Page 1

Slogan T-Shirts: Cult and Culture explores the vast spectrum of slogan use on T-shirts; its function as a message delivery system; its expression as an artefact of language; and its role as an emblem of political, social, cultural, recreational and sartorial trends. The book unfurls as a cultural library of perspectives, nuanced positions and eclectic sources and each interview offers a cultural snapshot within the versatile framework of slogan T-shirt culture. The book also glances into the inner worlds, inside stories and mechanisms of those involved in fashion, design and the production of media. Beautifully designed, visually seductive and packed with influential innovators from the last three decades, every page of this book is a source of inspiration.

Freelance writer, stylist and creative consultant, Stephanie Talbot has studied visual theory, screen theory and architecture at postgraduate and doctoral level. She also muses about life not far from her doorstep in East London - where she lives with her beloved dog – on her acclaimed blog, ISBN 978-1-4081-5754-1

9 781408 157541



Informative, illuminating, insightful and erudite, Slogan T-Shirts: Cult and Culture is completely unique. Featuring interviews with a wealth of cultural commentators, creative luminaries and credible fashion insiders, from Holly Johnson (of Frankie Goes to Hollywood) to Katharine Hamnett, it offers a multi-faceted approach as to the question of what makes the slogan T-shirt so rich, layered and culturally relevant... because slogans are never simply just words; they are emotive and evocative, suggestive and provocative.

Stephanie Talbot

Slogan T-shirts Cult and Culture

The Gendered

The Technological

The Questionable

The Marvellous ‘n’ The Miscellaneous

The Marvellous ‘n’ The Miscellaneous

Part Two


Katharine Hamnett

Barnzley Armitage

Vexed Generation



Iain R Webb

Antoni & Alison

Toby Mott

Karen Savage

I Love Boxie

Jeremy Deller

Scott King

Gerard Saint at Big Active

Experimental Jetset

2k By Gingham

Cassette Playa

Dr Noki

Ian Warner And Oliver Miller at Slab Magazine

Delay No More




S logan T - S hirts   |  Part Two: Designers

Katharine Hamnett

‘SAVE THE WORLD’ being amongst the first. Concurrent to her devotion to sustainable clothing and the urgency of the world’s injustices, Hamnett has instigated fashion styles and trends that have shaped the relative zeitgeists. Throughout her career Hamnett has adhered to ethical practices. Her use of

organic cotton demonstrates how it needn’t compromise the glamour of the garment, whilst her campaigns skillfully raise awareness of the virtues of organic cotton, such as healthier working conditions for the farmers and factory workers, and improved resources for the population. Using the slogan T-shirt as a device to disseminate message delivery,

‘Stay Alive In 85’ (1985)

‘Me/You’ (1984)

Hamnett has also adeptly used the media to draw attention to a range of social, political and environmental concerns: ‘Slogan T-shirts give protest credibility. They were designed to sophisticate protests, to put its issues on the same perceived level as a newspaper headline. They are designed to be seminal; to make people think and hopefully act, because when

‘58% Don't Want Pershing’ (1984)

‘There’s a lot of textual art that says a lot less interesting things than ‘JAIL TONY’ or ‘NO MORE FASHION VICTIMS’. To paraphrase Duchamp: “I am an artist so if I say it’s art, it’s art”. They are art.’

The year that fashion provocateur Katharine Hamnett was awarded Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council was the same year that she captivated a worldwide audience with her encounter with then British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street (headquarters and official residence of Britain’s prime minister). As Hamnett removed her coat, apparently only moments prior to meeting Thatcher, she revealed an oversized T-shirt declaring in outsized block lettering ‘58% DON’T WANT PERSHING’. Furthermore, not only did the size of the type confront, but Hamnett reinforced the public’s opposition to Thatcher’s purchase of US missiles by also printing the statistic on the T-shirt’s back. Unnerved and unamused Thatcher was quick to ignore Hamnett’s affront. Hamnett’s coup de grâce was even more remarkable given the fact that political action was initiated in a political setting that was not only a social occasion but a soirée to celebrate British Fashion Week, which made Hamnett’s politicised gesture even more threatening and thus even more valiant. The year was 1984. It was the most syndicated image of that year and continues to be a benchmark of how an

