This Guy Published a Book About His 800-Strong Hardcore Punk Shirt Collection
Spoiler alert: The Varsity font remains extremely popular.
Orhun Öner wears an L or XL. The 35-year old teacher owns over 800 punk shirts from the 80s and 90s. We are guessing this makes him the most posi and hardcore guy in the staffroom.
Recently Orhun published Life.Love.Shirts, a book that collects just a fraction of his shirts from classic hardcore bands including Youth of Today, INSTED, Uniform Choice, and Chain of Strength. As well as interviews with figurers from the era including Rob Moran from Unbroken, Chris Logan from Chokehold, and INSTED's Steve Larson, the book is a celebration of bold fonts, grainy live pics and 80s/90s straight edge fashion.
Though the first issue of Life.Love.Shirts is sold out, Orhun explains that a second issue is in the works. We had a chat with him about the book and his shirt wardrobe.
Noisey: Do you wear these shirts to the supermarket or are they wrapped in plastic?
Orhun Öner: Yeah I wear most of my shirts whether it's going to the supermarket or teaching in front of my class!
What band do you have the most shirts of?
Uniform Choice or INSTED. Both are my fave band and they printed some of the best hardcore shirts ever.
The book's name come from an Unbroken album. Are they your fave HC band?
They are one of my fave bands but whenever I'm asked that question I have to say INSTED . It was love at first sight, positive music and message, that's what hardcore is all about!
What design has become the most iconic?
Probably the first Youth of Today shirt. Even Supreme made a rip off a few years ago.
When did the long sleeve start becoming popular?
I can't say, but I think when you see old hardcore pics, something totally changed in the late 80s you see more LS prints. So my guess is late 80s with the second sxe wave.
Chain of Strength was one of the first to feature the logo on the front and the grainy live pic of the band on the back.
Yeah that's the classic hardcore shirt, bandname on the front live pic on the back. I have a lot of classic hardcore shirts. They are still the most popular design in hardcore I guess.
And the varsity font is still popular?
As long as youth crew hardcore is still around you will see the varsity font and that's totally ok!
You could argue that the similar looking design/font of shirts could reflect straight edge youth crew music in general. But can you see a change in style or design?
The only change I can see is that the print getting bigger and bigger, in the past you had a pocketprint and something on the back, today bands made the hugest prints ever. I have no clue why.
What is the rarest shirt or most in demand you have?
I guess the rarest is an original Youth of Today 1987 summer tour or an original Side By Side demo shirt.
Do you buy/sell shirts online? Is there much of a culture around that?
eBay was cool 15 years ago. People were getting mad about shirts (like people got mad about records in the past) Today I find my shirts on IG or people writing me that they have stuff that they'd rather give me than other people.
What are your fave three shirts?
That's a hard one: but Youth of Today's four-sided Break Down the Walls design printed by Wishing Well records. INSTED's We'll Make the Difference summer tour 1989 design Uniform Choice Straight and Alert four-sided Wishing Well records.