Wrong. The new collection, Archive 1887, will feature a slew of exclusive rare and behind-the-scenes photos, logos and memorabilia (ticket stubs; album artwork) dating back over a century — all culled from the bowels of the Sony headquarters on Madison Avenue. “We went down to the actual Sony archives, this crazy fireproof vault at sea level, and started picking through millions of photos and catalogues,” says The Thread Shop president Matt Vlasic. “It was just endless.” The finds include images by rock shutterbugs Mick Rock and Jim Marshall. There’s even an early Seventies concert notice with the latter’s famous snapshot of Miles Davis in the boxing ring of San Francisco’s Newman’s Gym. “The music landscape has been changing in the last 10 years. HMV is out. Tower Records is out,” explains Vlasic. “How can we get the great music of Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk to the 12- to 18-year-old kid? You can’t cruise a cool record store anymore. They’re not in the iTunes top 100. This is how we’re going to get to them. We’re trying to do it as an education program, in a way.”
What Vlasic is talking about is the shirt’s accompany hangtag, which features a code that customers can plug in on the line’s website to access information on the artist as well as a curated digital playlist of his or her works. Also included will be a pewter skeleton key — “you can turn it into a pendant or keychain or whatever,” says Vlasic — that symbolizes unlocking that Sony basement vault. And, no, die-hard music buffs, said key will not actually open those archives. “There, it’s actually this digital thing that requires fingerprints and everything,” Vlasic remarks.