Images Business of Fashion puts together top 30 t-shirts of all time that have not only created the statement but also evolved t-shirts as a category.
Completing its journey of a hundred years, t-shirts are now one of the apparels which are widely used across generations by different age groups. The army and navy troops were pioneer to war t-shirts as a piece of underclothing. Soon, they became a regular issue to all the armed services. T-shirts were brought into fashion by movie stars in 50s, tie and dye in 60s, art in 70s and rock stars in 90s. Have a glamce at the top 30 t-shirts of all time.
WORLD WAR I & II
During world war I and II army and navy soldiers were wearing t-shirts as undergarment. An oiler, Arnold R Fesser is seen wearing a white, short sleeve and round-neck t-shirt while working.
The legendary actor used a plain white v-collared t-shirt in A Streetcar Named Desire after which t-shirts gained popularity as a standalone outerwear garment. Brando’s style took the piece of garment to be a cinematic icon.
AIR CORPS GUNNERY SCHOOL T-SHIRT
The t-shirt appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1942, in which a man was holding a rifle and sporting a white cap. The white t-shirt read, Air Corps Gunnery School
TIE & DYE
T-shirts made by folding, twisting, pleating or crumpling and binding with a string, followed by application of dye were quite popular in 1960s. Colourful in nature, these t-shirts gained popularity in the late 1960s.
TROPIX TOGS DISNEY T-SHIRTS
Sam Kantor’s Tropix Togs was the first ever company that had the licensed to manufacture t-shirts with Walt Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse.
Ernesto Guevara Lynch de la Serna was an Argentinian Marxist revolutionary who lived through 1928-1967. With his dedication to violent and ?amboyant action, Che became a legend and an idol for the revolutionary – and discontented – youth between late 60s and early 70’s.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa and is known for being South Africa’s ? rst black chief executive. He inspired many young rebels to ?ght against injustice. He also published his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
MARTIN LUTHER KING
The leader of the African-American civil rights movement was a black man who was considered an icon by the masses. He followed civil disobedience to achieve advancements in civil rights. His face has been used in t-shirts posthumously.
CRUELLA DE VIL
Cruella de Vil is the main antagonist of Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians and is a pampered and glamorous London heiress. Cruella’s name is a pun of the words cruel and devil to turn them into a French-sounding woman’s name. In all her incarnations, Cruella kidnaps Dalmatian puppies for their fur.
The Joker is a ?ctional character and a comic book supervillain, created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane. He is introduced as a psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the character became a goofy prankster. One of the most iconic characters in popular culture, the Joker has been cited as one of the greatest comic book villains and ? ctional characters ever created.
Led Zeppelin is one of the most popular and successful classic rock bands of all time, idolised and emulated by many. The band is known for its psychedelic sound and ?amboyant fashion sense. In fact, the members of Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and John Bonham) kept their styles simple during their downtime but onstage it was a completely different story. The t-shirts are inspired by their fashion sense.
Metallica is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. The band’s fast tempos, instrumentals, and aggressive musicianship placed them as one of the founding big four of thrash metal alongside Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. The band earned a growing fan base in the underground music community and critical acclaim with its ?rst four albums. Hence, the band was also featured by the t-shirt industry.
THE ROLLING STONES
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band from London formed in 1962. The band is notable in modern popular music for assimilating various musical genres into their own collective sound. Their musical contributions have been marked by a continual reference and reliance on musical styles including blues, rhythm and blues, country, folk, reggae, dance, and world music,
The Beatles is an English rock band that was formed in Liverpool during 1960 by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The songs composed and spread by the band had a huge impact on the listeners and even compelled them to wear dresses with trademark Beatles pose and instruments.
English heavy metal vocalist, Ozzy Osbourne rose to prominence in early 1970. The lead vocalist of the pioneering band, Black Sabbath’s dark and heavy sound had often been cited as key to the development of the heavy metal genre. Later, the Grammy Award winner was festooned on the t-shirts.
