THE INTERVIEW: Out of Print Clothing

Despite all the distractions of New York City, a good book (and a hot cup of tea) will always pull me towards my reading chair. Is it nerdy that I’ll opt out of a ticketed gala in order to suss out the issues between two main characters? Yes, it is…but it’s also more fulfilling than watching automatons kiss ass. And unless I claim my book as a fashion piece like Vivienne Tam’s Hewlett-Packard Butterfly laptop/clutch, I can’t exactly bring it with me. Or can I?

To all the book worms and ravenous readers, put your itty bitty reading lights down and applaud Out Of Print Clothing, a NY-based print shop delivering old school book covers on the only garment you can truly “dress up or dress down”: the t-shirt. Read below for a refreshing Q&A with OoP’s co-founders Jeff LeBlanc and Todd Lawton.

What’s the story behind Out of Print Clothing? How did it all begin?

If you want the long story…Out of Print began when we (OoP founders) met during elementary school in a suburb of Portland, OR. The shorter version and the real catalyst for our story is that the world of reading is changing. Paper books may be replaced by digital books faster than any of us can imagine. It made us think about what this could mean to the experience of reading as we know it. One of the things we felt we would miss is all the wonderful book art that has been our visual connection to great stories for years and years.

Which Book was the first OoP tee?

1984, which coincidentally was the year we met.

What determines if a cover will become an OoP tee? Aesthetic? Design?

A lot of things are important when we design our shirts. The story and how it relates to the world, the art, and how the art looks on the t-shirt. Covers featured in our line range from classic to curious.

Is there a most popular tee so far?

Catcher in the Rye has been popular, but there has been very good response to the entire line. We’ve had many people say that it’s hard to choose. A lot of our orders so far have been for two or more shirts.

Will OoP expand beyond tees? What are future goals for OoP?

We want to keep exciting and surprising our customers. We think that there is a lot to be said and shared about the world of literature, and we are going to build a platform for books, fashion, and art communities to talk about it.

What books do you select to send to Books for Africa?

We work with Books For Africa on that. It depends on the groups the shipments are going to. Some communities need general reading; others need reference material or textbooks.

What are your favorite books?

Both of us consider Catch 22 to be one of our all-time favorites.

Anything else you’d like to share with the world about OoP?

We have many more surprises in the future. If you want to hear about them sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter. What’s your story? Wear it proud.

Nicole Velasco

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