- Matthew Patrick
Wear It Logoless
I cannot look at any t-shirt on another person, or pull one out of my closet without thinking about whether it has a graphic on it or not. For better or for worse, It is often a defining factor by which I evaluate someone’s sense of style. Modern American society is permeated with branding and advertisements that can be seen on objects such as billboards, baseball caps, store signs, mugs, pens, backpacks and especially t-shirts. Companies and organizations across the nation are hellbent on getting their name seen by the masses hoping to increase sales and raise profits. This has led to an explosion of clothing covered in words and symbols. In fact, I am wearing a sweatshirt right now as I am writing this letter that features the name and mascot of my high school. This oversaturation with graphics on clothing is at best excessive and at worse tacky to look at. Non-graphic clothing and t-shirts should be worn more often because they embody a minimalist style that is clean and streamlined. They represent a time when the culture was not filled with constant promotional content. Just think of the simple tunics and robes worn before the modern era and before capitalism took hold as we know it today. Furthermore, wearing a non-graphic tee causes a viewer to focus more on the person and less on the comic book character or company displayed on their chest. Now some may argue that the opposite is true. They may argue that wearing a graphic tees allow for people to express themselves better as opposed to worse. They may say that a Pokemon collector is able to express themselves better by wearing a yellow Pikachu shirt in that they are letting others know about the passion. This is true, and if that is why you are doing it, then more power to you. However, the virtue of versatility and transcendence of cultural trends and fandoms is also worth observing. And when I say that you should wear plain t-shirts more often, I am not saying that all graphic t-shirts should be banned and destroyed in a furnace. Graphic tees have their place.
Unfortunately, with all cultural trends, there are often major pendulum swings from one extreme to another. In this case, I believe there are far too many graphic tees and not enough minimalist style. But this does not mean that I want graphic tees to be eradicated. There is a time for featuring a certain symbol or piece of artwork to represent an important meaning. In fact, having less graphic tees would make the times they are used all that more meaningful and powerful. For example, graphic t-shirts have often been used for protest movements, ever since the 1960’s. You could even go back to depictions of medieval knights who would have a cross emplazened on their chest and on their shield. Symbols were even used during World War II on fighter jets. My primary point is that they should not be used for mindless corporate sponsorships and clout culture, which are the two primary uses for this style of clothing today.
Unfortunately, with all cultural trends, there are often major pendulum swings from one extreme to another.
This leads me to the topic of hype brands. Nowadays, many clothing brands are bought and sold at extremely high prices, not for the quality of material or content of what they say, but for the fact that they have a popular name brand like Nike or Adidas on them. The quality of clothing is often decided by the logo, when in reality, the shirt or piece of clothing is no better than any other plain shirt from “lower tier” athletic brands. This can become even more negative because kids will often judge each other and the clothes they wear by what logo they have on them. This has led to shirts with gaudy logos that have no deeper meaning or purpose behind it than to exude hipness. On the contrary, plain t-shirts express timelessness and simplicity. Graphic tees often go out of style depending on circumstances. A certain phrase or style of lettering can go out of style and leave the shirt unwearable for its original purpose which was to attract attention. Just think of how many Logan Paul “Maverick” hoodies are worn now in comparison to 5 years ago. Furthermore, wearing a plain t-shirt communicates intelligence in that they are much more willing to communicate the things they appreciate and believe in with actual speech instead of plastering it on their chest.