How an 'Undershirt' became ‘THE T-SHIRT’

In India, almost every person owns at least 3-5 t-shirts. But, have you ever thought about how did this piece of garment become so irreplaceable in the world of fashion and in our culture?
The T-shirt was originally designed to be an undershirt. It then transformed into the most powerful part of Indian fashion and culture.
Read the following story to understand how a simple garment transformed the world of fashion and became a way for everyone to wear their personality! 
T-shirt: The Origins
The t-shirt has become an apparel icon today. The simple garment is deeply ingrained in Indian culture today. It’s easy to forget that, the t-shirt itself as an individual piece of clothing is relatively quite young.
In those times, the t-shirt’s fabric was created from wool and linen. So laborers could use them as a convenient covering for hot environments. But now, due to rise in demand for comfortable clothing, cotton is the norm. 
The origins of the t-shirt date back to the late 19th century. First, they cut the one piece ‘union suit’ into half, with the top long enough to tuck under the bottoms. 
The t-shirt was advertised as “bachelors undershirts” by Cooer Underwear Company In 1904. The U.S. Navy later issued them as official undergarments for their officers and sailors.
The T-shirt was easily cleaned, fitted and inexpensive; for those reasons, it became the shirt of choice for young boys. And to this day the t-shirt is still a significant part of both female and male audiance!

Still, only after F. Scott Fitzgerald published the word in his novel, the term ‘T-shirt’ was included in English dictionary.


The Cinema Effect
Until the early 20th century, t-shirts were almost only used underneath “proper” clothes.
Then came ‘Marlon Brando’ and ‘James Dean’.

In mid 90s, Marlon Brando famously donned a white t-shirt as ‘Stanley Kowalski’ in A Streetcar Named Desire, only to be followed by James Dean in 1955’s ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. Thanks to them, the t-shirt as a stand-alone garment became insanely popular.

The Birth Of Graphic T-shirts
By the same time, several companies began experimenting with garment decoration, but the field was still far from what would later turn into a multi-billion dollar industry of t-shirt printing.
Since the 1960s, T-shirts have flourished as a form of personal expression. Now Screen printed, DTG (Direct To Garment), DTF (Direct To Film) and other forms of T-shirts have been a standard form of marketing for major Indian consumer products.
These garments allow consumers to flaunt their taste for designer brands inexpensively, besides being decorative. Calvin Klein, FUBU, Ralph Lauren, American Apparel, and The Gap being a few of them.

Around this time, people realized the profit that was to be made in graphic t-shirts. And that the innovations to the print field, including the birth of screen printing, would help turn the t-shirt industry into what it is today.

The Medium for the Message
Today, in India, a t-shirt is being used to make social and ideological statements.
Everyone, from celebrities to common people, wore a series of tees called the “Roses are red”,  to propagate the importance of gender equality and consent. Urban India actively took part in the global feminism drive by wearing tees with “Girls just wanna have fun-damental rights” slogan.
T-shirts fluid nature creates an enormous market for variations.
People in India have already showed their love for meme and graphic t-shirts by buying the funny slogans by famous comedians like, ‘Biswa’ and ‘Aakash’.
Tanmay Bhat, co-founder of AIB says, “People visit our office and demand a tee. Every day, Instagram users pick something or the other we’ve said in a sketch or a podcast and ask us to put it on a tee.”
All of this to say, the t-shirt has become an essential garment worn around the world, and its unique ability to convey a message hasn’t gone anywhere.
The t-shirts are proven to be a preferred medium for sharing messages and telling their stories, ranging from rebellious to joyful and everything in between.
Do you have a message you want to spread? Are you trying to find the best way to show people who you are without actually saying anything? BROWOH!’s got your back!
We print trendy, minimal, and premium t-shirts, that’ll get everyone around you talking about you. With BROWOH! designs get YOUR story to speak even louder!

1 comment

    Nice Blog, Chaitanya!

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