The T-shirt (A blank canvas)
Posted in Urban Life
From humble beginnings, the classic T-shirt transformed itself from a basic utilitarian garment into a postmodernist signboard that promoted and expressed personal and individual beliefs. The unassuming T-shirt is one of the most underrated assets in your wardrobe. Even when in winter and it is hidden under your statement outerwear, it is still there, ever-present.
In the 1960s-70s, the quest to define ‘self’ amongst postmodernist youth culture was paralleled by popularity and the rise of the t-shirt. This new consumerist-led society relied on diversity and changeability, which was precisely what the inexpensive t-shirt offered.
Like denim jeans, T-shirts have become cultural icons, and are frequently considered within a paradigm of sociability and capitalism. This is why we are seeing an ever-increasing vision of self-expression and individuality today within the fashion realms. Designers are expressing their feeling through their creations and the street is scattered (with all ages) demonstrating their personal beliefs et al. Essentially, the pictorial pluralism that this simple item offers includes expressions of social or political beliefs, likes and interests. The T-shirt is certainly now renowned for being an advertisement for commercial products or a medium for self-expression.
In recent years, with streetwear trends infiltrating high fashion along with plagiarized brands producing retro and original designs, graphic prints have returned in a more desirable manner.
Legacy fashion houses with iconic prints, logos or emblems like, Gucci, Burberry and Chanel, have elevated the structure, by placing their designs at the forefront of their collections. Therefore, this return to display such loud proclamations through a logo has enhanced the T-shirts simple way in how it adds identity to a look.
The T-shirt has been described as a form of a political poster and even as a graphic tool, especially for the younger generations. By the 1960s, with the introduction to printing ink, spray paint and transfers, the mass production gathered speed, and therefore acknowledged as a medium for exploiting.
We live in a world of nostalgia, and especially so within fashion. We are constantly being informed of certain decades, revivals and comebacks. Where T-shirts are concerned, this can certainly be said in the usage of big rock bands that were around in the 1970s onwards.
In art, like fashion, the T-shirt has been used to reflect the culture of streetwear and everyday, and slogan tees have become art forms in their own right. Yet, more proof in how art and fashion do collide under the same heading. As we continue in an age of self-expression through extremes, with the help of social media and personal accounts, it is no wonder that the basic T-shirt continues to be a blank canvas for such personal thoughts, beliefs and messages to the world.
Victoria Tozzi Lidster xx
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