NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. JUNE 20, 2022
Award-winning vintage authority Defunkd and U.S. apparel company Citees have announced the launch of Legiteem8, a new vintage t-shirt authentication and appraisal app.
The app is the first of its kind to harness the power of a global community of experts to verify and value vintage tees. Users have free access to a social-based experience that invites other vintage enthusiasts and experts to vote and comment on an item’s legitimacy and price.
"Legiteem8 educates and evolves the process, so anyone can feel confident about the authenticity and worth of their items while also having a hub to identify forgeries," said James Applegath, co-founder of Legiteem8. "There's strength in numbers and our community will help call out vintage t-shirt counterfeiters and give bootlegs the boot."
Over the last two decades, genuine vintage t-shirts began a steady climb toward becoming highly covetable commodities as their fashion and collectible appeal skyrocketed, according to Applegath. Today, celebrities are regularly photographed in rare, high-end vintage t-shirts and a Grateful Dead tee sold for a record $17,640 USD last fall at auction.
In order to thwart counterfeiters who are already capitalizing on this surging market, Legiteem8 assembled a global team of vintage t-shirt experts for its platform.
The Legiteem8 process is quick and simple – users add photos and information about their shirts and the app’s community votes to determine if the item is genuine while also generating an appraisal for the value of each t-shirt. In addition, the app features a proprietary badge system that helps assess each member's accuracy rating over time, which can result in some users becoming paid experts.
To obtain a digital certificate of authenticity (COA), experts in a variety of t-shirt genres are assigned to evaluate and certify garments. Users can also opt for an additional premium service where the COA is stored on the blockchain as a transferable NFT to further solidify the item’s provenance for collection or resale. Legiteem8’s user-friendly design makes it easy for users with no cryptocurrency experience by overseeing the entire minting process.
Current stock in the Legiteem8 app includes an impressive array of high-ticket, NFT-certified tees, such as; Several t-shirts from the personal collection of legendary voice actor Mel Blanks, a t-shirt from the movie, Juice, starring Tupac Shakur, that was worn by the late DJ AM, Adam Goldstein and a Back to the Future t-shirt from the personal collection of Tom Wilson - the actor who played Biff Tannen, and that's just to name a few.
With vintage tees attaining luxury item status, the need for Legiteem8 is overdue. Research from a January 2022 survey of more than 500 vintage t-shirt devotees conducted by Defunkd and Citees identified the urgent need for authentication:
- 65% of participants admitted they have been uncertain as to the authenticity of a vintage t-shirt
- Nearly 30% of vintage collectors have been duped and fallen victim to buying at least one fake t-shirt recently
- The average price of participants' most valuable t-shirt is $608.71
- 54% of respondents own at least one vintage t-shirt they feel is too valuable to wear
According to a recent report, the secondhand market is projected to double in the next five years, reaching $77 billion USD. Millions of shoppers are buying vintage clothing in an effort to secure unique items and reduce their environmental impact. As a brand, Citees pivoted in response to this movement by shifting its focus to slow fashion and launching the Legiteem8 app. “The vintage market has never gone out of style and is only getting bigger,” said Amir, co-founder of Legiteem8. "And whether it's applying our community model to new categories, developing an AI we can make available to 3rd party platforms, or partnering with brands to explore the metaverse together, there is lots of potential for growth and huge demand for trustworthy information to help consumers make informed decisions to validate the products they purchase."
Legiteem8's Experts (Updated)
James Applegath, Chief Authentication Officer
Stephen Voland, 60s to 1980s Rock Tees
Kevin Scott, 80s, 90s Hip Hop and Rap Tees
Hikki, Nirvana Tees
Max Bittle, Rolling Stones, Woodstock, 60s and 70s Rock Tees
Heather McTammany, Generic, 70s to early 90s Tees
Bethany Nixon, 1980s to 2000s Tees
Edwin S., 1990s Shoegaze, Rock and Electronica Tees
Mono Mohamad 1990s Alternative, Rock, Brit Pop, Oasis
Jonathan Christoper 1990s, 2000 Movie, Rock, Anime, Rap
Chaz 1980s, 1990s, 2000s Wrestling
Alex Comfortes Sports: Soccer, Football, Basketball
Henry Kaimimoku, Anime, Cartoon, Video Games, Marvel & Disney (80’s-present)
A pioneer in the world of vintage t-shirts, Defunkd has been synonymous with authenticity for nearly two decades. Defunkd launched in 2004 as an online vintage t-shirt boutique, which went on to sell more than 10,000 tees and become an eBay award-winning operation. In 2008, Defunkd founded the world's first vintage t-shirt community via a blog and a forum dedicated to formally documenting vintage t-shirts, prints, tags, and other relevant news and trends. Defunkd has always been at the forefront of t-shirt authentication – authoring several comprehensive guides on the subject of vintage t-shirt authentication and appraisal, as well as maintaining an online archive of 14,000 vintage t-shirts and brands.
Citees launched in 2017 as a brand focused on city-based fashion that also gives back to the cities in which they are located. Community involvement for the brand has taken several forms including supporting local charities, sponsoring regional events, and working with small businesses in each community. In July 2019, Citees joined the slow fashion movement and transitioned to selling vintage t-shirts. The brand has since amassed a large collection, including an impressive assortment of vintage rap tees. By using a unique mix of marketing and distribution models the company has established its reputation as a recognizable brand in the vintage tee market. As a source for location fashion and collectible streetwear, the company remains committed to making an impact in every neighborhood they touch.
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