ethical and political position can be effectively partnered with fashion. Hamnett’s sartorial vigour has been consistent ever since; nineteen years later, in 2003, Hamnett’s London catwalk collection saw models wearing T-shirts emblazoned with ‘NO WAR, BLAIR OUT’ and ‘STOP WAR E-MAIL YOUR MP’, a reference to the invasion of Iraq. Hamnett explains her unremitting commitment to the slogan T-shirt: ‘Slogan T-shirts are a vehicle to print and are effective for things that need to be said or that we need to be reminded of in three words or four. Initially, I wanted to design something that would make me happy if it was copied because my designs were getting copied a lot and it was very irritating. I thought it would be amusing, if not delightful, if T-shirts with giant political and environmental messages on them, about the issues that I cared deeply about, became all the rage.’ Hamnett studied fashion at London’s Central Saint Martins. Prior to launching her eponymous label in 1979, she spent a decade freelancing for various European companies. Soon after setting up her own label she began experimenting with slogan T-shirts: ‘WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR BAN NOW’ and

‘Stop Killing Whales’ (1983)

‘Education Not Missiles’ (1983)

‘Save Africa Make Trade Fair’ (2003)

First published in Great Britain 2013 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square London WC1B 3DP ISBN: 9781408157541 Copyright © Stephanie Talbot 2013 A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Stephanie Talbot has asserted her rights under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without the prior permission in writing from the publishers. Publisher: Susan Kelly Design: Evelin Kasikov Photographer (unless otherwise stated): Richard Reyes Managing editor: Davida Saunders Copy editor: Judy Tither Proofreader: Julie Brooke Typeset in 9 on 12.5 pt Bliss Light This book is produced using paper that is made from wood grown in managed, sustainable forests. It is natural, renewable and recyclable. The logging and manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. Printed and bound in China Where garments are uncredited they are from the author’s own collection. The author has made every effort to contact copyright holders as appropriate. In the event that these attempts have been unsuccessful, please contact the publishers who will be happy to correct any errors or omissions on reprinting. Frontispiece and inside back cover t-shirts author’s own •  Model: E-Sinn Soong

Acknowledgements First and foremost this book has been a team effort. Sincere thanks to every single person who has made a contribution. I would like to thank Susan Kelly who commissioned the book and has been a source of much appreciated encouragement - honestly, I cannot thank you enough Susan. Also, thank you to my editor Davida Forbes who has been nothing less than terrific! A zillion personal thanks to Richard Reyes for being such a dream photographer to work with – everyone commented how you put them at ease and what a delight it was to work with you. May I also take this opportunity to say what a valued friend you are. A huge thanks to Evelin Kasikov whose design prowess has brought this book alive. Thank you also to all my creative soulmates – your unrelenting support has been astonishing: Alex Papadakis, Emma Day, E-Sinn Soong, Fiona Cartledge, Ian Stallard, Kevin Chow, Liz Thompson, Patrik Fredrikson, Reem Charif, Scott Maddux, Silvia Ricci, Victoria Ophield, Yvonne Courtney, Zach Pulman and Annick Talbot. Both Julian Vogel and Kenneth Mackenzie have been so damn brilliant throughout – your generosity has been overwhelming (thank you!). Last but by no means least, I am deeply grateful to all the following: Albert Kang, Amy Thompson, Eric Rose, Gosia Cyganowska, Greg Davis, Heather Holden-Brown, John Dawson, Kate Monckton, Lindsay Freeman, Mark Moore, Martin Bull, Odilo Weiss, Sebastian Boyle, Tyen Masten and Yu Ling Huang.

This book is dedicated to Sam Bully.

Many thanks to all those who kindly supplied T-shirts for our centrepiece spread ‘The Gendered, The Technological, The Questionable and The Marvellous ‘n’ Miscellaneous’. Amy and Claire at Truffle Shuffle  • Bethan Wood  • Carol at Force 18 T-shirts  • Charli at the National AIDS Trust  • Christian at Anonymous  • Daniel at Red Mutha  • Eike at Spreadshirt  • Emily at Respect For Animals  • Heather and Jane at MoreTvicar  • Ian and Patrik at FredriksonStallard  • Jerry at Lazy Oaf  • Jon at Magma Books;  • Kevin at Spamshirt  • Lavinia at T-Shirt Town  • Mark at Mash Creative  •, Richard and Jo at 8 ball  • Robin at A-non Brand  • Extra thanks to Matt Snow

Profile for Bloomsbury Publishing

Slogan T-Shirts  

Sample chapter from Slogan T-Shirts

Slogan T-Shirts  

Sample chapter from Slogan T-Shirts