The cult status of the T-shirt has made its impression on our cultural psychic since the 1950’s although it has been in existence for a lot longer - AD 500, who knew?
Many an artist and designer have used the T-shirt to be subversive, to communicate a message, to act as a political tool and or raise awareness of a specific topic.
Viewing the T-shirts especially those by Vivienne Westwood was a great reminder of both my inspiration and why I created my brand in the first place.
It reminded me of the core concepts I wanted to create with the brand:
- inspire a conversation
- act as a performative medium within art
- art as fashion
- political activism
- raise awareness regarding inclusion, equality and ethnic representation
T-shirts being made of the material they are serve as the perfect surface in which to be creative and showcase a message both visually and in written form. Which was the exact reason for them being my choice of garment. They are flexible, they can be worn casually or dressed up and they can be adorned in so many ways, the outcomes are endless. It is an exciting medium.
Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren knew all too well how powerful the T-shirt could be as a political tool especially during the 1980’s at the height of Thatcherism and the mobilisation of the Punk movement. It was great seeing some of them because it reminded me of the artistic outlet that could be, the creative potential that I had only just touched upon. It was very inspiring.
Vivienne Westwood as a designer in her right and with her beau still use T-shirts as a platform to raise awareness of various issues around the world, notably racism in the case of the 'I am not a terrorist please don's shoot me' in response to racial profiling of Muslims and the rise in hate crime. Along with climate change, which is huge on their agenda at the moment and has been for some time. I love the fact that she is still using them as a tool in which to raise awareness. People wearing them inadvertently showcase their support either silently or by being the conversation starter literally. This is what I would love to achieve.
Creating that platform is key as is getting the visibility, which is the tough part at the moment. Getting in contact with the right people is stepping stone number one, stepping stone number two is getting them to take notice...