It was in the mid 1950s that the Graphic design t-shirt was born. The creation of Plastisol, an ink that is still in use today, gave great freedom to designers to use their creativity when designing graphics for t-shirts. Over the decades, graphic t-shirts have evolved in some ways, but the basic nature of the design remains.
Graphic tees provide the platform of expression. Have you ever read some of the funny sayings on t-shirts? You can put things on t-shirts that you can’t express in any other way. When see some of the things that are on these unbelievably funny t-shirts, in between laughing you have to ask yourself what they could have been thinking when they designed that graphic.
There are many that believed that graphic t-shirts would be like all other fashion trends, they would have their day and then they would give way to new trends. This, however, has definitely not been the case. The 70s was the era that saw the fashion industry stamping their logos and brands on t-shirts. Who would have every believed graphic t-shirts would literally become their own fashion statement. Graphic tees were here to stay.
Although companies use t-shirts as branding and marketing tools and organizations use them for mobilization initiatives, the truth is that graphic t-shirts and the endless designs that people put of them are the ultimate expression of freedom. No matter how colorful, simple or silly an idea may be, it can find a place on a graphic t-shirt. If you can think it, you can put it on a shirt.
What is it about graphic tees that cause them to defy fashion logic? What keeps them in the game when so many other fashion concepts have fallen to the fashion gods? I believe the answer is somewhat like the graphic t-shirt itself, ambiguous and shifty. I have put together a list of five reasons why the graphic tee does not conform to the universal rules of fashion, keeping it in style for decades.
- Universal Appeal — Is there anyone you know that does not own a graphic tee? No matter how stiff necked or tight a person is, they own at least one graphic t-shirt and I will bet that they are not as tight and stiff when they are wearing it. Graphic tees speak to everyone in a universal language of freedom and creativity.
- Diversity — Graphic tees span the gamut in color, texture, thickness and fit. It is extremely difficult to squeeze a graphic tee into one particular category. It can be worn to fit and reveal or it can be loose and relaxing. It can be worn to lounge or become the centerpiece of a fashion statement. In fact a single graphic tee takes on an entirely different persona each time you wear it. There are funny t-shirts, goofy t-shirts, there are endless ways to create funny tees.
- The Bearer of Its Fate — Because a person can get virtually anything they want printed on a t-shirt, the graphic tee does not have to submit to the whim of the fashion houses and ultra designers that determine what is chic. The graphic tee has literally created its own set of rules and taken on a life of its own. Where most clothing items are the result of fashion, the graphic tee consistently redefines fashion. Simply change the graphic and you change the shirt.
- Iconic — When you think about it, the graphic tee has become a universal icon. It is the last one standing every time. The second grader has his favorite cartoon character pasted on the front of his tee. His teacher has her favorite quote on the front of hers. The teenage girl has her favorite band on her tee. The graphic tee has literally become larger than life.
- The Simplifier — At a time in history when everyone is so uptight and serious, the graphic tee presents a platform that sends a message that says chill, relax, let it go. Who hasn’t been walking down the street with 10,000 things on your mind, and all of a sudden someone will pass by you with a shirt that has something totally thrown-off on their it and you are immediately break out in laughter. Not only do graphic tees allow you to step back from life, they simplicity in themselves. You can get a great graphic without a great deal of thought and little detail and it and it will brighten up a room, make others smile, and so much more.
The graphic tee is the anti-fashion fashion statement.
- License: Image author owned
Rachel Gibbons is a fashion enthusiasts blogging about the latest trends, do-and-dont’s, and timeless classics like funny graphic t-shirts.