The Nerd Pocket T-shirt: Homage and Design
What’s a Nerd Pocket T-Shirt?
What is a Nerd Pocket T-shirt and why should you have one? To start with, when you wear a nerd pocket t-shirt you are not just putting on a t-shirt, you are taking on an ethos and making a political statement. Too heavy for fashion you say? Too much of a commitment? Read on dear reader, as we lead you through our design process and expose the gritty truth behind Spectra’s latest daring fashion gamble and how we came up with it: The Nerd Pcoket T-shirt.
Firstly, being a “nerd” or a “geek” isn’t something you choose, it’s something you are. The trouble is, it isn’t something which modern society rewards especially well. You might say, “But nerds rule the world now.” A sentiment we would have to wholeheartedly agree with but, it is also true that for every Mark Zuckerberg there are a million George McFly’s and, it wasn’t that long ago that nerds were one of the most maligned, put-upon and downtrodden groups in any high school. Even the word “geek” has roots in carnival sideshows where “The Geek” would be a “freak” who was tasked with biting the heads off of pigeons or chickens, nerd-haters used this word to describe their contempt for nerd-subculture for a particular reason.
The stereotype of the nerd–all pocket-protector’s, spectacles and suspenders–seems to have perished in the early nineties with the advent of the personal computer revolution which ensured that a personal computer was ensconced in every home and, with it, “computer nerds” were quickly added to the home rolodex to be summoned in emergencies when the darned things “broke down.” At once the “friendly neighborhood nerd” became ubiquitous, adopted, accepted. No more heads off of chickens for them. The geek had transcended pariah status, to become accepted and welcomed, and possibly even something of a hero for saving their neighborhood from the giddy perils of Windows 95, and giddy they were (the perils of Windows 95 I mean, not the nerds).
Since the sixties the “nerd uniform” of spectacles, plaid trousers, saddlebacks and bow-tie has steadily been evaporating, only to be seen in vintage musicals, weak cinema and television shows which lack depth. By the late eighties jeans and t-shirts were appearing as the de rigueur uniform of youth in sufficient variations of acceptable social uniform as to offer belonging and camouflage to almost everyone from every subcultural grouping. And, by this time, almost everyone had quietly started to become a bit of a nerd themselves, for fear of being left of out the rising tide of an unstoppable technological revolution.
And Then One Day…
These days, a “geek” is no longer someone who bites the heads off of chickens, but rather an enthusiast and, similarly, a nerd is just a very clever person who seems to prefer not to get out much and is, most likely, a good deal smarter than you too. A great deal has changed in our societies too; it is nerds, not jocks, leading the way forward, captaining industry and inventing new ones willy-nilly. Nerdy things like computers, once only seen in libraries and the bedrooms of the socially anxious are now ubiquitous, necessary and welcomed, as are nerds, a group we now celebrate and admire. And why not, they’ve given us everything from the iPhone to electric cars, from landing rovers on Mars to the internet. Nerds, whether you like it or not, not only run the world but are inventing it as we speak. A sentiment summed up beautifully by uber-nerd Bill Gates himself in the 1990s, “Be nice to nerds, chances are you’ll end up working for one.”
With hindsight that is a truly prophetic statement. It is as if, one magical day, “The suits” all trooped into the office and discovered, shock-shock-horror-horror that they were working for “The t-shirts & Jeans” brigade, a far more benevolent group of masters I think you’ll agree. With this changing of the guard came a change of uniform too. There’s the rather tired cliche of the recently discovered Silicon Valley genius needing to rush out to buy a suit in order to attend their first board meeting as the only clothes they own are… t-shirts and jeans. The nerd uniform it seems, grew up too from the awful stereotypes of films like Revenge of the Nerds and Grease, and it required considerably less scaffolding.
Embrace Your Inner Geek.
Being fairly nerdy and somewhat strongly geeky ourselve, here at Spectra, we know a thing or two about an unusual devotion to something like mathematics, particle physics, astronomy or… t-shirts. So proud are we of our devotion to the creation of the perfect t-shirt that we thought we’d celebrate it in the best way we know how. We dug deep, harkened back to our roots as little grommet geeks (geeks in training) and sought to bring two incredible pieces of design and personal style together: The humble pocket protector, and the equally humble t-shirt, which gave us more trouble than you can possibly imagine.
