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Project White T-Shirt

Over 30 designers have re-interpreted the humble white t-shirt and alls designers have been curated into an online exhibition.

Charity and t-shirts have gone hand in hand so many times that we wonder whether 'yet another designer t-shirt collaboration all in the name of charity' will grab out attention. Certainly the name Project White T-shirt brings to mind other similarly spirited collaborations, what with humble white t-shirt being the perfect canvas for any designer to apply their signature. What marks Project White T-Shirt out though is the type of designers that have been chosen to partake in this project. Ritchie Chan of creative studio/agency Triple Major scoured the world looking for designers that could potentially do something genuinely interesting with a t-shirt.

The 31 names involved, include Andrea Crews, Bruno Pieters, Pelican Avenue, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Daniel Palillo and other contemporary avant-gardists that are mainly still carving out a signature for themselves and so we look to their t-shirts with curiosity. Looking at the designs that are all exhibited online, these aren't lazy efforts on the part of the designers. Chan personally ensured this was the case by visiting almost every designer to make a video of the process of each white t-shirt interpretation. Some designers have made simple shape adjustments and some have taken their tees out of a wearable context altogether. Just to cite a few of the creative endeavourts the designers have taken their tees, we have a marshamallow covered shirt from Swedish collective Doktor Doktor, a spider web cut-out tee from Kling by Kling and a Mundi t-shirt that went travelling around Iceland for six days and thus accumulating that expedition's imprints.
The rest of the Project White T-shirt story is a simple one; the t-shirts will be going on exhibition around the world and then they're up for auction and all proceeds go to Designers Against Aids. They're currently swishing around in a giant laundromat at L.A. Boutique Welcome Hunters and then they go to Space 15 Twenty Gallery.

Dazed Digital: How did you come up with the idea for Project White T-shirt?

Ritchie Chan: The idea of the project began with simple curiosity. I've always felt that the fashion industry is dominated by consumerism and monotonous designs, so I am interested in how we can revolutionize the industry or at least add something new to it. The white t-shirt is a natural icon to recreate because of its status as the most classic and basic article of clothing. We also thought that this project would be a great opportunity to contribute to charity, so we're auctioning all the pieces and donating the proceeds to Designers Against AIDS.

DD: How did you go about selecting the designers to work with as it's quite an eclectic and international list?
Ritchie Chan: Some of the designers we invited to participate often work with transformations of clothing as part of their signature style, or have a more progressive take on fashion. For example, A'N'D and Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair have always been known for their ability to bring new ideas and expand possibilities in fashion. Others have very unique takes or strong statements about fashion in their designs. For example Aftur believes in environmental clothing, Jean//Phillip cultivates a progressive approach to gender and sexuality and Daniel Palillo plays on dark humor. We were confident that all 31 designers could contribute something interesting to the project and to fashion in general.

DD: Why begin with an 'internet exhibition' as opposed to a more traditional gallery setting?
Ritchie Chan: The intention is that our website functions as a virtual gallery, complementing the traditional gallery exhibition which opens on Saturday, December 19th.  As every design is so unique, we wanted to show audiences not only the creation itself, but the creative process behind each piece through video interviews with the designers. That way people can really understand the designers' inspirations as well as the influence of their surroundings on their designs, as if the designers are really talking to you through the videos. At the same time a traditional exhibition tour will take place in galleries and stores around the world so that people have the chance to see the designs in person.

DD: How will this project develop over the next few months?
Ritchie Chan: Project White T-Shirt will begin a global exhibition tour on December 19th at Welcome Hunters in Los Angeles. The more people know about the project, the more we can help Designers Against AIDS, so after Welcome Hunters the pieces will exhibit in different galleries and stores around the world including Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood and Gallery de Vie in Hong Kong. In keeping with the innovative spirit of Project White T-Shirt, each exhibition involves a creative installation as well. At the upcoming Welcome Hunters exhibition, we're turning the space into a laundromat!