2021 Year in Review: Persevering Through Art

With the global pandemic still lingering, 2021 felt more like déjà vu than the clean slate we all hoped for. Despite the challenges COVID-19 brought, our art community stuck together and showed resilience, and we’re incredibly proud of that! There’s no denying that 2021 was another tough year, but it’s important for all of us to look back and reflect on the great things that did happen.

From the significant expansion of Threadless Causes to sending more than 130,000 unique pieces of art around the world, 2021 gave us much to celebrate. Let’s take a closer look at the milestones that helped tell the story of another memorable year in the history of Threadless and Artist Shops.

Threadless Causes Grew and Grew

Featured Design: "Black Lives Matter" by meandthemoonn
Featured Design: “Black Lives Matter” by meandthemoonn

Threadless Causes is a community-wide effort to raise money for nonprofit organizations doing critical work around the globe. When shoppers purchase Causes designs, participating artists donate a portion of their proceeds to a specific Cause and charity. Then, Threadless matches their donation.

In 2021, we launched two new Causes—Environment and Animals—and added 25 new organizations to our list of available charities. Our artist community sold a whopping 28,464 designs supporting charities of their choice! Artist Shing Yin Khor (Shop Class) raised the most money, with a majority of proceeds going to Fair Fight’s mission to end voter suppression.

Charities Added in 2021

We plan to add even more Causes and charities in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for updates on ways you can contribute. If you’d like to join our fundraising efforts, consider setting up Causes for your new and popular designs.

Apparel Became More Size-Inclusive

Featured Design: “Be a Nice Human” by kindiscool
Featured Design: “Be a Nice Human” by kindiscool

Nothing compares to the rush of finding clothes that not only suit your unique personality, but also fit just the way you want. Your customers deserve that experience, regardless of their body type. That’s why in 2021 we expanded sizing for a variety of apparel styles, and continue to work toward size-inclusivity.

Expanded Sizing
Featured Designs: “Tropical Dragon” by littleclyde, “Down the River” by clsantos82, “Satan’s Little Helper” by arzie13 and Woss, and “The Wanderer” by ThePaperCrane

1. Scoop Neck Regular T-Shirts, Available Exclusively in Sizes 1X–4X

2. Classic Fleece Sweatshirts, Available in Sizes Up to 5XL

3. Classic Fleece Pullover Hoodies, Available in Sizes Up to 5XL

4. Classic Fleece Zip-Up Hoodies, Available in Sizes Up to 5XL

The Arrival of Double-Sided Tees

One of the most exciting milestones of 2021, double-sided printing became available for most T-Shirt styles at Artist Shops. Artists can now design tees with graphics on both the front and the back, giving customers even more variety to choose from. Alternate print locations include front and back prints, crest and back prints, and back-only prints.

Featured Design: “Censored Skater” by Felix Pimenta
Featured Design: “Censored Skater” by Felix Pimenta

From a design perspective, double-sided printing gives Threadless artists more unique ways to showcase their art on T-Shirts. Double the print area means double the creativity! Here’s what artist Micah Ulrich had to say about this long-requested feature:

“I love front and back printed shirts because they allow for so much creativity with merch design, placement, size and choice of graphic. Most print on-demand shops don’t offer front and back printing, or if they do, it is prohibitively expensive.”

Micah Ulrich, Artist Shop Owner

Visit the Threadless marketplace to see the inventive ways artists have already used Double-Sided Tees to tell stories, deliver jokes, and let their imaginations run wild.

"No Bones Day" by Noodle Official | "No Discomfort No Expansion" by Nathan W. Pyle | "Let's Go Birding Together 2021" by The National Audubon Society
“No Bones Day” by Noodle Official | “No Discomfort No Expansion” by Nathan W. Pyle | “Let’s Go Birding Together 2021” by The National Audubon Society

Celebrating Champions of Their Communities

Featured Designs: “Gold Lives Inside You” by vakseen, “Love All Trans Lives” by Norman Duenas, and “Support Artists” by EmelineTate
Featured Designs: “Gold Lives Inside You” by vakseen, “Love All Trans Lives” by Norman Duenas, and “Support Artists” by EmelineTate

To commemorate the launch of our new Champion® T-Shirts, we caught up with six extraordinary humans who embody the spirit of a champion in their own ways. From handcrafting clothes for the disabled community to fundraising with their art, these champions use their unique powers for good. We asked each of them what it means to be a champion, and here’s what Sky Cubacub, founder of Rebirth Garments, had to say:

“Being a champion means putting back your heart and soul into your community. So, for me, that is the queer, trans, disabled, and POC communities.” – Sky Cubacub, Founder of Rebirth Garments

Want to learn more about these incredible people and the inspiring work they do? Read more about how they shatter societal norms and give people the confidence to be their true selves.

The Artist Community’s Impact in 2021

Threadless simply cannot exist without independent artists like yourself. We’re incredibly grateful to be your merch partner, whether you sell your art from the Threadless marketplace or exclusively from your Artist Shop. To illustrate just how awesome you were in 2021, we pulled some stats that popped out to us:

  • Approximately 23K artists from the community made a sale.
  • You sold over 130K unique pieces of art.
  • Your designs were liked 2.1M times on social media.
  • You sold art from 132 different countries around the globe.

Building a Safer, More Inclusive Community

Our goal at Threadless is to give the creative minds of the world opportunities to make and sell great art. Periodically, we take a look in the mirror to evaluate whether our values still align with that mission. We updated our values in 2021, which you can read more about here.

With our refined values in place, we then assembled our Community Safety and Anti-Hate Policies. To create a safer space for everyone, Threadless maintains policies addressing content that goes against the objective of uplifting disadvantaged, vulnerable, and underrepresented populations. In order to use our platforms, we ask everyone to follow not just the letter, but the spirit of these rules.

A sincere thank you to everyone in the Threadless community, from the Artist Shop owners who amaze us every day with their incredible designs to the supporters of independent art. We wish you all good health and prosperity in 2022. Get ready for loads of new art, awesome new products, and more surprises coming soon!

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