Mick Jagger and Keith Richards intuitively sum up the renegade attitude of the new T-shirts from Nighttrain No. 8, “I know it’s only rock ‘n’ roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do,” declares Jamie Antolini. Add a strut, throw in a couple of guitar riffs and you’ve got the bold, sexy sensibility that designer/founder Jamie Antolini has set out to express with this chic new take on vintage tees. Jamie’s a successful second-generation Wall Streeter who just couldn’t look into the future and accept the conventional life. Having a personal epiphany at a magazine cover party, he ditched his career and decided to just do something different, something fulfilling, something connected to what he loved most: music!
Crisscrossing the country on jet planes doing deals with high-powered flair, he found himself spending his in-flight time compiling playlists of his go-to tunes—the hits from The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, and so on. His love for music—in particular, classic rock—wasn’t born in a day, much less a plane trip, rather it’s a lifetime obsession. He traveled to Houston to see what was billed as the final Rolling Stones show and went to the Meadowlands for Guns n’ Roses. Why go to such lengths to rock out? “You never know when a band’s going to have its last show,” Antolini says.
The music of today holds no charm for him. But being the parent of a sixteen-year-old daughter, he thought the best way to connect with her through music was not just sharing his own favorite bands, but to listen to her choices, too. He went with her to Katy Perry, Justin Beiber and Kesha concerts and saw not only screaming teens, but also manic mothers. He listened to Drake (not a fan) and Adele (“she pours her heart out in every song”—definitely a fan!) He earned his daughter Sophia’s love and respect and in turn, she learned to love his music. He’s proud to say that she knows all the words to Bill Withers’ hits (“Lean On Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Just The Two of Us”). When Z100 hit radio comes on in a taxi, he has no shame in asking the driver to turn it off. He’d rather listen to nothing.
He honors and reveres the great artists of classic rock ‘n’ roll, sharing their legacy now with men and women through the tees, each featuring a clever contemporary graphic interpretation of a popular song title from artists like Prince, The Rolling Stones or The Eagles. He’s introduced Nighttrain No. 8 to markets sharing this hip, edgy sensibility: New York, Miami, Aspen, Los Angeles and St. Barth’s. Dallas, Chicago and Austin are next. He’s starting with a limited edition—150 of each tee—a soft cotton (butter-washed) with a close-to-the-body fit. Of course, there will be special editions, and maybe a reissue, but once a tee is sold out, it’s retired. Antolini’s vision for the tees isn’t a throwback to the 70s per se, but a fresh and modern spin with a nod to the music that defined that era.
“Shattered,” for example, is not only a title of a favorite Stones song, but a state of mind. A stressed mom without childcare for a week can appreciate it and so can a dedicated fan of rock ‘n’ roll. Jamie loves the fact that “for five different people, it means five different things.” “London Calling” though, with its tattered rendering, is meant to recall an old favorite, well worn, easy, comfortable tee, and yes “it’s also a wink to the world,” a reference to the British bands of the 60s—The Stones, The Beatles—but if those bands don’t hold any meaning, then it’s just a shout-out to a great destination. And “Help” may recall The Beatles, but it’s still a statement that says everybody needs somebody, a concept any generation can appreciate.
Message tees before Nighttrain No. 8 took their cue from greeting card sayings, and were clichéd and mainstream, Jamie observes, cringing at the genre. And vintage concert tees, though prized collectibles for their nostalgia factor, were boxy and baggy. Nighttrain No. 8 merges fashion with rock culture and lets individuality rule. The name Nighttrain No. 8 is a nostalgic nod to the mystique of trains, after all hits like “Midnight Train to Georgia” (Gladys Night & the Pips), “Railroad Song” (Lynyrd Skynyrd), “Locomotive Breath” (Jethro Tull) and “Driver 8” (R.E.M.) not to mention the O’Jay’s “Love Train” and Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train” linger on in our memories and are still relevant today.
What’s the next stop for Nighttrain No. 8? With plans for growth and lots of ideas cooking, naturally gregarious Jamie bubbles over with enthusiasm for Nighttrain No. 8. Jamie the tees everywhere he goes, sharing them with one and all because “seeing is better than hearing”—meaning it’s one thing to talk about the tees but another to touch and feel them. Coming around the bend is a collection of workout tees with song titles and expressions like “We Are The Champions” (Queen) or “Take it to the Limit” (The Eagles). For the Aspen crowd, thermal tees for the ski lifestyle are headed to market soon. But it’s important to remember, Nighttrain No. 8 tees are not intended as a souvenir; they are an authentic connection to all that rock n’ roll implies. In fact, Jamie confesses, his ultimate wish is to one day see Nighttrain No. 8 on Slash, lead guitarist of Guns n’ Roses. Now that would truly be Nirvana.
For more information, visit: www.nighttrainno8.com