What you need to fabricate a vintage T-shirt: 1/4 c sodium carbonate washing soda + 2 c salt + 1 pack fine-grit sandpaper + 1 new T-shirt
Step 1: Make Your Mix
To create a vintage T-shirt, start by mixing together the washing soda and salt. “The salt acts as an abrasive, making the shirt look older,” says Miyong Noh, who, as head dyer at Gene Mignola in New York City, ages clothing for designers such as Calvin Klein and Polo Ralph Lauren. The alkaline washing soda breaks down the new shirt’s built-in coating that keeps it stiff, crisp, and … well, new. Start with one size larger than you wear; it will shrink considerably.
Step 2: Do The Wash
Throw the shirt into the washing machine with a towel or with other shirts you’re trying to age. Set the machine on the highest temperature. “The heat weakens the fibers,” Noh says. After the water has risen past the top of the load, dump in the soda/salt mixture and your usual detergent. After it’s done, dry the shirt on high heat. Then mix up another, smaller batch of soda and salt, and repeat the whole cycle three to five times, drying on high heat after each wash.
Step 3: Brush It Off
Now for that pesky logo. “Most printed shirts are screened with a resin-based material called plastisol,” Noh says. “You can distress the hell out of the shirt, and the plastisol logo will still be pristine.” Here’s where some elbow grease comes in. Using fine sandpaper, lightly swipe at the logo using circular but irregular strokes. “You have to make the aging look natural,”