The Most '90s-a$$ T-Shirt Brand You've Never Heard Of
How we stumbled across the eye-popping creations of Gravity Graphics
This is HARD TO GET, a weekly newsletter about awesome stuff that’s (almost) impossible to find online.
Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. is a little-seen, much-loved 1993 coming-of-age indie film by the director Leslie Harris, about a Brooklyn girl named Chantel. It's also a trove of extremely good early-'90s NYC fashion. Leftmost in the above still is the star, Ariyan A. Johnson, who, among other impeccable outfit choices, tucked her hoodie into a belted pair of oversize stonewashed jeans for this scene. (The movie's currently streaming at the Criterion Channel.) Left entirely uncredited is a phenomenal t-shirt worn in two scenes by Chantel's friend Natete:
"PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT" written across a misshapen life preserver, encircling a nature scene. On the other side?
"EARTH GUARD"! Incredible. Watching the film a few weeks ago, we paused it to see if we could find one of these for sale online -- and snapped up the only one we saw. In the process, we discovered the subject of today's Hard to Get: Gravity Graphics, the company behind the EARTH GUARD tee and quite possibly the most '90s-a$$ t-shirt brand of the '90s.
Incredible. Their colors are consistently fantastic and the just-so awkwardness of their hand-drawn lines is deeply charming.
Based in South Carolina, the company's still active as a player in the tourist-trap t-shirt game. But their vintage creations are clearly superior to the new stuff, are right on trend and -- since nobody knows about Gravity Graphics -- available for cheap.
Right now there's a handful of Gravity Graphics tees on eBay. You can buy the lively red abstraction pictured above here; the cactus tee here; an excellent "Bike Sausalito" tee here; the octopus tee here; that sick scuba shirt here; an excellent frog-themed tee here; and several more here. They'll all look great when springtime hits -- tucked into oversize stonewashed jeans or not.