"Got in an accident with a paint truck on your way here?"
"Oh no - it's supposed to look like this."
So the T-shirt company puts together a new run of a dozen or so shirts every year - for new one-off events ("Astoria welcomes the Accountants Conference") or updated versions of recurring festivals ("Sunnydale Meat Packers - celebrating 25 botulism-free years!") and when they put together the stencils for the silk-screens they want to be sure the colour balance is correct and everything's aligned properly... so instead of making a quick batch of 40 shirts with maybe-crooked logos, they put the design on the shirt.
Hm. Adjust the ink, rotate the shirt four degrees clockwise... and they print again. Same shirt. Good? Okay, this setup is ready for the batch of 40 now. Move on to the next set of stencils... try them. What, waste a clean new shirt on another test? For shame - those things cost at least a buck-fifty, wholesale! Here, we can just use the back of this shirt they used for the other test. And for the next test? Turn it inside-out. Got extra ink on your squeegee? Just wipe it off on the shoulder of the shirt.
So it is that these unique garments come into being, part industry and part abstract expressionism, cyclic and clashing shirt designs having competed inside, outside, upside-down every which way for a scrap of unprinted fabric upon which to be tested. Of course, they're not mass-produced for general consumption - but that doesn't mean that they're not available for sale.
Crusty shelves of paint never fully-dried, bursting with texture like a Van Gogh, crashing over smeared and bleary almost... almost... almost... got it! Have you ever wanted to be walking pop art? Now you can be. When wearing one, people walk up to me on the street and ask if I'm a painter.
The best part is the accidental conflation of coinciding t-shirt designs. For the high school basketball team, a dunking ball and the slogan: THE SLAM - for the regional Shakespeare festival, a portait of the Bard. What do you get when these disparate elements are juxtaposed? The perfect garment for a poetry slam. They even asked if I could make them more of the same, never suspecting the random processes leading to its appearing on my person that night.
Clothes make the man, and uniforms make The Man. Why would you want to wear something available to everyone else? If you're not going to make your own clothes, this is a good middle ground.