Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Last fall, Racked produced a video about our editors’ favorite T-shirts. I did not participate in this video, because at the time I did not believe T-shirts are good, much less have a favorite one. In my ignorant opinion, at their best, T-shirts could be fine. Just fine.
That was until, after doing some research ironically for an article about crappy T-shirts, I found the very first good T-shirt. It is a Gildan brand men’s white short-sleeved T-shirt screen-printed with Leonardo da Vinci’s 1489 painting “The Lady with an Ermine.”
Now, before I’m accused of having some weird fetish for unusual weasels, I must first admit that it is not so much the specific painting that pushed me to to pay $14.99 for what is essentially a $2 T-shirt. It was the thought of this one eBay salesperson, “Donchale,” based in Ridgewood, New Jersey, who has devoted their life to screen-printing canonical works of art onto $2 T-shirts.
A quick scroll through Donchale’s current 5,778 items for sale will reveal T-shirts with Frida Kahlo’s self portraits, Kandinsky’s abstract paintings, Caravaggio’s “Boy with a Basket of Fruit,” Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” and the increasingly relevant “American Gothic.” Also, some T-shirts with the logo of the Atlanta Falcons.
But anyway, the beauty of these art shirts is that they kind of look like Supreme, but aren’t. Your money isn’t going to some big fast-fashion brand cashing in on arbitrary definitions of cool. It’s going to mysterious eBay seller Donchale in New Jersey.