By Shilo Urban
Just in case you haven’t given enough of your lifetime earnings to Starbucks on coffee dates for $4 lattes and $5 frappa-whatevers, the Seattle-based caffeine emporium has come up with a new way for you to support the global coffee industry: an $85 coffee-stained t-shirt.
Announced in celebration of the coffee chain’s 40th anniversary, the brown-smudged shirts are a cheeky way for daters to declare their love for coffee along with a penchant for not taking life too seriously. Created by designer Alexander Wang, these limited edition t-shirts are part of a collaboration between Starbucks and the Council of Fashion Designers America and were inspired by “what everyone else tries to avoid – spilled coffee on a t-shirt.”
Stains and spills are particularly to be avoided on dates, as they make men look like dirty babies and women look like disheveled versions of Ally Sheedy in the breakfast club. But could this high-end fashion item change the world’s opinion of brown stains, which has been in the negative for most of humanity’s style history?
Hidden in the stain on the shirt is the image of the Starbucks mermaid, appearing much like the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast or the image of Jesus in oatmeal. However this modern-day savior redeems not the souls but the minds of humans, keeping our brains awake and alert so that we may work, consume, and make money in order to buy more overpriced crap that we don’t need.
While the coffee stain is funny and will no doubt make people take a second look in your direction (and possibly offer you a napkin or two), you could achieve this trompe-l’oeil design by yourself in your own kitchen for practically free. In fact, many of us have already added designer coffee stains to our surroundings, from our carpets to our cars to our teeth – so why would anyone shell out a real eighty-five bucks for fake coffee-stain on a shirt? Aren’t there better and less expensive ways to highlight your ironic sense of humor to potential mates, like an uneven hipster haircut or perhaps some lens-less plastic glasses?
Obviously, Starbucks is betting that customers who are willing to pay $4 for a drink that costs a few cents to make might also agree to buy an ugly $85 t-shirt that could better be made at home. This fake stained t-shirt is just perfect for daters who have too much money and too little imagination, a common problem especially in larger cities like Los Angeles or New York.
Perhaps this drippy design is just the first in a series of “gotcha” stained shirts, and your next date might show up on your front door with a soup stain-covered hat, chocolate smears all over his pants or spaghetti sauce dripping down the sleeves of his jacket. Grunge is back, after all, and one can easily connect Kurt Cobain and Seattle’s I-don’t-give-a-f*ck flannel aesthetic with these ungainly garments.
One thing is sure: Kurt wouldn’t be caught dead in an $85 fake coffee-stained Starbucks t-shirt, and anyone who would is trying really, really hard to show that they have a sense of humor. If your date shows up wearing one of these, go ahead and laugh, and rest assured that he or she has enough spare dough to spring for dessert – and coffee, of course!