The Birth of the Printed Tee

Posted by thetshirtco 10/06/2019 0 Comment(s)



The history behind the world’s most expressive garment, the T-Shirt.


Lions and tigers and… Printed Tees? Oh my! Since it’s official birth in the Wizard of Oz’s “Emerald City” in 1939, the printed T-Shirt has taken the world by storm – shirt by shirt.


Creatively named after the “T” shape of its sleeves and body, the T-Shirt is one of the most sold & worn clothing garments in the world. With one of the most varying price-tags, Tee’s have been snapped up anywhere between a few cents to a couple hundred thousand dollars. Luckily, ours start at $12.95 and won’t break your bank account.


The earliest T-Shirt dates back to a time between 1898 and 1913, when they were initially worn as an under-garment in the U.S. Navy. Initially cut with a crew-neck with short sleeves, no buttons and made from cotton, the first T-Shirt was worn underneath a uniform. The undergarment became widely popular across many industries; amongst agricultural workers and other professions.

Soon enough, the Navy members & other workers were seen sporting their T-Shirts around without their uniform after work hours. The T-Shirt became a widely worn and loved garment; cheap to make, and simple yet appropriate in appearance.


After its first media appearance in the Wizard of Oz, printed Tees gained more traction. When the 60’s rolled around, the T-Shirt was seen as a vessel for self-expression - to create change and make statements. Slapped with a slogan or an image, the T-Shirt was finally dubbed as “cool”, and an easy way to tell the world who you were. Musicians began rocking their own band Tees and using these as promotional materials to sell. To this day, the original band shirts of Jimi Hendrix, The Ramones and The Rolling Stones are still viewed as iconic & fashionable in
current standards.


Soon enough, larger and more corporate brands jumped on the printed Tee bandwagon. Nike, Country Road, Calvin Klein and other major brands released T-Shirts featuring their logo. A clever way to place their logo in the eye of the public whilst generating income, many brands jumped on the idea of having their loyal consumers advertise for free. Here, we saw the birth of streetwear.


Enter Stüssy, Supreme and Billabong – all born in the 90’s. Initially a relatively subversive market and small movement, streetwear was bred by surfers, skaters and hip-hop circles. Creating a cult environment, the streetwear brands had a strong following and community-feel, bringing people closer and uniting them one tee at a time.



As one of the most popular and worn clothing item in the world, it’s hard to go a day without spying at least 5 T-Shirts sported out and about. From the iconic
“I ❤️NYC”, to Vote For Pedro, to Mickey Mouse and more; there’s a tee for everyone, and every occasion.


Nowadays, we have the facilities to have more fun than ever with our T-Shirts; being an affordable option to rocking around your own design. We truly believe custom T-Shirts are an avenue for change, for self-expression and a canvas for your creativity. Whether it be your favourite food, an inside-joke, your beloved dog, your besties face, a cause you believe in strongly, or your fave quote – you think it, we’ll print it. 

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