The horror t-shirt has become an institution. From the uber-corporate Fright-Rags and Mondo to smaller outfits like Night Channels and Super Unofficial, you have a thousand ways to drape yourself in the poster art for The Burning. We at Unwinnable are no strangers to discussing nostalgia, so our long-running partnership with 80s Tees makes perfect sense – they’ve been generously sponsoring Geek Flea for years.
Nostalgia is a tricky thing. We’ve written about that before. It can be a comforting, warming reverie, or it can be a quagmire – the first and last resort of an artist unwilling to engage with the present. Nostalgia is also unavoidable. Unwinnable is all about reflecting on where nostalgia takes us, about staying aware of how it colors the world.
This is all to say that the kind of nostalgia on offer at 80s Tees is familiar. The 80s are an endless mine of pop-cultural nostalgia; even as the 90s and the early 00s have seen revivals recently, the appeal of the 80s is deathless. The trend is now toward nostalgia for the nostalgic rendering of the 80s, the kind of polished neon-rimmed sheen you’ll find in Stranger Things or Atomic Blonde. The synthwave 80s, the Ready Player One 80s: a few signifiers of the Western pop culture from a sprawling decade that was tumultuous for the entire world, decontextualized and affixed to gleaming baubles.
I wear a lot of band shirts; I own a Jess Franco shirt. I’m not chastising anyone! But Unwinnable’s ongoing examination of nostalgia and its effects is just that: ongoing. You can’t escape nostalgia. You can only be aware of it.