Bridging the Cultural Gap with Mashup Tees


If you’re anything like me, your “five minute” Internet break almost always ends up being an accidental trip down the geek-culture rabbit hole.

Last week I was doing some research for another story, and I came across this Lego Star Wars Beatles Abbey Road Mashup Tee.



“Holy crap,” went my inner monologue. I’ve seen cute and clever mashups before, but this one has got to be the ultimate mashup. Three references in one image? That’s it folks, we can all go home now.

Why are these mashups so fascinating? It’s actually pretty simple: that moment when your kid walks in wearing the Calvin and Hobbes inspired Bran and Hodor t-shirt or onesie, and your friends break into giggle fits because of the shared joke that has the exact right amounts of nostalgia and geekiness.


Mashups are the intersection of Geek Culture and nostalgia. It’s where our childhoods team up with our dorky side to make fun of mainstream culture, like in this Starbuck’s logo “Hyrule Coffee” shirt.

Another way to look at this is the simple economy of branding yourself. Without a witty mashup plastered all over your kid’s chest, how will everyone ever know you love Hello Kitty and Dr. Who equally? That’s right, it’s impossible. That’s why there’s these “hello sweetie” or “hello dalek” designs.


Maybe you’re more of a retro video game fan. No problem, there’s a tee for that too. I happen to dig the Legend of Zelda series, mainly because my friends spend lots of time swatting me away while I follow them around saying “hey, listen.” Somehow, Navi, Link’s iconic sword and Facebook found themselves all in one graphic. I, for one, am giggling.

If you’re one of the many ravenous fans of a little HBO show that’s had a bit of press lately – there’s a Link shirt for that too. Jon Snow knows nothing, including how dangerous it is to go alone.


If you want to support an Etsy artist while getting your kid’s mashup on, I highly recommend this tee’s shop: Designs by Perdita.

Despite the sophistication of your geek palette, your kid’s taste may be a little more vulgar. If he insists on flashing his Thomas the Tank Engine pride at every other toddler walking down the street, there are ways to compromise. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em with this OPThomas Transformers/Thomas mashup tee.


One more kids mashup tee that really did it for me was this DC Comics/Powerpuff Girls blend (as if the PPG’s weren’t already super enough without getting the DC treatment). Both of those carry a massive nostalgia factor, and both are universes your kids should really check out if they haven’t already. Who needs Dora the Explorer? Bubbles speaks Spanish.

The greatest thing that geeky mashups can do for you and your kids is bridge the gap between your childhood and geeky obsessions with theirs. Let their shirts be more than clothing – let them help you introduce your favorite things to the next generation.


  1. Josh Clarke – many a mashup video game / tv show / comic / movie tee to be found here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *