Original Graphic by Alison Yousefi
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I'm forever fascinated by the reasons we choose to wear what we wear, so I've long been thinking about the semantics and potential motivations behind all the motif-emblazoned T-shirts I see on a daily basis. From designer branded crewnecks that go crazy on the streets (hey there, Gucci and Dior) through to the motifs and slogans that generate surprise cult buys (see this £40 French tee for starters), slogans and logos are omnipresent.
To get some inside knowledge on what our current T-shirt obsession could say about us, I caught up with my key contact, Carolyn Mair, Ph.D., a chartered psychologist who specialises in the field of fashion. Keep going to see her answers to my burning questions, and then carry on to shop some of the best logo tees around.
What could be the different motivations for wearing a slogan tee?
Mair tells me that there are three primary reasons we choose to wear a slogan tee:
1. To make an explicit political (or other) statement.
2. To follow fashion trends.
3. To draw attention to yourself through your clothing.
Do you reside in one of these camps, or can you tick a few boxes at once?
Is this really a literal way to get what you want to say across?
"It does get what you want to say out into the world, or at least those you interact with, but there other ways to do this so wearing our concerns (or other) on our tees also says something else," explains Mair. "It says we're not afraid to make a point in public and that we can handle the feedback or response. This is particularly true for political statements." A trend that is particularly apt right now—activism was alive and well throughout NYFW's runways, with Prabal Gurung's statement tees heading straight out onto the street (above).
"There may be certain slogans that individuals would be prepared to wear with their partner or peer group and less confident to wear when they're on their own," she explains. "There are complex individual differences that could account for this which include personality, mood and strength of belief in the meaning of the slogan."
Can a slogo tee give off the wrong impression?
"Definitely. Any political statement may be interpreted by others as conforming to or being against their views," says Carolyn. "Depending what the slogan is, it can also label us as belonging to a particular group. There may be cultural differences in the interpretation of the slogan, and this is particularly risky with slogans that are intended to be humorous or ironic."
What do designer logos imply?
"It says they buy into the brand personality and the lifestyle that brand represents. This may be more powerful than the slogan to viewers and more meaningful than the slogan for the wearer," says Mair. Then everyone must be very into Gucci's brand vibe.
Why does the trend keep going and going?
"Clothing is a great way to make a statement. And as we can wear practical outfits now and still look on trend, a tee with a slogan can be something that can make us stand out and also stand up for a cause at the same time," she says.
So there you have it: Your slogan tee really can say something about you (both good and potentially bad, depending on the situation!), and all signs point towards the trend getting bigger for autumn/winter 2017. Which leads us to shopping the best versions in the market now: Shop our favourite slogan T-shirt picks below.
Tie-dye takes this trend to the next level.