How Has Politics Influenced Fashion?
Freedom of speech is something many take for granted, yet unlike many nations, Britain is one that allows its people to express their feelings on virtually any topic, whether that be sport, music or even politics. There’s nothing new about people channelling their feelings regarding the state of Britain’s political system, but the way in which we are doing so has seen a shift of late. The growth of the internet, in particular social media has seen many offload their views, whilst others have even taken to sporting t shirts announcing their opinions.
This is a far cry from a few decades or so ago when such t shirts didn’t exist. Many wouldn’t have been comfortable expressing themselves this way. It simply wasn’t the done thing, however today’s society lends itself to more controversial outbursts.
The merge between politics and t shirts can be traced back to when the garments were used purely for campaign purposes. Whether on a local or national level it was not unusual, and to a large extent, still isn’t, to see people promoting their chosen choice of leader through their t shirts. With a simple VOTE (NAME) slogan, occasionally accompanied by the leader’s face, these t shirts were used to spread a message fast.
Now however, t shirt manufacturers have cottoned on to the popularity of these tees and their ability to communicate a feeling more easily than words. Now it is not uncommon to see a number of political t shirts on the market purely for entertainment purposes. Some are simply a humorous play on words, for example “Gordon Brown, Texture Like Sun”, where others have a more satirical nature. One popular example of this a tee featuring the phrase “The Liberals: It’s not the winning it’s the taking part”.
These manufacturers also appear to have successfully capitalised on their customers’ love of current affairs, providing political t shirts in direct response to recent developments within policies, elections or even politician’s private lives. In the wake of chief whip, Andrew Mitchell’s argument with that policeman, many took delight in donning a specially designed “Pleb” tee.
Other political t shirts take the trend one step further and go down the offensive route. Not scared to push the boundaries many t shirt providers have developed a line of tees that offer more than a cheeky dig at certain political parties or figures, popular amongst those frustrated with the decisions being made around them.
In a weird twist of events, we’re not only wearing t shirts unfolding their actions, but also discussing their choice of outerwear. Many tabloid newspapers rejoice in discussing Sarah Cameron’s daily fashion choices, and on more than one occasion ridiculing the less fashion-savvy.
8 Ball is an online t shirt provider, specialising in the design and distribution of t shirts inspired by popular culture.