Our top slogan tees
The t-shirt may be the most humble garment in your wardrobe, but in style terms, it’s worth much more than its weight. Whether fluorescent or subdued, graphic or minimalist, it can symbolise a lot about you as a wearer.
Countless bands and brands have printed t-shirts with their slogans over the years – think of the iconic Rolling Stones ‘lick’, the mustard yellow Hard Rock Cafe logo, or the black and white “Choose Life” – all of them have been emblazoned across the torsos of millions of people worldwide, and made their creators a lot of money in the process. Take some tips from our favourites to get your branded t-shirts noticed, too.
I Love It
British designer Bella Freud is known for her whimsical, hand-drawn slogans, like “Je t’aime Jane”, “1970” and “Fairytale of New York”, which appear across her range on jumpers, t-shirts, candles, cushions and more. Alexa Chung and Kate Moss are among her celebrity fans, and she has formed lucrative collaborations with Fred Perry and J Brand, demonstrating that simple designs can really sell.
WHY BE RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC OR TRANSPHOBIC WHEN YOU CAN JUST BE QUIET
Frank Ocean has always used his music to call out injustices, especially those against LGBTQ people. At Panorama Festival in 2017 he wore that message proudly, too. The t-shirt takes its slogan from a tweet by Brandon Male, a then-18-year-old, who was responding to the barrage of abuse he was receiving online. After Ocean wore the top, thousands of people across the world made searches to get hold of their own. And even better, Male’s message was re-tweeted almost 30,000 times.
Sisterhood Is Global
Since taking the helm of Dior in 2016, Maria Grazia Chiuri has made female empowerment central to the brand’s identity. Her first slogan t-shirt carried the message “We Should All Be Feminists”, drawn from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s famous article. It was worn by celebrities including Rihanna, and became a hug seller, despite its £580 price tag. In subsequent seasons Chiuri has continued the message with the ironic, “Why Have There Been No great Female Artists?” and the now iconic: “Sisterhood Is Global”.
The Future Is Female
The original “The Future Is Female” t-shirt was made for Labyris Books, the first women’s book shop in New York, which opened in 1972. But it wasn’t until 1975 that the top and its political message gained wider recognition, when photographer Liza Cowan pictured her then-girlfriend, musician Alix Dobkin, wearing one for a series entitled, “What the Well Dressed Dyke Will Wear.” After the photo was re-shared in the 2010s by lesbian collective Herstory, clothing brand Otherwild produced their own version, and soon the top was being worn by women worldwide, reflecting the spirit of the #MeToo movement.
UHU Gareth Pugh
British designer Henry Holland caused a raucous on the London catwalk in 2006 with a collection of bold slogan tees which paid homage to his new-generation fashion contemporaries, like Gareth Pugh, Agyness Dean and Giles Deacon. The “fashion groupie” t-shirts inspired thousands of high-street versions, and made Holland one of Britain’s best-loved designers. In 2017 he returned to the style to celebrate the tenth anniversary of that debut collection; this time shouting out fashion stars including Kylie Kloss and Phoebe Philo.
British-Indian designer Ashish sprinkles the London catwalk with sequins every season, creating collections that are a riot of colour, sparkle and spectacle. Amidst the glamour there lies a serious political message, about the need for Britain to be LGBTQ-friendly, and ethnically diverse. Out of frustration at the result of the 2016 EU referendum, he produced a shirt carrying the simple, direct slogan: “Immigrant”.
Since founding her eponymous brand in the 1970s, Vivienne Westwood has used clothes to make bold political statements. In recent years, she’s focused her attention on the climate crisis and sustainability, with her “Buy Less, Choose Well, Make It Last” mantra. Her square-cut “Climate Revolution” t-shirt has a homemade style, making it as fit for wearing on an Extinction Rebellion protest as on the catwalk.
Frankie Says Relax
In 1984 the BBC banned Relax, the debut single by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, from its stations. Record label owner Paul Morley capitalised on the attention by printing t-shirts with the cheeky slogan, “Frankie Says Relax”. The song went to number 1 in the charts, and the t-shirt became so iconic it was even referenced in Friends.
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