How T-Shirts Became Fashion Famous
How T-Shirts Became Fashion Famous
The custom t-shirt printing market is projected to hit the 10 billion U.S dollars’ mark by the year 2025 going by the current CAGR rate of 6.3%. This massive growth is attributed to the increasing popularity of the custom t-shirt among the young generation. The young people are bursting with creativity that can be expressed in custom t-shirts and custom hoodies. Different personalities, styles, and even attitudes can be easily brought out by custom t-shirts and custom hoodies.
T-shirts have become an effective mode of passing messages across. Quoted by The New York Times in 2005, The Doneger Group’s Creative Director, David Wolfe reckoned the communications capabilities of a t-shirt. “These T-shirts turn people into statements – be it a product, lifestyle, or celebrity.” True to his words, t-shirts and custom hoodies are being used to relay all sorts of messages across the globe. Products are being pushed to the market; political views and even feelings are expressed by just a print on a t-shirt. With its timeless popularity, it may make one wonder how this simple apparel has grown to become such a classical piece of fashion. Let us go down the memory lane to see its origins.
The Early Days of the T-shirt
Surprisingly, back in the 19th century, a t-shirt was just regarded as an undergarment. It evolved from the union suit that was one-piece long underwear for women in the 1800s. The garment was cut into two in that they were a top and bottom garment. The pair that was worn by tucking in the top to the bottom became famous among stevedores and miners particularly when the weather was hot. Owing to its affordability and ease of cleaning, the t-shirt quickly became an undershirt for men across different sectors.
In fact, the U.S Navy adopted it as an official undershirt for the soldiers between the years 1898 and 1913 during the Spanish-American War. It soon became a habit for men to wear t-shirts, particularly when doing chores in the farms and work places. Boys too started warming up to the idea of using the garment as a casual wear. By 1920s, the name t-shirt that was coined from the T-shape that its body and sleeves formed became part of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
The t-shirt soon started evolving from the usual white-cotton undershirt to printed designs that were popular among boys. More designs from the usual crew-necked model started trickling in, including the V-necked t-shirts. In 1942, gracing the cover of Life magazine was an Air Corps Gunnery School T-shirt. After the release of A Streetcar Named Desire, in a play in the 1950s in which Marlon Brando adorned a t-shirt, people started viewing it differently. Men, as well as boys, could now embrace it as a stand-alone, fashionable piece of clothing. By the time the 60s came, people were using the t-shirt as a way of expression in protests and advertisements. The t-shirt soon started gaining popularity all over the world with a variety of colors, designs, styles and fabrics to choose from.
The T-shirt Today
Today, t-shirts are a mode of expression to reckon with. Its significance in the modern culture is something that can’t be ignored. The once humble garment has finally found its standing in the fashion industry. Its effectiveness in passing across both social and political messages has placed it in the center stage among fashion designers. In fact, an exhibition dubbed “T-shirt: Cult, Culture, Subversion,” that honors this garment is currently underway at Fashion and Textile Museum in London.
The whole idea was influenced by the Vivienne Westwood’s collection. She is arguably among the first designers in the 20th century to not only challenge the t-shirts designs but also the messages they carry. Her designs that date back to the year 1971 are at the center of the event. The exhibition opened on February 9th and will close on May 6th. About 150 pieces are being showcased highlighting the rich history of this long-established garment. Participants can also view beautiful photographs drawn from Susan Barnett’s book A Topology of T-shirts.
The exhibition that was inspired by the effective participation of the t-shirt in passing social and political agendas is focused on how this role can be increased to cover more ideas. According to the Fashion and Textile Museum’s Head of Exhibitions Dennis Nothdruft, the organizers and artists who recognize it as a powerful medium are eager to see how it can deliver messages on issues like fashion, art, gender, personalities, and social groups. They hope that the conversation will continue with more people visiting the exhibition.