Literal Streetwear: ‘Pirate Printer’ Lifts Patterns from Urban Objects

street wear clothes

A Berlin art collective has taken to the streets, inking urban infrastructure and laying down shirts and tote bags to create a line of unique prints … their patterns directly lifted from city streets.

print process cover

pirate pressed tshirts

Raubdruckerin (AKA Pirate Printer) press apparel to painted manhole covers, utility grates, etched signage, vents and other objects that have depth differences (and thus themselves to the relief-printing process, like woodcuts or letterpress).

painted manhole cover

pirate clothing urban collection

painted city grate

The group rolls out different colors of ink, much as one would with any kind of etched or raised printing process, then lays cloth down and applies pressure. Depending on the size and type of the object in question, the prints are partial or complete pictures of a given urban artifact.

pirate patterned bag

manhole cover bag

bike path sign

ticket sign

The crew has traveled to Amsterdam, Lisbon, Paris and other iconic cities to capture some of their least-noticed but still-beautiful urban artifacts, transferring overlooked parts of these places to a new style of streetwear. Naturally, each one is a little different – even when the same street fixture is used, the re-inking process results in variegation from one print to he next (via Colossal).