or something like that. This is what it looks like now, completely fainted.

First iron-on transfer attempt: Fela Kuti t-shirts

So I’m missing photos of the first stencil t-shirts I did back in 2002. They’re all gone now, used for dusting or something like that.

I remember two specifically. The first one was a simple black spray paint FVGΛZI” white tee, same as the stencil Fugazi used on their equipment. Didn’t tag it with anything else like, let’s say, the typical “This is NOT a Fugazi t-shirt” phrase. The other one was a Smiths inspired “THE QUEEN IS DEAD” green spray paint on white t-shirt, done in common stencil fonts, sort of like that sign Morrissey used to hold in 80’s concerts. Forgot that somewhere, never got it back…

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Anyway, it was 2003 when I decided to try iron-on transfer paper for the first time, bought some Pelican sheets (were pretty good actually) and a couple of Pull & Bear t-shirts and headed home. My idea was to photoshop and print a classic Fela Kuti album cover in black & white and use it on light, yet bright color t-shirts.

First attempt was a disaster. Paper got stuck on the yellow tee and I couldn’t find a way to get it off. Got thrown in the garbage bin so I could move on to the next one.

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Red one turned out pretty good. Pulled the paper up as it was still hot so I could get that matte finish instructions suggested. Had some missing parts on the corners though and decided to use remaining parts of the sheets to cover those up. After years and years it turns out that corners are still pretty black and that Fela Anikupalo Kuti name tag in the bottom right didn’t go anywhere either.

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Here’s a tip, I got that pulling the first tee out of the garbage bin… If transfer paper gets shredded as you pull it off and you have small pieces all over, slightly reheat those parts with the iron and use a knife for removal. Works great!

Photos were taken recently. This is what they look like 10 years on. Don’t wear them that often nowadays…