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Screen Stars is Making Fake Vintage Tees?

The Thread

One of the most recognizable T-shirt tags of the ’80s, the Screen Stars label is synonymous with vintage Tees. The label was started by Fruit of the Loom and, as the name suggests, was intended for screen printing. The blanks were sold wholesale to print shops and became likely the most widely distributed blank of the ’80s. The label first appeared in the ’70s, and variations of the tag were produced into the early 2000s. Some of vintage’s most coveted grails are printed on Screen Stars blanks.

After learning about single stitch hems, probably the second lesson when teaching someone to identify vintage T-shirts is to look out for Screen Stars tags. This might be changing, though. Fruit of the Loom has partnered with Westside Merchandising to reproduce iconic branded designs on modern shirts made to look vintage, from the tag, to the hems and designs.

Westside Merchandising is a major player in t-shirts, managing merchandise licenses for artists, brands, athletes, and entertainment properties. They design, produce, and distribute merchandise in-house, printing tour merch for some of the world’s biggest music acts and producing apparel with licensed prints for retailers like Spencer’s, Zumiez, Urban Outfitters, PacSun, Hot Topic, The Gap, Forever 21, FashionNova, and others. This makes them an ideal collaborator for Fruit of the Loom in relaunching Screen Stars.

This is great news for retailers like Urban Outfitters looking to profit from the vintage clothing industry. One of the primary challenges for large brands entering the vintage market is scalability, so it’s no surprise they are exploring reproduction. The shirts emulate vintage designs and blanks but aren’t likely to fool seasoned dealers or collectors. The prints look like others you would find at the mall and the blanks don’t say “made in the USA.” Just keep an eye out for Screen Stars tags not made in the USA, and you’ll be fine.

The sky isn’t falling, you should still be bullish on vintage. However, this move is noteworthy, and we can glean market insights from it. Major branding teams are calling vintage collecting a luxury market they want in on. There isn’t enough readily accessible vintage to meet consumer demands, leading to reproduction. Consumers are educated enough about vintage that manufacturers are having to take increasingly greater steps to emulate vintage clothing. Appreciation for the craftsmanship and history behind vintage clothing is on the rise, and you can look for your tees to only go up in value as a result of this.

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