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How T-shirts Became So Popular In America

Jan 5, 2008
If you were like me, a tee was a tee was a tee.

99% of people in the U.S. claim to have a favorite tee.

Doesn't seem like such a big thing. Many of us have a favorite pair of shoes or socks.

But there's more to the T-Shirt than meets the eye. There's important history and economics.

The first promotional tshirt for a movie was printed in 1939. That movie was "The Wizard Of Oz". Like the movie, the tee did quite well. We make our own version of a Wizard Of Oz tee, I imagine a bit different than that first image, which shows a cartoon of the gang walking down the yellow brick road and Toto is lifting a hind leg. The caption reads, "How the yellow brick road got it's name." But I digress.

T-Shirts account for important American economics. Cotton is still a huge industry in this country, particularly in the southern states. It takes six miles of yarn to make one T-shirt. An acre of cotton is enough to produce 1200 tees.

Ever wonder if the T-Shirt business is a viable one? How about this for a statistic? About two billion tees are sold annually worldwide.

The Salvation Army takes in millions of T-shirt donations annually which later auctioned off by the pound to third world countries.

If one likes T-shirt history, the Smithsonian showcases the oldest printed tee on record which simply states, "Dew-It With Dewey". Dew what I wonder? Hmm.

Brando was the first in film to benefit from fitted tees and jeans. The producers did so for "A Streetcar Named Desire" to make the movie "sexier"

Only in the 1920's did T-Shirt become an official word.

In 1977 more than 8 million dollars worth of Farrah Fawcett T-Shirts were sold when she appeared on Charlie's Angels.

The wet t-shirt craze started after Jacqueline Bisset's appearance in the film "The Deep" in which she is swimming underwater, then surfacing, wearing a white T-Shirt and topless bikini.

The most popular form of designer tees today are silk-screened. But digital reproductions are becoming very popular and blend into the fabric and, to me, have more of a "real" look than a decal ironed-on look, but of course, it is a matter of taste. I decided to manufacture both, as different folks like different looks.

Americans love our tee shirts. A survey done several years ago show that more than 62% of the U.S (all ages) own at least 10 tees and 18-24 demographic group owned over 10 T-shirts and 19% owned over 30 tees. So it doesn't appear they are going out of style anytime soon.
About the Author
There are many places to purchase funny t-shirts. There is only one that sells critically-acclaimed Londons Times Cartoon creations novelty comic gift items>offbeat cartoon tees, and funny t-shirts
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