History of slogan t-shirts (+ Henry Holland’s naughty pants)
Sometimes you just want to throw on a t-shirt with skinny jeans or leggings, whatever the season or the current trends and the slogan t-shirt is perfect! We love Mena Suvari’s look with chunky gold jewelry and tough boots complementing her Henry Holland t-shirt.
While slogan t-shirts apparently first hit the shops in the 1960s, they came into their own a decade later thanks to Vivienne Westwood’s iconic ‘Destroy’ design – the ultimate punk statement. The DIY look caught on with people making their own at home – it’s a funny image for us…a hard punk getting out the glitter glue etc (ok, not quite!)
Katherine Hamnett became synonymous with the slogan t-shirt in the 1980s after dressing in a protest t-shirt that read: “58% Don’t Want Pershing” to meet then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984. But we think of the designs most being worn by 80s popstars such as Wham (Choose Life!) and Frankie Goes to Hollywood (Frankie Says Relax!)
She reportedly said: “I wanted to put a really large message on T-shirts that could be read from 20 or 30ft away. Slogans work on so many different levels; they’re almost subliminal. They’re also a way of people aligning themselves to a cause. They’re tribal. Wearing one is like branding yourself.”
More recently, Henry Holland took ownership of the slogan t-shirt producing a series of fashion joke t-shirts in 2006 (‘Do Me Daily Christopher Bailey’ and ‘Get Your Freak On Giles Deacon’) and later on text-message inspired shirts as worn by Mena, turning the slogan genre from political statements to a bit of fun.
Inspired by Mena I will be pulling out my slogan t-shirt tomorrow that I bought from Uniqlo last year in the Antoni + Alison collaboration.
Now Henry Holland is taking the slogan a step further with a risqué line of pants hinting at hair colour- we’ll say no more.
Pants aside, will the slogan t-shirt ever go out of fashion? We hope not!