Category Archives: Printing Industry

T-Shirt turns 100

This year marks the 100th birthday of an item that most of us take for granted…The T-Shirt!

I’m guessing most people probably think (like me) the t-shirt has been round since time began, certainly more than 100 years anyway.  But no, in 1913 the first t-shirt was released to the US navy to be worn under the uniforms. From this point on, the humble t-shirt started its journey.

T-shirts were mainly used for training, chores and workout purposes as they were cheap and easy to clean. In the 30’s, American Universities gave their football teams t-shirts that shown they were the property of the University. These ended up being sought after garments and were stolen by other students to wear around the campus.  These designs and t-shirts are still used today; they are more fashionable than ever before!

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that t-shirts were having colour prints put on them. The earliest printed shirt was perhaps the Air Corps Gunnery School T-shirt featured in 1942 on the July 13th cover of LIFE magazine. Mickey Mouse would follow suit a few years later as an exclusively licensed print.

The t-shirt hit its fame and love of the people in the late 40’s. The legendary movie star, Marlon Brando wore one in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” This is when the t-shirt became the great fashionable outer garment we know today.

From this point on the t-shirt reached new heights and explored new possible ways of attracting people. Slogans, adverts, messages and even political supports were front and centre of the simple t-shirt. New designs were being printed and created daily. Everybody wanted their own stamp on t-shirts. Some of the most iconic logos/symbols in life have been bought to us through t-shirts.

Here at Lemon Fish clothing, we see t-shirts every day. It’s hard to run away from them, they are everywhere! Even in a short period of time, we see new and interesting ways of giving t-shirts a personality to stand out from the rest. It may be new designs or new ways of printing. Every t-shirt has a story and it begins as soon as it’s put on for the first time.

So we are now in the t-shirts 100th year and I imagine we will be blessed with many more. T-shirts carry so many memories and travel everywhere with you. They get torn, dirty, smelly, faded, stretched and shrunk but we still wear them, they are a part of us. We have t-shirts for all occasions whether it’s a nice stylish one or a scruffy one you keep in the draw for when you need to paint the fence. T-shirts have and will always be around; they will always be wanted and needed. They become treasured and comfortable for us. We all have a favourite and ones we can’t seem to throw away, even though we never wear them!

So next time you put a t-shirt on, throw one across the room, use one as a towel, clean the car with or still have the tags on, have a think, what would I and who would I be without my t-shirt.

Happy 100th Birthday T-Shirt!