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History of the T-Shirt

The T-shirt has become a favorite and an essential staple in today's fashion industry.  Its history can be traced back hundreds of years, however, it was the American soldiers and the Hollywood screen that evolved the T-shirt's popularity to what it is today.

The T-shirt started out as the tunic in Roman and ancient Egypt times. Tunics were either long sleeve or short sleeve depending on the climate. They were made of cotton or linen, although much rougher in feel and appearance. The tunic served a functional purpose adorned with various traditional decorations over the years and thoughout Europe evovled into an undergarment or casual wear.

It was not until World War I that the Americans realized the versatility of the T-Shirt. The American troops were sent over to Europe equipped with wool uniforms, perfect for the cool winters but excessively hot during the humid summers. They noticed the French troops wore lightweight cotton undershirts and soon adopted this attire. The Americans refered to them as "T" shirts due to their simple design. By the 1920's "T-Shirt" was entered into the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary and by WWII, both the Navy and the Army had recruited the T-shirt as standard issue underwear.

The western civilization did not adopt the T-shirt as everyday wear until the 1950's, when Hollywood brought them into the spotlight. Actors such as John Wayne, Marlon Brando and James Dean wore their undershirts as outerwear. In "A Street Car Named Desire" (1951), Marlon Brando gave T-shirts a sexual appeal by wearing a thin, revealing T-shirt, which was later ripped off. In "Rebel Without A Cause" (1955), James Dean gave T-shirts a rebellious look by wearing it with a leather jacket. The T-shirt as outerwear became an indespensible fashion statement for youth.

In the 1960's, people began to experiment with T-shirts by tie-dying, screenprinting and altering the designs, creating tank tops, muscle shirts, scoop necks, V-necks, etc

 The T-Shirt was inexpensive, in style, and could make any statement you cared to print. The American T-Shirt came into it's own during the late sixties and seventies when popularity sky-rocketed. Rock and Roll bands began to realize that they could make significant amounts of money selling their T-Shirts. Professional Sports caught on and soon the officially licensed T-Shirt became hot merchandise.  Corporations and businesses realized the advertising potentail (as a human billboard)...

During the 80's and 90's the production of T-Shirts and the mechanics of printing on them increased the volume and availability. Soon the American T-Shirt was being called a commodity item in the apparel industry.

At the beginning of a new millennium, the t-shirt has entered cyberspace and is now about to become even bigger. The American T-Shirt is well built and it is made to be worn. The artwork symbolizes the cultural and social climate of our times. The printing is state of the art created by true craftspeople. In any form, the T-Shirt is a great product.

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