The legacy of Tupac lives on forever, as evidenced by the endless posthumous reprisals of the rapper's oeuvre. Hence, vintage Tupac merch is never not in demand and thus Insonnia Projects' premium Tupac tees make perfect sense.
Aside from occasional projects for Japanese mega-retailer BEAMS, Hideaki Shikama's low-key Insonnia Projets label mostly keeps to itself, focusing on a D2C drop cycle that keeps its handmade knit T-shirts, sweaters, and loungewear relatively accessible pricewise.
Otherwise, it'd be easy to imagine wholesale prices ballooning sky-high: Even the approachable Dali art T-shirts it designed for BEAMS speak for Insonnia Project's painstaking craftsmanship.
T-shirts are woven from a bespoke long-staple cotton textile with a dry touch and cut to a perfectly boxy pattern that recalls the best kind of vintage shirts, the stuff that's juuuuust oversized enough.
Once finished, Insonnia Projects graces each shirt with a graphic achieved through era-accurate rubber printing techniques and finishes it with a custom wash process that softens and fades the garment while cracking the print in a properly vintage way.
The end result is a T-shirt that looks just like a well-worn '90s tee but, quality-wise, blows away the OG tees.
Insonnia Projects' signature brass tag is woven on the rear of each shirt's neck, allowing the wearer to roll each one up with an included leather strap and store 'em for future wear.
Insonnia Projects' latest project, dropping on BEAMS' site March 12 for ¥10,780 (about $100) apiece, is the aforementioned Tupac T-shirts, all offered in white or faded black.
Sporting vintage photographs of the West Coast rapper and stylized branding, the uninformed would almost definitely mistake these shirts for actual merch issued by Death Row in the '90s. That is, until they actually handled Insonnia Projects' exquisite tees.
As Tupac said, keep it real. Or don't, actually.