Seven years ago, Dominic Johnson-Hill (pictured above) started Plastered T-Shirts to defy tourist T-shirts depicting stereotyped images of pandas and the Great Wall. He bought a 13sqm space in a quiet alleyway and did whatever it took to build his business, including going to comedy nights with a briefcase full of shirts to sell. It took five years of hard work for Plastered T-Shirts to become a household name.
Now, sales have reached an international level. Johnson describes his shirts as “playful, fun, colorful, iconic, and celebratory.” Or, more succinctly: “F*cking cool.” Designs range from fine art to Chinese imagery, just text, and works by tattoo artists. Elements include old subway tickets, retro brands, old Chinese sayings, propaganda imagery, and everyday items like liquid detergent. Plastered makes shirts for men, women, and children. All adult T-shirts cost RMB 149 and kids’ tees cost RMB 129. One bestseller is the “Magic 8” T-shirt, which features a number “8” made up of hundreds of images from the Qing Dynasty. Another bestseller is the “Na’er Liangkuai Na’er Daizhe” (哪儿凉快哪儿呆着) tee. This old Beijing saying literally translates to “Go where it’s cool,” a polite way of telling someone to get lost. One of the kids’ bestsellers is “Ping Pong Boy,” a retro-style design depicting a boy wearing split pants and playing ping pong. Plastered also carries polo shirts, hoodies, zip-ups, shoes, and accessories like mirrors, notebooks, key chains, and pins. Plastered currently has two locations; Johnson-Hill is looking for a place to open his third.
1) Daily 10am-10pm. 61 Nanluogu Xiang, Dongcheng District (6407 8425)
www.plasteredtshirts.com 东城区南锣鼓巷61号; 2) Daily 10am-6pm. Zhongyi Jie, 798 Art District, 4 Jiuxian Qiao Lu, Chaoyang District (136 7137 9896) www.plasteredtshirts.com朝阳区酒仙桥路4号798艺术区中一街
This article originally appeared on p17 of the beijingkids August 2013 issue.
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