Urban Alchemist: A Prelude To A (Gay) T-Shirt Business
Peter Tatara - October 10, 2006
"One small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind."
Those are Neil Armstrong's corrected, official first words from the moon. After sorting through static, researchers discovered an "a" that had been missing for decades. But, now, it's back, rendering countless textbooks, documentaries, and museum displays inaccurate. Will this corrected statement catch on? Probably not. Even though the above words are what Armstrong actually said, history's seldom what actually happened, instead an amalgam of memories, stories, and legends compiled by whoever's won the most recent war. Before this century's through, odds are Armstrong will have never even set foot on the moon, instead Celestial Republic of China Taikonaut Xiao Chi getting the credit.
But, regardless of if our accomplishments are destined to stand the test of time, we try. Don't get me wrong, we do what we do to be remembered, to get the girl, and to make sacks and sacks of dough, but there's a sense of adventure -- a seductive liqueur -- that compels men to dream big even if it drains our wallets and leaves us shivering in the gutter. (This is typically the end of the road for writers, until of course they die of malnourishment, syphilis, or rabies. Then, once they've shuffled off this mortal coil, their ugly, unintelligent family members who appreciated them not once in life strike it rich.)
Where's this going? A long, melancholy soliloquy on the bitter existence of artists? No, instead, a giddy discourse on capitalism. I want the fame, the fortune, and the Asian girl while I can appreciate them. To this end, I'm going into business for myself.
I like anime. I like video games. I like comics. While I shower, shave, and wear a suit, I'm a fanboy, and my year working in the anime industry wasn't enough. Some months ago, after pondering making some shirts for the staff of giantsrobotsfightinggod.com, I got to thinking about some other shirts I wanted to make while working for Central Park Media. The company, though, was focused on DVDs and not geared toward merchandising, so my proposal didn't really go anywhere. It would spend the next several months half-forgotten at the base of my brain until I stumbled upon it again when thinking up giantrobotsfightinggod.com shirts.
I thought about my anime shirts for a bit. And a bit more. And the idea didn't go away. I had made shirts in college and really had a great time. I looked at my bank account. I made a few calls. I figured I could make it work. After now, after research, registering a business, and setting up an infrastructure, it's ready to go live. But what is it? A boutique apparel company specializing in unique, niche clothing. While most companies focus on the trendy and the popular, I'm seeking to make anti-popular shirts and accessories for anime, video game, and comic book fans, high quality, original clothing truly expressive of retro and contemporary underground culture. It is named Urban Alchemist.
Urban Alchemist, located a www.urban-alchemist.com, will be announced officially on October 23rd, launching with two yaoi-inspired shirts. Yes, I said yaoi. Urban Alchemist will expand out into more general anime, video game, and comic clothing in 2007, but, because of my past at Be Beautiful, it's starting with impossibly beautiful men.
I've done a lot of reading about Mark Ecko as of late, and while I don't have any affection for his clothes, I've developed a man-crush on him. If he can do it with hip-hop, surely I can do it with otaku. You're laughing, aren't you? Well, we'll see. I've already got the Asian girl, and she's tolerating my gay shirts remarkably well, and even if the fame and the fortune don't materialize, I've planned properly. Should I lose everything I've invested into Urban Alchemist, I'll still be able to avoid the gutter.
But Urban Alchemist is launching soon. Now's a time for celebration. And champagne. I've started celebrating daily at 10 AM. Too early to celebrate? You've obviously never had champagne and eggs.