The History of Printed T-Shirts

October 12, 2018

Did you know t-shirts were originally worn as undershirts? They were also originally used as an advertising medium. Eventually, printed t-shirts became a global icon of pop culture. 

The History of Printed T-Shirts

The roots of printed t-shirts go back to ancient China. The technique of screen printing was developing sometimes during the Song Dynasty in 960-1279 A.D.. But t-shirts became popular in the U.S. after the Spanish-American War. The classic plain white t-shirt appeared around 1913 when the U.S. Navy began issuing them to sailors as undershirts. These plain white t-shirts were made of light weight cotton and easy to launder.

In the 1930s, many gift store companies in Miami, Florida, realized the plain white t-shirts was the perfect apparel for the Florida heat and sunshine. So the gift store companies began printing the names of local resorts and tourist attractions on to the front. Then, in 1939, printed t-shirts made its way from Florida to Hollywood by appearing in The Wizard of Oz. 

The era of custom t-shirts began in the early 1950s in Miami, Florida. Several companies started decorating and mass producing printed t-shirts with the names of local resorts and other tourist attractions. Then from the 1960s, printed t-shirts were being worn by every demographic as it became an extension of the wearer’s personality. This would include wearing printed t-shirts advertising the brand they like or promoting their most recent holiday destination. 

The popularity of printed t-shirts continued to rise throughout the later stages of the 20th century. In the 1970s, there were t-shirts printed with album covers. In the 1980s, the plain white t-shirts had clear black font telling the public to “relax,” “choose life,” or “wake me up before you go-go.”

Printed T-Shirts Today

Today, printed t-shirts are just as popular.  Everyone is wearing some sort of printed t-shirt. The impressive technological innovations in digital technology has made it easy for anyone to create their own design and produce a printed t-shirt. Even charities and businesses are utilizing printed t-shirts to create and amplify brand awareness. You can see printed t-shirts at seminars, trade shows, or fund raisers because they are very cost effective to produce for the whole team. 

About Printd

Printd is your top choice for custom t-shirts and t-shirt printing. Whatever your custom apparel and promotional needs we have you covered.

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