Band tees never seem to go out of style among the masses, yet no band has quite seemed to capture their own signature style like the Grateful Dead.
PHOTO SOURCE FROM MTV.CO.UK
What makes their shirts so special is there has never a set format for how the shirts were supposed to look. Many of the tees feature brightly colored tie-dye designs but can vary wildly past that. Common imagery found on these shirts include the bands signature “Deadhead” skull logo, rainbow colored psychedelic bears, and countless skeletons.
Though tie-dye patterns had been popularized much earlier in time, The Grateful Dead’s spin on these eye-popping shirts saw the peak of their popularity through the 80’s, and 90’s when the band constantly toured around the world. Every event The Grateful Dead would perform at, they would have a new design made, often having art relating to where they were in the world. With the death of the band’s front man Jerry Garcia in 1995, the Deadhead movement seemed to be ending. It wasn’t until 2015 when the Grateful Dead decided to reunite as “Dead & Company” with new members including singer-songwriter, John Mayer joining them to play the bands classics. Dead and Companies emergence slowly but surely found itself creating a new generation of deadheads. This lead to their vintage shirts being sought after by countless fans new and old.
PHOTO SOURCE PINTEREST.COM
PHOTO SOURCE UPSCALEHYPE.COM
Today, The Grateful Dead’s vintage tees can be found all over the internet being traded and sold. Some shirts having a price tag of over $200. Many of the shirts feature faded designs, holes, and stains. Due to the psychedelic designs and hefty price tag, these shirts have found new popularity in the eyes of celebrities. The shirts have been spotted on anyone from seth rogan to the rap trio Migos. Some artists, such as the Flatbush Zombies, have gone as far as to emulate the grateful dead’s shirts by making their own custom tie dye merch.
A problem many have found when searching for their own Grateful Dead t-shirt is they can often only be found in size L or XL. Many of the manufacturers of these shirts back then either produced a small amount of these sizes or opted to not produce these sizes completely. The shirts were mainly sold through magazine ads where the only sizes advertised were L and XL. However, some manufacturers used lower quality materials than others, causing many shirts to shrink almost full sizes down. Due to this, many who sell the shirts online will often provide measurements of the shirt along with the size to ensure the shirt you buy will fit.
PHOTO SOURCE GRAILED.COM
PHOTO SOURCE GETTY IMAGES
Good websites online to find some Grateful Dead shirts:
- Liquidblue.com (They have remakes of classic shirt designs in all sizes! Great if you want the look without breaking the bank)
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