Though the inventor’s name has been lost in the mists of time, and there is some debate about when it was born (though shirts themselves have been around since ancient Egypt, popular wisdom holds that the t-shirt, in the form we know it, was born during either World War I or II and was a purely utilitarian garment), the humble t-shirt is generally considered a wardrobe staple for both sexes.
A recurring problem however is that though there are a vast number of options when one is looking for a plain t-shirt (from the Hanes 3-pack, via American Apparel’s popular tri-blend v-neck, to The Row’s indulgently luxurious versions) historically it’s been remarkably difficult to find a t-shirt featuring a design or slogan that was neither music related nor hopelessly sophomoric. Thankfully there are a few options out there.
In the U.S., Blood Is The New Black, uses t-shirts as canvases to showcase the work of up-and-coming artists and illustrators. While in Japan Uniqlo adds another element to the search for emerging artists by running its UT Grand Prix competition. Held annually since 2004 it allows anyone, from anywhere in the world, to submit their designs – the results are multi-cultural and a definite step up from “My sister went to London and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”.