the t-shirt – easily the most over-looked staple of anyone’s wardrobe. with the humid weather we experience in singapore, wearing a t-shirt is probably the most sensible choice, save for occasions when they are deemed sartorially-unacceptable (e.g. wedding dinner, funeral, etc.).
the story of the t-shirt is characterised by its humble beginnings as an undergarment in europe. yes, it was made of cotton, it was ‘t’ in shape and had an elastic ‘collarette’, but try wearing it as an outer layer back then. that is probably the traditional equivalent of parading downtown in a pink, furry neglige and a white brief today. the outrage! for more t-shirt history, click here.
the t-shirt has evolved from being a functional piece of clothing to an art form in itself. this is perhaps best exemplified by the collaboration between clothing brands and designers. amidst the dizzying array of options, my personal favourites are threadless and graniph. threadless is an american brand that sources for designs by offering prizes for top artworks (anyone can submit), whereas graniph, a japanese outfit, works with a regular stable of designers.
in terms of aesthetics, threadless t-shirts carry an old-school american flavour, with designs dominated by witty and quirky graphics and slogans, and are mainly earth-toned in colour. graniph t-shirt designs range from the plain to the plainly bizarre, with its international flavour clearly displayed by the use of slogans in english and some european languages. graniph designs can also be quite ‘loud’, with designers not afraid to throw in dashes of yellow and pink, or writing provocative texts.
as for availability, threadless t-shirts can be ordered online at US$10 each currently, with an additional $2 for shipping. bear in mind that the sizes on the website is american, so a good rule of thumb for asians is to buy one size smaller (e.g L to M). graniph, besides its website, has an official outlet in bugis junction (as well as stores in other countries), with each t-shirt going for S$35 and S$60 for 2. both brands produce a limited number of each design so the chances of bumping into someone wearing the same shirt is relatively low.
the t-shirt has certainly come a long way, from being an insignificant underwear in its infancy to becoming a platform for political slogans and today, a canvas for artistic and stylistic expression. let’s see, threadless is having a ‘back-to-school’ sale, maybe i should…
for more of my thoughts, click here.