A Look Into The T-Shirt’s History

When the T-shirts first arrived on the scene over 100 years ago as standard issue uniform for the U.S. Navy, who could have had the foresight to realize that it would quickly become an impacting part of our culture as well as society in so many ways? Ranging from status symbol to walking billboards and advertising vehicles, these staples of our society have changed again and again, generation after generation. Here are some of the historical high points.

1913 The U.S. Navy supplies T-shirts to submarine technicians working in tight sweltering conditions as a more comfortable alternative to restrictive gear where heat would build up within the confines of the sub in excess of 120°F.

1944 The Tee shirt finds acceptance as a uniform for the common working man. Everyone is now wearing them ranging from landscapers and roofers to welders and the railroad workers.

1951 Hollywood has a tremendous impact in influencing our society of young people. Superstars such as James Dean took a pack of cigarettes and rolled it up in his sleeve. Remember the TV show, Happy days? What did the star of the show wear under his black leather jacket? That’s right – a white tee shirt.

1962 Marked the beginning of the hippie movement. Tie-dyed applications soon came on the scene. You started to see political messages screen printed across the front. Tank tops and sleeveless apparel start to emerge onto the scene.

1977 Slogans such, I love St. Louis, start to show up in stores across our great city. People are now using them as a billboard of self-expression.

1984 Television shows such as Miami Vice convey a fashion statement and influence our culture, not just across the country, but on a worldwide level.

2009 The St. Louis screen printing industry is changed forever because of the use of the Internet is now mainstream. Up until now, most people were intimidated to use their credit card when making an Internet purchase. Now they are starting to become more familiar with that type of financial transaction and a comfort level is obtained. Digital T-shirt printing comes on the scene and impacts the screen printing industry for over. Modern technology does away with the traditional method of color separations that were normally part of the typical printing process. Modern technology has impacted every sector of our lives as well as our economy, and the custom apparel business is no exception to that rule.

If you live or work in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, we would love to have the opportunity to quote any or all of your custom embroidery, custom screen printing, or digital printing needs. We will give you a fair, competitive quote. We look forward to hearing from you.

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