T-shirt Turns 100! Happy Birthday to the Tee

CustomInk celebrates the 100th birthday of the t-shirt and invites Americans to T-Party!

In 1913, the t-shirt as we know it first appeared as standard-issue gear within the U.S. Navy. Since then, the iconic garment has become an essential part of the American wardrobe and identity.  CustomInk, the “design online” custom t-shirt company, announced a national celebration of the 100th birthday of the t-shirt.  The campaign includes surveys and conversations with Americans about their beloved tees, a t-shirt birthday webpage (www.tshirtbirthday.com), social media activity and, launching this summer, an augmented reali-TEE app.

“No doubt the t-shirt has a special place in fashion history,” said CustomInk’s co-founder & president, Marc Katz. “But t-shirts are unlike any other item of clothing.  They have this incredible power to bring us together and tell our story.  That’s why we cherish them and why they stand the test of time.  It’s also why we do what we do at CustomInk and why we’re inviting America to recognize and celebrate a century of t-shirts.”


America’s Love Affair with the T-Shirt

T-shirts are indeed part of the fabric of American society.  CustomInk recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 representative Americans over the age of 18 that revealed:

·         95% of Americans wear t-shirts
·         89% of t-shirt wearing Americans put on a tee at least once a week

Here are some additional stats about t-shirts:

·         Nearly 9 in every 10 Americans (87%) own at least one t-shirt they refuse to “trash” because of a sentimental attachment.  In fact, on average, they have 13 t-shirts they hold onto for that reason.  Most commonly, these shirts are from a group of which they were a member, or shirts commemorating a major event.
·         76% of Americans report they would have a stronger emotional connection with a shirt that they or someone they knew custom-designed, versus a shirt that was mass-produced.

These statistics are not surprising to Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, clinical psychologist and author of You Are What You Wear.

“Customized apparel is a way of expressing ourselves in a world where so much is mass-marketed.  We want to be unique,” Baumgartner commented.  “At the same time, wearing a shirt custom made for your group is an identifier that you are part of the same clan.  Throughout history, humans have dressed alike to indicate a bond.  Much like tribal costumes or coats of arms, custom t-shirts give people a sense of belonging.”

Baumgartner also notes that it is human nature to infuse a t-shirt with emotional significance.  “We’re more likely to bond with others when we share an emotional event with them.  T-shirts from groups or occasions become a concrete representation of that emotion.  We infuse a spirit of a memory or time in our lives to an inanimate object.”

Make sure to check out Custom Ink’s T-Shirt Timeline to view the rich history of the t-shirt!