The T-shirt Turns 100

by Larry Triplett

In 1913, the T-shirt as we now know it made its appearance as standard-issue gear for the US Navy. Lightweight and cool, they were easy to care for and popular with sailors. It didn’t take long for the Army to follow suite, and before long they became commercially available. But who could have guessed at that time what an impact the T-shirt would have? Nobody would have predicted that it would be an essential part of the American wardrobe a century later. The simple construction of the T-shirt has made it ideal for displaying a message. Advertisers quickly recognized that a person wearing a T-shirt becomes a walking billboard. They learned that consumers would happily wear their shirts, delivering that advertising for free.¬†Even better, they discovered that shirts with attractive designs could be sold, not just given away. Talk about a win-win!

The famous "I'm with stupid" design has been popular for T-shirts

The retail marketplace is loaded with iconic designs that celebrate cultural trends and milestones. Fundraisers have learned that they can earn a lot of money by selling decorated shirts that they hope will become equally popular. Speaking of decoration, while screen printing is the most common method, there are many other techniques used to create eye-catching designs. Check out our review in a recent newsletter. Meanwhile, let’s see if we can blow out those 100 candles!

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