While I wouldn’t go so far as to call it iFashion, Apple has gotten into the rag biz, and naturally for the iconic/cultish company, they’ve started a new collecting frenzy – this time for their T-shirts. For those in the know, it’s old news that every time a new Apple store opens, the first 1,000 people to show up get a commemorative T-shirt with that store’s name on it.


The latest tee to add to the obsessive collector’s trophy case? The Grand Central Apple store, which opened on Dec. 9 (check out my coverage of its design here), making it NYC’s fifth.


The black shirts have white lettering, but instead of Apple’s usual typeface, the newest shirts take their design influence from the "big board" at Grand Central, where the train destination and tracks are displayed (they used to be manual, but now they are electronic, though the "look" is essentially the same) above the old-style ticket counters.


The new store tees aren’t the only ones that Apple obsessives collect — the various T-shirts that employees wear, which are designed in California by the same team that creates Apple’s distinctive packaging — are also wanted. While employees are given new T-shirts on a regular basis (up to a dozen a year), they are prohibited from giving them away or selling them, or wearing them when not at work. While some workers take this seriously, others aren’t necessarily following the rules; old T-shirts, some in their original packaging, some worn, have fallen into collectors’ hands (via eBay and other sources) and like all things Apple, there are those who want the complete set — or just specific shirts that happen to be more covetable than others. Apparently, there’s a "Star Trek" shirt that’s particularly wanted, since it’s most like Steve Jobs' well-known black turtlenecks. 


According to The Wall Street Journal, "The employee shirts have evolved, making them flashbacks on Apple's evolving brand. Over the years, digs at Microsoft Corp. printed on the tees — "Go beyond Vista … It's time to get a Mac" and "For a PC user it's not a gift. It's an intervention." — have given way to simpler wording such as "Say hello to iPhone" at the phone's 2007 launch."


It would be great if these T-shirts were organic cotton and American made (some are American Apparel, some are Hanes, and newer ones simply say "Made in Vietnam"), but like Apple's products, are less green than the company could be. But whatever they're made of, there will be company fans who will collect them, that's for sure. 

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

The cult of the (Apple) tee
Some people just can’t get enough of the computer company’s branded stuff.