Political statement tees were all over the runway during fashion month. Considering this current political climate it’s not hard to understand why. The slogan tee trend isn’t exactly new. As someone growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, slogan tees where everywhere. I was sent to the office and my mother had to leave work to bring me a new shirt because the middle school deemed my “boyz r toyz” Pinocchio tee against school rules. Now I’ll admit as a 13-year-old that shirt doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but everyone wore them. I happily joined in.
The reason we remember these shirts many years later (not because my mom still brings it up as some kind of parenting annoyance) is because we begin to associate people with the messages they are sending. Whether you know the person or not what they choose to display on their shirt makes you create a label of that person. I don’t believe any girl my age is truly “50% angel, 50% devil” and I definitely don’t think “boyz r toyz.” I don’t even know what that means nor how to make a boy a toy. These shirts have a history rooted in the 60s and 70s when expressing your personality was beginning to be accepted by society. There were social causes, catch phrases, and segments of society that subscribe to their own norms.
What originally began as anti-war protest (I love my John Lennon anti-war shirt still) statements has now transitioned into more feminist leaning options. Speaking your stance has become a norm again today though the use of social media and the ways it filters into our pop culture lexicon. The trend walks a fine line because it’s obviously being capitalized on by the fashion industry. They will be seen everywhere especially in fast fashion stores, but there are plenty of shirts out there (some here) that donate their proceeds to charities and organizations that support and further women’s rights. No matter where you get them the idea is the same. You’re speaking your mind, taking a stance, and it’s a message you’ll be proud to share for years to come.
I say that because we have far more photographic evidence than we did in the early 2000s. The messages we send stay around longer than the amount of time I ever wore that dumb Pinocchio shirt. I’m sure you can still get a “boyz r toyz” slogan tee if that’s your thing, but maybe try one of these better, political options instead.