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Out Of Print Clothing — ‘Cause Literature Is Always Stylish!

Out-of-print-lolita-tee

Out-of-print-i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings-tee

Out-of-print-catcher-in-the-rye-tee

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m as excited about the iPad (and about the power of digital media) as the next cyber junkie (I mean, I’m penning a blog, so that says it all!). But having majored in Literature (and being an avid reader with a ridiculously nerdy library), I can’t imagine growing up in an age when print publishing is practically obsolete, when e-books prevail and the idea of holding a tome in one’s hands and leafing through its pages borders on absurd. Or what about laying on a beach chair reading a novel, propping it upside down on my belly when I need to rest my tired eyes? It might seem antiquated, but I relish those moments when I take out a classic book from its designated shelf space and stare at the cover art, flipping through its yellow-tinged pages, reminiscing about how I came to spill coffee on some of the pages (or have them dry out stiffly after a close encounter with some water droplets). Personally, I doubt the day will come when I’ll do without my bookshelves and their contents — even if I do end up owning digital copies of every title on there. And apparently, I’m not the only bookworm who remains steadfast in her love of print literature in the digital age. See, childhood friend Jeff LeBlanc and Todd Lawton launched the T-shirt line Out of Print with the notion of immortalizing iconic novels and the imagery used in their respective covers.

Launched in New York in January 2010, Out of Print Clothing specializes in immortalizing the artwork that appeared in first editions of rare classic (and mainly out of print) titles — from Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
to Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Each shirt is the result of licensing deals with artist, authors, and publishers, agreements that allow LeBlanc and Lawton access to archival artwork and permission to reproduce it via their vintage-looking cotton tees.

I’m completely smitten with the “Lolita” tee pictured above. Sure, it’s partly because love Nabokov’s infamous novel right from the opening sentence, when we’re exposed to the narrator’s obsession through the clever, meticulous use of alliteration (i.e. “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul”). But I also adore the cheekiness of the typography here: the sweeping cursive “L” and the dainty roundness of the “a” and the “i.” It’s amazing how the selection of fonts manages to capture the spirit of the book’s title character, the allure of her innocence and untainted femininity. Another favorite is the equestrian illustration originally created by Michael Mitchell for the dust jacket of J.D. Salinger‘s coming-of-age tale. Whether your literary hero is Holden Caulfield or Blanche DuBois, there’s an appropriate tee to suit your reading preference.

Every Out of Print tee, then, practically serves as a walking billboard, reminding onlookers of the joys of reading — and hey, isn’t this way more stylish than those ’80s “Reading Is Fundamental” commercials?

Out Of Print Clothing “Lolita” tee, $28; Out Of Print “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” tee, $28; and Out of Print “The Catcher In The Rye” tee, $28. Visit OutOfPrintClothing.com

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