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Chicago T-shirt line | Skim Milk

Josh Scholl makes artistic tees with a wink toward subversive and sarcastic humor

Photograph: Elizabeth Jochum
Josh Scholl - Skim Milk

What it is A local line of artistic T-shirts (with a humourous twist) by Josh Scholl

Who he is Scholl, 31, started his T-shirt line about five years ago, but back then called it DesignerDrugs. “I don’t know if you remember, but at that time there were a bunch of really stupid sayings on T-shirts,” he says. “I thought to myself, I could do better shit than that.” Scholl, who has no graphic-design background (his day job is in marketing), made the name change to Skim Milk last year after discovering a DJ duo is also named Designer Drugs. And they weren’t down with sharing the name. “The reason they found out about it was because they got an e-mail from someone complimenting their shirts, and they were actually [talking about] my T-shirts,” he says. Scholl found the line’s new name via an online naming contest held for customers.

What he makes “My philosophy is life’s too short to make boring T-shirts,” Scholl says. So, instead of logo shirts (“The day I create a logo shirt is the day I should close up shop,” he says), the self-proclaimed T-shirt snob opts to make artistic tees with a nod toward subversive and sarcastic humor. The shirt featuring a photo of Phil Spector has a caption that says i think i killed someone. Another design, called “Makers Marks the spot” features two ladies doing suggestive things to a bottle of whiskey. A more subtle shirt simply features a black-and-white photo of Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry. They are the kind of shirts you’d see in a Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique. (Most retail for around $35.) Scholl describes his customers as the type who shop at Barneys, but who’re also really into streetwear. The tees have been a hit with indie musicians, too: They’ve been spotted on members of the Black Lips, Neon Indian and Vivian Girls. He’s made the whole collection available for sale, but plans to eventually start releasing collections by season.

Where to find it Belmont Army (855 W Belmont Ave, 773-549-1038; 1318 N Milwaukee Ave, 773-384-8448), Akira(locations citywide) and his own site, theskimmilk.com

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