Now that the temperature has started to rise, it’s time to put on our casual and cool T-shirts. But to stand out from the crowd this season, you should consider adding a slogan T-shirt to your wardrobe.
From headlines and hashtag to popular quotes, many words have leapt from media onto our clothing. In April, New York magazine came up with a creative idea to increase its revenues by turning headlines from its popular fashion section into slogan T-shirts. And last year, US actress Jennifer Lawrence wore a “We should all be feminists” T-shirt for a fashion campaign.
But slogan T-shirts certainly aren’t recent creations. Although they’re believed to have been the idea of small 1960s London fashion store Mr Freedom, British designer Katherine Hamnett first brought slogan T-shirts to the wider world in the 1980s. “The slogan T-shirt was something to give you a voice ... that you could wear on your chest and could be read from 200 yards (about 183 meters) away,” she recently told the BBC.
However, people have been using practical ways to send political messages far before slogan T-shirts came along. “In the 19th century before women had the vote, they would use umbrellas that represented their preferred candidate,” Steven Fielding, professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, told Elle magazine.
Indeed, fashion has always been about self-expression. And slogan items have become a way to get across messages without the need to scream and shout. “It gives us a chance to say something and stand for something,” Swedish designer Annika Berger told the Guardian. “Sometimes we talk about serious stuff, and sometimes we talk about fun things.”
British designer Viet Tran shared his story of making fun T-shirts with Elle. Before he graduated from college, he couldn’t afford a cool T-shirt, so he and his friends just made their own, featuring slogans such as, “He’s your man.” “It was fun and you could wear clothing that referenced something or someone you associated with,” Tran told the magazine. “It was an inside joke that united us as a group.”
British fashion expert Natalie Kingham also agreed that slogan items provide an identity platform. “People recognize and embrace these pieces and it identifies them as part of a group,” she told Elle.
So, if you want to share your thoughts with the world, a slogan T-shirt is certainly a good way to start.