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Of course, it is the T-shirt. But do you know its origin? Who was the first to make it popular? And the place and price of the most expensive T-shirt in the world? You will find all the answers and even more facts about them already in the next paragraph.
How is the T-shirt born?
Although this garment may vary widely in appearance and material properties, it most often begins its life in cotton farms in the United States, China or India. In such farms cotton seeds are seeded, watered and irrigated and are grown until the plant grows fluffy cotton balls. Then the harvest is carefully collected by self-propelled machinery driving through those fields of cotton. Interestingly, how much would it take you to the harvest it by hand :)
What happens next? The cleaning machine separates the collected cotton balls from the seeds. The cotton received is pressed into rolls weighing 225 kilograms. And when those rolls leave the farms, textile factories transport them to spinning places where high-tech machinery cultivate the cotton delivered: it is stirred, combed, stretched and it is finally wrapped into yarn ropes.
Then those yarn ropes produced are shipped to the factory, where giant knitting machinery converts them into the grave, greyish fabric sheets. The material obtained is processed using steam, heat and various chemicals until it becomes soft and pure white material. Subsequently, the cotton material obtained is bleached or dyed with synthetic dyes used to dye approximately 70% of all textiles. And finally the T-shirt is sewn. Can you imagine the way those little white balls have to go through?
"After the World War II, the film "Streetcar Named Desire" with Marlon Brando wearing a white men's T-shirt as the main garment changed the history of fashion and the T-shirt became a piece of fashionable clothing that can be also worn alone without overgarments."
The Appearance of the First T-shirt
The date of appearance of this populiar garment is considered to be the end of the nineteenth century, when the US army began to wear them during the war with the Spaniards. They evolved from the lower suit, separating the lower part from the upper one so that the upper part is sufficiently long to be shut under the lower trousers.
The main aim of the T-shirt was to absorb sweat and it was worn as a girdle under the uniform shirt. Such an outfit was first worn by miners and stevedores as a comfortable garment in a hot environment. Already in the early twentieth century men's T-shirt spread from the land forces to the maritime forces. The sailors traveling in tropical oceans and seas used to often wear only men's T-shirt due to hot weather conditions. After the second World War, the film A Streetcar Named Desire with Marlon Brando (Wikipedia) wearing a white men's T-shirt as the main garment changed the history of fashion and the T-shirt became a fashionable garment that can also be worn alone, without any outerwear. Respect for this handsome one. And if he was alive, we would offer our thanks to him in person. Unfortunately, the actor died in 2004.
Some interesting facts about the T-shirt:
In 1920 the T-shirt became an official American-English word in the US Merriam Webster dictionary.
In 1939 the first promotional T-shirt was printed for the film The Wizard of Oz. The employees created a scarecrow and put a light green blouse with white-printed letters OZ.
For the attention of guys - the first contest of the wet T-shirt was held in 1940 in Spain.
In 1959 a more durable and solid ink called Plastisol was created. This new type of ink allowed to build a lot more options of design. This allowed the industry of T-shirts to earn much more money.
In 1960s T-shirts became even more popular when rock groups and professional sports teams started to make prints on them. The garment has become part of mainstream fashion and some of them are still popular today.
As for money, the cotton industry generates over 25 billion dollars a year. Meanwhile, the jewellery industry brings about 7 billion dollars, while the music industry generates approximately 3 billion dollars a year.
The most expensive T-shirt in the world has been made by Hermes, a French luxury fashion house. A T-shirt made of crocodile leather costs 91500 dollars. Interestingly, will it happen to have a buyer someday?
China is the world's leading cotton producer. China produces 32 million cotton rolls a year, while the USA produces only 12.4 million.
Production of one T-shirt requires 6 miles of yarn, but only 1 acre of cotton suffices to tailor more than 1,000 T-shirts.
62% of Americans state the have more than 10 pieces of T-shirts in their wardrobes. 91% of Americans say that white is their favourite colour of this garment.
The Guinness World Record has recorded a man from Sri Lanka, who was wearing 257 T-shirts at once.
Printing on T-shirts
Although it is difficult to say exactly when prints on T-shirts were launched, the popularity of this garment with prints increased in the 1950s. The company Tropix Togs acquired the right to print Disney characters on T-shirts, such as Mickey Mouse. All of this has been a huge success and the graphic T-shirt has become a classical trend.
But we would not be people, if we didn't crave for novelties. Soon people became bored with the only characters of Disney printed on T-shirts. The public wanted other designs on T-shirts, so companies quickly figured out what people want and began to print more diverse designs on the garment.
Pre-culture had a significant impact on the types of designs printed on T-shirts in the 1960s. The attitude of the liberals towards sex, politics annd drugs defined the trends of graphic T-shirt. In addition, music was a huge part of the culture of the 1960s and 1970s. Many bands soon realised that a T-shirt marked with their brand can promote their music. At the same sales of T-shirts with band logos printed on them bacame a second source of income. Many bands of the period are recognised from their unique logos, because these reflect their music. Such images as the "lips" of the Rolling Stones, the vintage inscriptions of the Beatles and the prism of Pink Floyd are the icons of graphics even today. Fans used to love T-shirts with a logo of their favourite band and they also enjoy them nowadays. Do you remember these historical bands?
Do you think the companies were dormant while musical bands were running advertising campaign? Far from that! Seeing the success of T-shirts with logos, they soon realised that they can do the same thing with their company logos themselves. In the 1980's and 1990's T-shirts with company logos were used to advertise trademarks as well as it was a way to recognise the brand. It is easy to understand which brands benefited from this trend: we all know the brands Nike, Adidas and Calvin Klein.
In the early 2000 the production of graphic T-shirts significantly decreased. The market was palled with these garments with logos. There was a huge lot of them and on top of that most of the designs were not very interesting or the mock-up was in not good quality. However, a few years ago designers drew their attention to the cotton cloth and began to create exclusive designs on it. The tide of the graphic T-shirt returned and the graphic T-shirt has been in demand until now.
Two in One: Both a Piece of Clothing and Advertising Space
Wearing a T-shirt with the inscription or picture we express ourselves. There is no need to scream to others what we want to say, what we like or what we feel. T-shirts with designs are like an advertising stand: you need to see once to understand what is being advertised. T-shirts show what we like, what we support, what we are against and what we are. And we no longer have to talk, it is the design that speaks for us. We wear what we like. If we do not like dogs, we are not going to put on a T-shirt with a funny and cute puppy. If we do not like rock, we are not going to wear a T-shirt with a symbol or logo of a rock band. Of course, there are cases when people wear T-shirts with a logo without knowing or rather, not understanding its meaning. Anyway it is a matter of ignorance or lack of knowledge of foreign languages. Not our trouble, so to say ;)
Finally! Do not rush to throw away your T-shirt when it gets old. You can create your own new design for your old garment. And maybe even more beautiful. Or even more fashionable ;)