A Brief History of The Vintage T-Shirt

by:Jalofun      2020-08-22
T-shirts have been around for so many years it's hard to remember when people started wearing them on a daily basis! We started to see t-shirts more and more since the US Navy issued them as undergarments in 1913. By the 1920's the word t-shirt became an official American-English word and through until the 1950's t-shirts were worn under rough clothing and for sportswear. A Streetcar Named Desire brought them to the forefront of fashion when Marlon Brando wore one for the duration of the film in his iconic role of Stanley. It then became an outer wear garment and the plain white t-shirt is still a style staple to this day. Due to it's rise in popularity, business owners started advertising on them and Disney was one of the first to print a character on a t-shirt. The 1960's saw t-shirts becoming more personal and a lot more colorful! Tie dye kits were being sold for people to customize them however they wanted and in 1969 advertising genius Don Price produced and gave away hundreds of tie dyed t-shirts to the performers at Woodstock. Screen printing was becoming more successful in the 60's which started the craze for band t-shirts and designs such as The Rolling Stones 'tongue and lips' and Pink Floyd's prism were wanted by everyone. The 70's was the decade of the fun and tacky! Cartoon prints and ironic designs became a focal point for anyone's outfit and in 1977 Wells Rich Green developed a marketing campaign for New York which involved producing the famous I 'heart' NY shirts. This design has been seen in cities worldwide and is still as popular today. The 80's was when they really started to become fashionable and Miami Vice almost made them formal wear! T-shirts would be customized by being torn, cut and made into a vest. Women would wear them oversized over leggings and some girls even wore them as off the shoulder dresses. The band Frankie Goes To Hollywood produced their 'Frankie Says...' shirt in 1984 and the design was based on Katharine Hamnett's designs for the band Wham. In the 90's Hyper color t-shirts were big and changed color when touched. Looney Tunes and Disney characters were also popular motifs in the 90's and were often worn tucked into high waisted jeans.
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