Showing 2 posts tagged tees
Take notes from the T-shirt, everyone: It’s old as dirt but it knows how to reinvent itself. At Fab, we’re sort of obsessed. But, just like the rest of the general population, we often take the things we love for granted. Aside from being an awesome platform for causes, trends, and super abrasive opinions, the T-shirt has a pretty darn interesting history. Let’s explore it, shall we?
What began as a Navy Staple in 1913, quickly spread to miners, factory workers, farmers, and mechanics at home. A college football team called The Trojans wanted an “inexpensive garment that could easily absorb sweat to prevent a player’s shoulder pads from causing chafing,” (doesn’t everyone?) and in 1942, a strapping (and we mean strapping) young man sported a tee on the cover of Life Magazine. The only thing more eye-grabbing than the giant gun he carried with two hands was his more-than-form-fitting tee, emblazoned with his gunnery school’s logo.
Another hunky dude, this one of more notoriety, took the T-shirt torch in 1951. It was Marlon Brando, hottest person in history, in A Streetcar Named Desire. His hyper-sexual portrayal of the animalistic Stanley Kowalski prompted tee sales to hit $180 million by year’s end. A tight shirt and a little bit of sweat goes a long way.
The 1960s saw the birth of the concert tee, and the political tee came about in 1967. It was the hippie’s bread and butter. From Cesar Chavez and pop artwork to polluted lungs and messages about war and peace: If your tee didn’t have a message, you had no business wearing it. Yes, we’re talking to you, young Brando.
Advertising genius Don Price was tasked with reinventing a failing dye company in 1969. He turned a simple white tee into a psychedelic entity known as tie-dye and handed out samples to attendees and performers at a little bitty outdoor concert called Woodstock. The dye company stopped failing.
The 1970s brought about ironic tees (which were just as annoying then as they are now) but it was 1977 that brought the switch from ironic to iconic. New York City found itself in a boat that looked a lot like that failing dye company’s… only with record homicides and drug wars. When an ad agency developed a marketing campaign to attract tourists to the crime-ridden metropolis, the legendary designer Milton Glaser came to the rescue. He created the I Love New York tee, and the rest is history.
After that, Frankie went to Hollywood and told the world to Relax, feminists continued to sport the conveniently gender-neutral garment, Don Johnson’s character in Miami Vice paired his fluorescent favorites with suit jackets (unfortunately), and the tee was elevated from the street to high fashion when supermodels embraced the simple style statement in the 1990s. From fashion magazines to runways, it was sexy again.
Today, the tee is what you make it. Memes, slogans, inside jokes that no one but you and your college dormitory understand: More than ever, T-shirts are vehicles for self-expression. Don’t believe us? Take a look at our curated collection of the little undergarment that could.