So the second Elizabethan age has not been without its fashion moments. The 50’s saw the 1st rebellion of teenagers who for the first time wore clothes that weren’t the same as thier parents, the freedom that we have now was unheard of. The 1st fashion revolution began with the Teddy Boys and has never stopped growing, Every subculture began with the need of self expression.
The swinging 60’s saw the teenage dominance of fashion grow again with the mini skirt, with Mary Quant & Twiggy leading the way. The 70’s were Hippie Chic and a all love, peace and flower power and in stark contract Punk with DIY fashion and safety pins there design choice. 80’s saw women taking to the business world with Power Dressing. The 90’s was all Herion chic and saw a rise in body piercing and Tattoo’s. The noughties saw the influence of celebrities and throw away fashion influence our shopping habbits.
From Biba to Ossie Clarke, Vivienne Westwood to Alexander McQueen, the most groundbreaking inspiring designers have emerged from the British Fashion Scene, I am not the only one in agreement, in the top French, Italian and American fashion house British designers are influencing fashion around the world .
From Carnaby Street in the 1960s to Glastonbury in the 2000s, the Queen’s country has led the world in street fashion. The slogan t-shirt has been around for literally decades, with the 1st being sold in London’s Kings Road by Mr Freedom. The designs have changed from Disney characters to shock political slogans such as “Destroy” designed by Vivienne Westwood and partner Malcolm McLaren, which they referred to as the ultimate punk-rock T-shirt. It was the 80’s that the slogan T-shirt reached saturation point because of Katharine Hamnett, dressed in a “58% Don’t Want Pershing” T-shirt, she was photographed shaking hands with the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher at a Downing Street reception for London fashion week designers in 1984. Her designs were copied world wide with megastars such as Wham wearing slogan T-shirts such as “Number One” and “Choose Life”, to “Frankie Says Relax”, “Just Do It” to J’Adore Dior. Sixty years ago, the slogan T-shirt simply didn’t exist; now, there is one in most wardrobes. (Before you exclude yourself: what about that FCUK T-shirt you wear to do the gardening?)
Fashion has always been about communication, and the slogan T-shirt shows how communication has changed, wearing a slogan T-shirt is a modern form of tribal branding. We are less interested in listening to received wisdom (whether these be dress codes or expert analysis of the world around us) and more interested in telling the world what we think (by wearing a slogan T-shirt or by posting our views on social media).
In the last decade, as fashion has taken an ever more central position in pop culture, slogans have become increasingly self-referential: think of Carrie Bradshaw wearing a J’Adore Dior T-shirt in Sex and the City, and the designer name-dropping T-shirts with which Henry Holland made his name at London fashion week.
With the reasuregance in DIY fashion I think that slogan T-shirts will be around for decades to come, the sad thing is that the slogans of the 80’s would still be relevant today. These problems- Nuclear Weapons, World Hunger and Faminie are still around. I would wear a Katharine Hamnett design with pride.