For many children, the t- viking shirt emblazoned with a current favourite TV icon normally ranks amongst their most prized possessions, and for t- viking shirt manufacturers, producing such garments can be an extremely lucrative market. In fact, think of any cartoon character – from the Mr. Men to Walt Disney’s Donald Duck – and you’ll likely find a t- viking shirt to match.
Although the origins of the t- viking shirt can be traced back to the First World War, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the garment moved away from its plain exterior, as companies in the United States began experimenting with adding letter and character decorations to the material. The 1960s saw the introduction of the ‘Ringer’-style t-shirt, a t- viking shirt where the jersey is one colour, while the ribbing around the collar and sleeves is a different, contrasting colour quickly became popular with youths and rock-n-roll fans. The style enjoyed another brief renaissance in the early 2000s.
The same period also saw the emergence of tie-dyeing and screen-printing which led to a massive boom in customised t-shirts, especially throughout the heavy metal era of the 1970s, once bands of that era realised the commercial opportunities available to them. Bands and musical groups began to mass produce t-shirts to promote themselves, many of which would feature album covers and logos on the front, while on the back fans would find tour details and concert dates. These proved to be hugely popular with concert-goers and this trend has continued on with unwavering popularity into today’s subcultures.
During the early 1980s, some musical bands chose instead to emblazon promotional t-shirts with slogans instead of graphics. For instance, the Frankie Goes To Hollywood ‘Frankie Says…’ and Wham!’s ‘Choose Life’ t-shirts became synonymous with 80’s pop culture and could be seen in every town and street in Britain. From the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, t-shirts with prominent designer-name logos were also extremely popular and allowed consumers to exhibit their taste in designer brands in a less expensive manner, while retaining their sense of fashion. Among the many major brands to produce t-shirts for a massed public included Calvin Klein, FUBU and Ralph Lauren.
There have been many fashion trends involving t-shirts. Although they were originally worn as undershirts, often in place of vests, t-shirts are now more frequently worn as the only upper body garment. T-shirts have also become a standard for expressiveness and advertising, with an unimaginable combination of words, graphics and photographs being utilised to decorate garments for wear. Other t- viking shirt fashions include wearing over-size t-shirts, as seen in modern hip-hop fashion, tight-fitting ‘girly-fit’ t-shirts which are short enough to reveal the midriff, and wearing a short sleeved t- viking shirt over a long sleeved t- viking shirt of a different colour.
For adults, perhaps one of the most notable fashion trends in recent years involves wearing t-shirts which feature cartoon and TV characters which hearken back to the wearer’s childhood. With the much-touted 80s revival and the current resurgence of yesteryear’s TV being remade into Hollywood blockbusters or enjoying a TV renaissance, men’s t-shirts have seen increased demand for t-shirts proclaiming the wearer to be a fan of the latest incarnations of Transformers, Spiderman, Dukes Of Hazzard, The A-Team and Knight Rider, among many other 80s favourites.
However, t-shirts featuring cartoon characters from the 80s and even earlier have proven to be equally popular with young adults, both men and women alike, eager to revisit their younger days with ranges including Thundercats, Mr Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man and M.A.S.K also readily available and waiting to be seen on the High Street!
write by Thekla