Just my cup of tee

I recently had the exciting opportunity to visit the Fashion and Textile Museum‘s exhibition, ‘T-shirt: cult – culture – subversion‘. As an avid wearer of this versatile garment, I was looking forward to exploring the history behind the tee.

The Fashion and Textile Museum, founded by iconic fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, has been on my must-see list for a good while now, and I was not disappointed by my visit. The cosy and inviting building, with its bright orange exterior, is down a funky fashionable street in Bermondsey Village. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the inside of the museum has a really industrial and spacious feel.

The t-shirt exhibition was set over two floors and was categorised into area such as ‘t-shirt typologies’ and ‘ethics and ecology’. My t-shirt journey began at the very beginning, and I learned that examples of decorated T-shaped tunics excist from as early as the fifth century AD. Who knew! Also highlighted was the fact that the first promotional t-shirt was produced to advertise the Wizard of Oz film in 1939. Aside from the flurry of facts, here are my highlights from the exhibition:

Beautiful BIBA t-shirts with the iconic black and gold colour scheme

Vivienne Westwood collection, 2013

Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s infamous naked cowboys t-shirt, as worn by the Sex Pistols

My dream come true – a wall of band t-shirts!

Guerrilla Girls/ Barbara Kruger t-shirts – swoon!

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior t-shirt, stating that “we should all be feminists”. I agree, Maria!

Now don’t mind me, I’m off to buy some vintage t-shirts 😉

The Sunday Times: Stella McClure (newspaper article 2004)

The Times Newspaper article

In a world of apparent political and economic instability, a Jennifer Lopez-style image — $10,000 Versace dresses, fake tan and real diamonds — seems not aspirational but irrelevant. So on shoestring budgets, and often with no training, young women are creating their own ad hoc, random subcultures. Don’t like the music that’s on the radio? Start your own band. Don’t like the images being pushed by magazines? Create your own ’zine. Bored with the clothes on the catwalks? Buy second-hand pieces and customise them yourself.

It’s DIY culture writ large, it’s tinged with feminism and it’s fast becoming one of the big cultural forces in Britain.

Also reflecting this aesthetic is Stella McClure, a 26-year-old stallholder at Portobello market in west London. She used to work for Levi’s but found the experience unsatisfying. She now sells customised second-hand clothes and her own handmade range of bags under the slogan “Granny made me do it”.

“When I was at college I did aspire to the whole Prada thing, but now I get much more pleasure from going to a jumble sale and picking something random up for 20p,” she says.

“If you have all the money in the world, of course you can go into Dolce & Gabbana and come out looking great, but that doesn’t take any skill or imagination.”

Her next line of clothes will be a range of T-shirts with political slogans. It includes a picture of the Queen’s face above the slogans “squatter” and ”Head of the British mafia” designs that subconsciously references the Sex Pistols’ infamous “God save the Queen” image.

By Kira Cochrane,  The Times.


See the full article here