THE RISE OF THE GRAPHIC TEE: THE TIMELESS ALLURE OF SCREEN PRINTING’S STAR MATERIAL
The plain white T-shirt is not only an American staple fashion item but also the perfect canvas over which to layer the perfect outfit for any given day of the year. They first began to pop up around the turn of the century and were largely popularized in the American military in World War I. But it wasn’t until the 1940’s and 1950’s when the T-shirt became a common casual item. From there, the graphic tee was born, and we at Rocky Mountain Apparel are forever grateful.
Multiple sources online verify the Cooper Underwear Company made the first mainstream crew-neck style tee shirt for men, which was largely based on traditional base layers worn under clothing before the turn of the century. However, the T-shirt’s name offers up some conflicting narratives in the simple Google search. One camp believes the popular top’s name comes from it’s simplistic, letter-T-like shape when laid out flat; another reads further into the name, assuming it comes from it’s original military use, where the letter T is short for “training”.
Regardless of who popularized the T-shirt and who’s responsible for its name, it’s now become a commonplace item in American fashion that most could not imagine living without. T-shirts can range from casual, borderline-pajama items to trendy, fitted pieces to underscore professional or fancified wardrobe staples and complete a look.
T-shirts that highlighted specific musical acts came around in the 1960’s, as the rock and psychedelic movements took flight. Later on, the trend would head to major corporations that would profit off the merchandise itself and related profits of those wearing logos around as free advertising after the purchase was over. In short, graphic T’s were one part brand advertising and also a mechanism of fitting into mainstream culture by expressing one’s interest in popular games, singers, and movies.
At Rocky Mountain Apparel, we specialize in graphic design and communicating a message that is unapologetically and accurately you for the world to see. Call us to schedule an order or to concept your next design now!