If the closet of your childhood home is still filled with your old clothes, do yourself a favor and raid that shit. Because, as this New Yorker piece makes clear, the fashion industry, as was inevitable, is now turning thrifting into a million-dollar industry. Haley Mlotek’s article, “The Ephemeral Appeal Of The Four-Figure Vintage T-shirt” centers around Brian Procell, who sells vintage T-shirts featuring the likes of the Notorious B.I.G., Foxy Brown, Puff Daddy, and Aphex Twin for literally thousands of dollars.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because Justin Bieber and Marilyn Manson’s recent spat was at least tangentially related to Bieber’s repurposing of an old Manson T-shirt featuring the phrase “Bigger Than Satan … Bieber.” It sold for $195 at luxury retailer Barneys.
“This T-shirt is a vintage, one-of-a-kind item,” read the tags inside Procell’s shirts. “Any wear, flaws, and age is indicative of its vintage quality and not a defect.” So, you know, you’re buying used clothes for $1,500.
Obviously, however, there’s a nostalgia value here. Mlotek points out the “emotional touchstone” that Biggie shirts inspire, and Procell points out that people will pay big money for shirts that preceded his murder.
“Those are all pre-assassination,” he said. “Very difficult to come across, because when people think of vintage Biggie shirts they’re thinking memorial shirts. Pre-death Biggie shirts, that’s some holy-grail shit.” Procell had found one of the B.I.G. shirts in Tokyo several years ago, when he happened upon a former secondhand-clothing importer who was cleaning out his garage. He paid fifty dollars for the shirt. When asked what its current retail price was, Procell demurred, before telling me that it would be the equivalent of “a tax return.” For what income bracket was unclear; he clarified that he meant he was selling it for a minimum of four figures. “And not just to anyone,” he said. “You have to be somebody who I think is worthy. I want them to know how special it is.”
If your closet is lacking in Puff Daddy shirts, fear not. Just stock up on Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran shirts now; one day, they’ll apparently make you a fortune. Check out the whole article and start planning your retirement fund today.