A shirt you can read! 
A zine you can wear!
It’s Two-Way Tie for Last! 

Graphic design, art direction, writing
Ian Lynam/Wordshape

Two-Way Tie for Last Tee Zine

Although Tokyo is large, the graphic design scene is small, and the Anglophone design scene even smaller. I’ve been seeing Ian Lynam’s byline on writings and design about and from Japan (including Neojaponisme) since long before living in Tokyo had ever been something I’d considered, and I hoped that we’d cross paths eventually. When we did, we got on instantly, and it wasn’t long before we talked about working on some things together—an honor, as Ian has been a great friend and mentor to me in terms of design/career and life in Japan. 

As this was to be a collaboration between Ian’s Wordshape and my WEEKEND ROMANCE™ (mostly) merch imprint, Ian suggested creating a zine as a t-shirt, resuscitating a format he had gotten only as far as starting on with another collaborator years before. We decided to keep the original name of that project, Two-Way Tie for Last, as a tribute of sorts. 

The general theme is graphics and more graphics, and Ian’s prolificness was a pleasure to behold and an ever-moving yardstick to try to catch up to. A long-sleeve seemed like the move as it meant more real estate to fill. 

Fortunately, I’ve been collecting and producing graphic ideas from or inspired by Tokyo quotidian since around the time I moved here, many of which have found their ways into WEEKEND ROMANCE™, but as with any project more is left on the cutting-room floor than makes it into the final picture. A free-form zine seemed like a perfect home for some of these odds and ends, as well as some more diaristic graphics resulting from processing feelings of closure, resolution, atonement, and gratitude arising from recent life events. 

We decided to use two colors (one per person, although in practice we both used both), keeping in the theme of twos. Fluoro Orange and Reflex Blue on white somehow nailed the tone we had in mind.

I also had an essay kicking around that seemed apropos as I’d just finished a draft, even though I had jotted down the germ of the idea in a pocket notebook six years ago. Laying out the essay, it was too long to fit on one shirt and still be legible, so Ian had the wild idea to make two shirts (continuing the themes of “2” and “graphics and more graphics,” as this would mean more room for the latter, as well), with half of the essay on each of the two. You can read the essay on my writings page, or on substack as well, although of course the on-shirt reading experience is the real deal.

Two-Way Tie for Last is available in its second printing at Sailosaibin in Sasazuka.