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Printed t-shirts UK – A potted history
Printed t-shirts UK are seen everywhere these days, from the workplace to the catwalk, from the pub to the sports field; it has become a piece of attire that is universal in its appeal due to its versatility, but where did it come from?
The garment we recognise as the t-shier evolved from an undergarment worn in the later half of the 19th century known as the union suit. Created as a piece of underwear for women, as an alternative to more constricting garments it soon gained popularity among men as well. Patented as “emancipation union under flannel” in 1868 it was remained in common use until well into the 20th century where we know them as ‘long johns’.
However it changed into two separate garments, with the top being long enough to tuck into the waistband of the pants. The top, or shirt, became popular when the U.S Navy began to issue it as part of their uniform during the Spanish American War. Designed to be an undershirt, the crew-necked, short-sleeved design, using white cotton was often the only upper garment worn by crew in hot climates, and took its modern name due to the shape of the garment, the T-shirt had arrived.
As it was easily cleaned and inexpensive its use spread, becoming the default item to be worn when working, especially in agricultural areas, and even became a uniform for schoolchildren in some tropical countries.
However it wasn’t until the early 1950s when printing images onto the shirt began and the t-shirt became accepted outerwear for everyone. An early example of printing was the use of Disney characters, and this has developed further until we see the explosion of designs and colours that we see today. The t-shirt has evolved making human billboards of us all, used to promote everything from business’, films, TV shows, bands, websites and even as a form of protest.
Printed t-shirts UK have now entered into pop culture and are often seen as iconic items, recognisable the world over; funny how things change, from women’s underwear to icon.