Slogan T-shirts truly embody Rachel Zoe’s saying “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” We are willing to bet that you have more than a few slogan T-Shirts in your closet at this very moment, and that is the reason they are a cult classic; they are functional and send a message.
Both historical and cultural moments in time have been documented by Slogan T-shirts, including politics, social conditions and pop culture. More importantly, they showcase changes throughout the years in people’s values, beliefs, lifestyle choices and achievements. They can include one letter, a few sentences or simply a brand name.
Slogan T-shirts first came about during the 1960s psychedelic generation and were Tie-Dyed. John Lennon and Yoko Ono pushed for world peace with their T-shirt “War is Over! If You Want It. Love and Peace from John and Yoko.”
They used it as a tool to inform and unite. “John and Yoko have added another layer to rock ‘n’ roll, they showed how it can be a force for social change, not just a good time…so what you have is rock ‘n’ roll forming an alliance with the anti-war movement and influencing youth culture and that was very powerful” (Talbot p.19).
During the 70s and 80s rock bands harnessed the branding and sales power of these T-shirts. At concerts, T-shirts used to be a small part of the bands revenue. Today it is just the opposite, as musicians generate a large chunk of revenue from merchandise.
Next up for Slogan T-shirts was Punk. T-shirts had found their way into many subcultures, but none so prevalent as Punks who used graphics, music and behavior to push boundaries and challenge conformity.
According to industry professionals the “tourist T-shirt”, for example, I love London or I love NYC sell themselves. T-shirts documenting where you have visited are the new postcards.
So whatever your T-shirt means to you whether it be a souvenir from a trip, a symbolic reminder of a club or sports team or a T-shirt representative of your most core beliefs wear them knowing they are a style staple that is here to stay.
Talbot, Stephanie. Slogan T-shirts: Cult and Culture. London: A. & C. Black, 2013. Print.
“Keep Calm and Carry On Official Store Create & Design Your Own Products!” Web. 28 Jan. 2016.
Photos by Jacqueline Wammes