He was a Jamaican reggae singer-songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved International fame. His songs spoke of life on the streets, politics and religion. Died in 1981, Marley was a global superstar before dying of cancer at the young age of 36.
Captain America was an American soldier in World War II who was given a serum that transformed him into a physically perfect human. He wears a patriotic costume, wields an indestructible circular shield and ?ghts for American ideals of liberty and justice. This makes him wanted and loved by the native Americans, later he was designed on the t-shirts.
Rocketed to Earth as an infant from the doomed planet Krypton, Kal-El was adopted by the loving Kent family and raised in America’s heartland as Clark Kent. Using his immense solar-fueled powers, he became Superman to defend mankind against all manner of threats while championing truth, justice and the American way. The team of writer, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster made the superman t-shirts popular.
The Punisher is a ? ctional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita, who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence and torture in his war on crime. His brutal nature and willingness to kill made him a novel character and was hence used as a t-shirt graphic.
Hulk created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is portrayed as a large green humanoid that is an alter ego of socially withdrawn Bruce Banner. Hulk possesses near limitless superhuman strength and great invulnerability, attributes that grow more potent the angrier he becomes.
Captain America was an American soldier in World War II who was given a serum that transformed him into a physically perfect human. He wears a patriotic costume, wields an indestructible circular shield and fights for American ideals of liberty and justice. This makes him wanted and loved by the native Americans, later he was designed on the t-shirts.
The DC Comics star, Green Lantern, introduced in 1940, is a rage among masses. Hence, the character was converted into t-shirts. They also have been adapted into TV shows, video games and a motion picture that popularised its adaptation in the fashion level.JUSTICE
Justice League is a fi ctional superhero team that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The team features Superman, Batman, Wonder woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter. The team of superheroes combined in one team makes them dearer.
In the 1950s the Peace sign was designed as the logo for the British campaign for Nuclear Disarmament by Gerald Holtom. The symbol is a combination of the semaphore signals for the letters N and D, standing for Nuclear Disarmament. In semaphore the letter N is formed by a person holding two ?ags in an inverted V. The letter D is formed by holding one ?ag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. Superimposing these two signs forms the shape of the centre of the peace symbol.
YIN & YANG
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang, are concepts that are used to describe how contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent. Firm philosophy believers have belief that there must be a balance in nature that must not be disturbed.
I LOVE NY
I Love New York t-shirt came in 1977, perhaps after the popularity of ‘I love New York’ song. Howver, they were also used to promote the New York state tourism. The logo of the campaign makes the t-shirts look Stylish.
The beverage manufacturing company also manufactures merchandises such as t-shirts, accessories and home furnishings. The printed t-shirts sometimes include reversal of colours of the logo. The garments incorporate latest fashion trends according to the ongoing seasons.
The club was founded in 1899 by a group of Swiss, English and Catalan footballers led by Joan Gamper. The club became a symbol of Catalan culture and Catalanism, and believes in the motto-more than a club. Barcelona is one of the most supported teams in the world, and has the largest fan base among all sports teams. Star player Lionel Messi is the highlight of the team.
BLEED BLUE CAMPAIGN
During 2011 cricket world cup, Nike came up with a digital campaign, Bleed Blue. The campaign was introduced to support the national team and became hit amongst the masses. Hence, the concept started getting space on the t-shirts.
English professional football club, Manchester United Football Club is based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester that plays in the Premier League. It is the third richest football club in the world. The club has been nicknamed The Red Devils.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Kolkata Knight Riders is a cricket franchise representing Kolkata in the Indian Premier League. It is owned by the Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s company Red Chillies Entertainment in partnership with actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta, from the Mehta Group. The of? cial theme of the team is Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re.
One of the most successful clubs in English football, Arsenal Football Club was founded in 1886, in Woolwich. It is also the ?rst club from the south of England to join the Football League. The club also supports a ladies fan club called Arsenal Ladies.