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Starstuff Clothing Kickstarter takes space fashion to new heights

The final frontier of fashion.


Lisa Granshaw

Internet Culture

Posted on May 19, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 7:12 am CDT

If you’ve ever wanted to wear the Milky Way or the Tarantula Nebula, Starstuff Clothing might be just what you’re looking for. The fashion startup has been creating short-sleeve shirts displaying the beauty of the galaxy since mid-2013 but now aims to expand their work with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

At the moment, Starstuff purchases their shirts in bulk from a printer, which, according to the Kickstarter, is hamstringing Starstuff’s business. If the Kickstarter is successful, the company plans to purchase their own printing equipment and open their own print shop in Robbinsdale, Minn. They hope to grow with their own shop by then offering more designs beyond the regular T-shirt, creating a variety of fits, and lowering the current price of $49.

What makes these galaxy fashions stand out is that they are created using actual high-resolution photos of celestial objects. Starstuff Clothing founder Rob Cegla told the Daily Dot they source the images from different telescopes and observatories.

“I scoured their websites for the most aesthetically pleasing images available in huge sizes, and settled on what you see in the Kickstarter for now. Those sources include NASA‘s famous Hubble space telescope, the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla observatory located in Chile, NASA’s Spitzer space telescope, and more,” Cegla says.

Starstuff’s desire to bring the universe to our everyday style seems to be built on their own love and passion for space. The name of the company is in fact inspired by a quote from astronomer Carl Sagan: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of Starstuff.” Definitely inspiration to be appreciated by any space geek!

A real Starstuff shirt (left) and a dress mockup design (right).

As for the process of putting these photos on the clothing, the company uses dye sublimation printing which Cegla said is an uncommon process for apparel because of the cost for machinery and supplies.   

“Essentially, a blank garment (shirt, dress, tank top, socks, but it must be polyester) is laid down on a large-format heat press. Then, a large-format image is printed using special sublimation inks onto sublimation transfer paper,” he explained. “The paper with the image is laid down on top of the garment, and the heat press is lowered. The heat press uses pressure and heat to literally vaporize the ink from the paper, which immediately binds to the polyester threads in the clothing.”

Closeup of dyed threads.

The price is worth it according to Cegla because of the vibrant high-quality print it achieves. He said it dyes the thread itself instead of laying on top of it, which prevents cracking and peeling. Supposedly the process should make the print last for a hundred years, but other than the stars themselves I’m not sure any of the buyers will be around that long to test it.

Still, the 8 new designs promised by the Kickstarter are stylish cuts and the images of the universe are quite impressive.

Dress design concept

As of this writing, the campaign has raised over $21,500 of their $35,031 goal. The Kickstarter ends June 12.

Photos via Rob Cegla

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*First Published: May 19, 2014, 9:16 am CDT