Glamour Kills is a clothing company based out of Manhattan, NY that was founded by Mark Capicotto, most commonly known as Marky, in 2005. This is a brand that thrives off of the youthful demographic of consumers in the music industry. Partnering with bands, such as All Time Low, to develop custom lines and create awareness through music is the main driving force behind GK’s success. When you purchase a product of theirs you aren’t just buying a shirt, you’re buying into a lifestyle.
Simply put, from a brand development standpoint, this plastisol heat transfer company and brand is about as on-point as it gets.
In an effort to keep their consumers fully immersed in the brand, GK constantly looks past clothing to develop their name even further. They release acoustic video sessions on their blog. They’ve got The Glamour Kills Tour that happens every year. They even release free music compilations as a platform to help new artists get noticed by an ever-growing consumer-base. They’re doing everything right, as far as I’m concerned. Even the models in the product photos on their online store are every day people like you and me. They’re not super models. GK makes it unbelievably easy to identify with the brand. They’ve even found a way to make their products ridiculously accessible. Having an online store is great and all, but GK has even struck up distribution deals with Zumiez, Urban Outfitters, and Tilly’s in the US and even more retail chains in the UK, Japan, and all throughout Europe and Asia. Simply put, from a brand development standpoint, this company is about as on-point as it gets. But what about their products? I went ahead and bought GK’s Social Club tee. Here’s what I think.
Whenever you browse the web or stop by a store to look for some new shirts to buy, what’s the first thing you notice? It would undeniably be the overall aesthetic and design of the shirt. The Social Club tee properly showcases how to make the most of the standard customizable areas on a shirt, when it comes down to screen-printing. Starting a mere 0.25” down from the collar, the front design runs a solid 19” down towards your waistline and sits just shy of 12” wide overall. It’s almost as if this design was created to lie perfectly across your upper body.
What about the ink used to print the design? Here’s where I was truly disappointed with this shirt. This is a 1 color standard front placement…printed with plastisol. This shirt would’ve been perfect for discharge ink. Since the design lies across the entire front, I would rather a shirt that could breath instead of one that collects sweat behind the print on a hot summer day.
Even the tag should’ve made the cut for discharge ink. It’s another 1 color print location, but instead of plastisol we got something even worse…heat transfer. I can understand that you get a more refined print result with heat transfer since there’s no ink to migrate onto surrounding fibers in the fabric. But let’s be honest, a tag doesn’t require absolute printing perfection.
So the disappointment here is with the materials used for printing. Plastisol and heat transfer will start cracking after just a few washes. The heat transfer will crack first, then the plastisol, and by wash number 25 you may not even want to wear the shirt anymore because it’s so cracked. However, I can see why they made the decision to use plastisol for the front and heat transfer for the tag. The shirt itself is a 60/40 blend – that’s 60% black cotton and 40% black polyester. Had GK decided to print with discharge inks, this shirt wouldn’t have the bright print results it does because of the black polyester. Discharge inks primarily work best with cotton. The black polyester would’ve toned down the print significantly making it look faded and dull. So taking that into consideration, the heat transfer tag now makes sense too. No one wants a plastisol tag. That would be like having someone use a yard rake to scratch a non-existent itch on your neck all day long.
So what could Glamour Kills have done differently with this shirt to make the switch to discharge ink? Choose a shirt that has white polyester instead of black polyester. White polyester helps discharge ink colors pop as if they were on a 100% cotton shirt. Then you can have a discharge print on the front and a discharge tag. Sounds like a win-win to me. A charcoal colored shirt may have been a better choice for the Social Club tee.
Let’s look past the shirt. What came with it? Glamour Kills wants your initial impression to be that they’re very thankful you’ve made the decision to buy a shirt and support their brand. So how do they do that? With free stuff of course! First three things out of the bag were a free poster, sticker, and some custom M&M’s. Not that I’ll ever use those or eat the M&M’s, but thanks anyways GK! The attempt to impress has been duly noted! Next up was a solid look book with some notable figures from the music industry. Some quick notes from the musicians themselves made for a nice little a personal touch. Last up was the shirt in a custom polybag. Custom polybags are always a solid method of presentation to a buyer.
Overall, my impression of the Social Club tee from Glamour Kills was definitely a good one. Besides the ink, I’d say I was a happy customer. You get a lot for your money if you think about everything you get with your purchase plus all of the content they offer online. I think it’s safe to say it was worth the $25.99.
I could’ve gone without the M&M’s, though. Until next time, threaders.
Be sure to check out Glamour Kills full line at www.glamourkills.com.