COTTONING ON: Gimme a “T,” and a “T” — and another “T.” London Fashion Week hasn’t started yet, but there’s a big trend emerging already, around that original unisex item, the T-shirt.
Early Thursday, Riccardo Tisci teased out his first design for Burberry ahead of Monday’s show, a black T-shirt with the new Thomas Burberry monogram, which he designed with the British art director and graphic designer Peter Saville.
The Burberry shirt is the first drop from Tisci’s series of 24-hour product releases, and will be available exclusively via Instagram and WeChat from noon British time on Thursday.
Tisci’s Instagram Stories shows pictures of himself, Lily James, Dolores De La Rosa and Chris Lee wearing the shirt, while Matt Smith dons the hoodie version.
To mark 10 years in business and showcase her first ad campaign with Juergen Teller, Victoria Beckham has issued a limited-edition T-shirt that shows the designer collapsed inside one of her branded shopping bags with only her legs — and white shoe-clad feet — sticking out, an ironic homage to a Marc Jacobs campaign she starred in 10 years ago.
The shirt is stocked on victoriabeckham.com and at her Dover Street and Hong Kong flagship stores. From Sept. 16, following Beckham’s London runway show, the shirt will be available at stores including Harrods, Selfridges and Bergdorf Goodman, priced 115 pounds.
Katharine Hamnett, the doyenne of T-shirt messaging, is also in the mix this season with a T-shirt that costs 25 pounds and says Fashion Hates Brexit. Hamnett’s been at the T-shirt game for years, famously flashing a black-and-white “58 Percent Don’t Want Pershing” slogan T-shirt when meeting Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Downing Street in 1984.
The statement referred to a poll that showed most Britons objected to having Pershing missiles based in the country, and Hamnett recalled earlier this year how Thatcher reacted with a loud shriek when she saw it. It’s doubtful whether Prime Minister Theresa May will have the same reaction when she sees this one, as she’s got anti-Brexiteers in her face every day.
“I have always hated Brexit from the word go,” said Hamnett, when asked why she created the shirt this season. “We can’t possibly get a better deal with Europe than we have now, and Europe’s human rights and environmental laws are better than the U.K.’s. Fashion is an interconnected business with people and components coming from all over the planet.”
British designers are certainly not the first to embrace the T-shirt as marketing and political platform, with Tory Burch creating a limited-run T-shirt emblazoned with “Vote” ahead of the U.S. mid-term elections in November. Net proceeds will benefit actor and activist Yara Shahidi’s “Eighteen x 18” youth group and its upcoming summit.
For his debut Louis Vuitton men’s wear show, Virgil Abloh created a rainbow of T-shirts with “Wizard of Oz” and personal references, which he gave to show guests, including the 700 students from design schools whom he invited to the show.