Indie Rock T-Shirts That Would Never Sell

Before The Bygone Bureau, visionaries Kevin Nguyen and Nick Martens staked a claim as t-shirt retailers targeting indie rock hipsters. Due to a series of production issues, conflicts of interest, America’s obesity problem, and robotic monotones, the site never took off. The Bureau’s editors present their line of shirts, sadly never put into production.

The Bygone Bureau was not the first venture of web entrepreneurs (webtrepreneurs?) Kevin Nguyen and Nick Martens. They originally planned to launch a shirt design company targeted at the hipster set. Given the inexplicable success of, Nguyen and Martens wisely observed that indie rock fans will buy anything printed on American Apparel shirts. To bolster their potential market penetration, they decided to create shirts featuring indie band-related humor. Unfortunately, production was continually suppressed by litigation and mediocre design, and the company ground to a halt. Here, we present you some of our favorite shirts-never-to-be.


This is clearly a smart, well-researched design targeted at 98% of Death Cab for Cutie’s fanbase. Unfortunately, retailers refused to sell shirts only available in extra large.


In a review of Illinois, Pitchfork said, “[Sufjan] Stevens has a remarkable habit of being rousing and distressing at the same time, prodding disparate emotional centers until it’s unclear whether it’s best to grab your party shoes or a box of tissues.” I’m not quite sure what the hell “prodding disparate emotional centers” means, but, as everyone knows, Pitchfork speaks for God. This fits, since they talk about Sufjan as if he’s the second coming of Christ. Production of this design was halted by Christian Evangelicals.


Don’t be fooled by his innocuous demeanor and sun-soaked melodies: the Shins’s frontman James Mercer is indie pop’s most misogynistic star. We decided to cancel this shirt after Mercer threatened to stomp on our kittens and rape our mothers.


This universal sentiment was deemed too obvious.


Interpol has always been recognized for their lyrical depth. The poetry of “Heinrich Maneuver” (get it? GET IT?) puts even the best work of Samuel Coleridge to shame. Unfortunately, the design was not printed after several communications with Paul Banks were confused with the output of a text-generating robot.


When Bureau writer Caitlin Boersma founded the Morrissey Fan Club, the Smiths singer contacted us personally to design a shirt and logo for his Presidential campaign. Sadly, Morrissey withdrew his nomination and instead rallied support behind Jon Stewart, despite having seen the Robin Williams vehicle Man of the Year.


No one will deny that Belle and Sebastian is fucking awesome. Unfortunately, early test groups showed that the strong language presented on this shirt caused fans to weep uncontrollably and hum “The Chalet Lines.”


Bureau Editor Nick Martens is convinced that one day he will be able to wear this shirt. We’ll print it whenever that happens…


We still think this design would be a popular shirt. We’ll begin production soon.