Saturday, June 16, 2007

Moon Dog

If there really is “a tide in the affairs of men,” as Shakespeare writes, “which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune,” then it changes with maturity. For white guys of a certain age (like me), the tide seems to lead on to tropical shirts.

For cutting-edge Hawaiian shirt fashion, it’s been hard to replace Reg Mombasa and the Loud Shirt Gang who used to work under the Mambo label out of Australia. It’s been look-around, peek-into-corners action; keep searching the Worldwide Web. I’m not talking about your chain-store stuff here – that’s for the hoi polloi.

I mean your really OUTRAGEOUS aloha shirts, the kind that, when you’re 6-feet-6-inches tall and weigh 270 pounds, make a definite statement (such as “I’m color-blind and I don’t care” or “Aren’t you amazed that my wife let me out of the house wearing this!”)

Thanks to the power of word-of-mouth advertising, though, I’ve scored this super-fine “Rose Tattoo” shirt from Judy and Richard Kuenstler at Moon Dog in Austin, TX. This is a handmade cotton beauty, a spectacular piece of work that shouts, “Hey, look, I dressed myself.”

I ran into this guy at one of Roni McMurtrey’s gallery openings a couple Saturdays back; we could see each other across the room because no one (man, woman or child) had shirts that remotely mustered the sheer candlepower of the ones we were wearing. Only his was…different. It had like these Mexican Day of the Dead figures on it. Really rocking.

Naturally I complimented him on his shirt. He responded in kind. Then I asked where he had purchased it. He said, “You can buy one just like this from Moon Dog in Austin.” That was simple enough to remember. But I said right back at him, “This shirt is your statement. I’d never buy your shirt. Thank you – I’ll check out the company online and see what else it’s got.”

And I did. See above.

Sure, I could have gone stronger but I like to think I’m more subtle than that (sounds of many people in background unsuccessfully smothering their ridicule). Moon Dog has plenty of options which the Kuenstlers make to order. Excellent!

Here’s a firm that’s been around since ’84 and I’m just hearing about it. But then I purposely don’t spend time in Austin either. Fortunately, word-of-mouth works once again and I’m proud to pass on the favor: Moon Dog Shirt Company.

I don’t know the name of that guy was at the McMurtrey Gallery, but he’s got a great shirt! Happy Father’s Day.


Judy Kuenstler said...

Dear Richard and Barbara--what wonderful feedback on our shirts!!!! I'm so happy that you received it in time and that you really like it. I have printed out your blog and will keep it nearby so when I feel bogged down I'll be instantly cheered up to know there are great people out there like you guys. Thanks again. Judy and Richard, Moon Dog Shirt Co.

Jo-Anne White said...

You are hysterical!

Chip Weber said...


I'm a Loud Shirt afficianado as well. I've still got some Mambo Loud Shirt stock to offer you or any of your readers. Am selling on eBay, but if you contact me directly with email, I can give further discounts.

all the best, chip ;-D