As far as we can see, the t-shirt is about as minimal a piece of design as you’ll find, along with the paper-clip, the safety match, the spoon, the q-tip and the bobby pin. It is tough to improve upon the basic t-shirt, as we like to say around the office, “There’s no such thing as a three armed t-shirt.” The pocket protector on the other hand is a thing of the past, after all, what self-respecting nerd even uses a pen or hand-held calculator any more? It was clear, the pocket-protector was an artifact from the Jurassic age of nerdom, and probably not worht considering any further although…
The Pocket is The Thing!
One of our designers latched onto the idea that it wasn’t the pocket protector per se which was nerdy, and neither was it what was in the pocket: The pens, pencils, slide-rules, calculators, inhalers, what-have-you’s; it was the pocket itself. In short, for everyone else, a pocket was a simply convenient place to put some small random item(s) for safekeeping. For nerds, the front chest pocket was a space to declare purposeful forethought, ingenuity and preparation, and more importantly–what they were prepared for. For nerds, the pocket was an altar, a flag, a symbol of their special strain of geekiness, the answer to their particular nerd riddle: The Eternal Why of the question “Why does this be-spectacled nerd think?” Consideration, is the tao of the nerd, and thinking is their why. That is, a kind of deep and unyielding thinking about things, how things are, and how they could be. If you are going to change the world, I suppose you have to start somewhere.
Once we’d figured that all out, well… then it was easy.
The perfect geek t-shirt did not have a superhero symbol on it. It did not have a computer logo. Nor did it have any clever quotes beneath pictures of dead clever people. It did not declare any affiliation to a club, group or shortwave radio relay assembly team. The perfect nerd t-shirt, had a pocket, and nothing more. For the nerd the pocket is the hippie peace sign, the gay-pride flag, the burning bra, the punk mohawk, the graffiti’d subway train, the Emo shades of grey, the moonshirer’s grin. The pocket is all-in, 100 proof, pure nerd pride right there bubba.
Nerd’s don’t do decoration. Just look at their apartments, or better, look at design-geek Johnny Ive’s Apple computers. Think about how pleasantly bland Facebook used to be before the advertisers came a-callin’. Alan Turing? Not a lot of decoration required to decode Nazi cypher-machines, no sir. NASA? Not a lot of highly ornamented rockets are there. You get the idea. For the true nerd ornamentation is a sin and one which detracts from the raw and pure function of the thingamajig, the whatyoumacallit, the macguffinmebob.
The Perfect Nerd T-shirt.
So then, the perfect nerd t-shirt is a plain t-shirt adorned with nothing but a pocket. A pocket which will never know the von Sacher-Masoch restrictions of a pocket protector, at least not in a good way. This is a post-pockets pocket. An homage-pocket. A spiritual pocket. A little, respectful nod to the history of the nerd, the smug, silent genius at the back of the class slowly dragging humanity out of the-primordial ooze one. Stinking. Logic Problem. At. A. Time. This pocket is both symbol of nerd history and testament to how far we have come, as a nerd-people. To this history we erect the nerd-pocket, a five pointer no less. A shining symbol of all that is good, righteous and savant-like about our quite, considered breed. This is no mere pocket, this is two bow-fingers mockingly raised to every sneering corridor bully who ever gave one of us a hard time, to anyone who said it couldn’t be done or, “You’re wasting your time, why not do something useful?” To you we say, “Talk to the pocket ‘cos the face ain’t listening.”
Spectratees is proud to announce the arrival of their nerd pocket t-shirt range, four stunning styles to choose from and declare your deep geekiness and nerd-pride:
Spectratees Nerd Pocket T-shirts.
The 30SPKT is our entry level nerd pocket t-shirt model, constructed from a snug tubular fabric without side-seams, making it one of the best fitting t-shirts around. Bi-blended premium yards help to wick perspiration away from the body whilst the added strength and stretch of the bi-blend fabric help to extend the life of the shirt. Our dyeing process makes for a tempered and softened shirt which is light to the touch and truly, truly soft on the skin.
Our 31SPKT is created for the connoisseur and made from our best-selling 3100 fabric, this is a 100% cotton ring-spun t-shirt which simply redefines what comfort is. Ring-spinning elevates the 100% cotton fabric to levels unobtainable through regular open-end yarn spinning. The result is a strong fabric which endures, but which is ultra-light too, and super-soft. This is the perfect nerd pocket t-shirt, the epitome of geek pride and style with class to spare.
Finally, for the true patriot, our USA Pocket Tee follows the same tubular specification as our 31SPKT connoisseur-class 3100 and is emblazoned with a gorgeous Stars ’n Bars flag pocket. This classic nerd pocket t-shirt is available in white or bold, patriotic navy blue, to help you declare your inner geek as well as your national pride.