History of The T-shirt

Have you ever wondered how the t-shirt came to be such an iconic staple in American fashion and culture? Are you curious to know how garment decorating, such as screen-printing, became a multi-billion dollar industry? It’s a rather short and simple story, but one that has lead to such massive change that it should be told and embraced more often than it currently is.

A few years ago, t-shirts were only worn as undershirts. To this day, many blue-collar and white-collar individuals still wear them solely for that purpose. The earliest t-shirts date back to sometime between the Spanish American War and the year 1913, when the U.S. Navy began issuing them as undershirts. After World War II, it became a common sighting to see war veterans wearing their trousers with a t-shirt as casual wear. By 1920, Merriam-Webster had welcomed the term “t-shirt” as an official word in the English dictionary. In 1950, the popularity of the t-shirt as a stand-alone outerwear garment started skyrocketing after the actor Marlon Brando wore one in a film entitled A Streetcar Named Desire.

By the time the 1950’s rolled around, a number of companies in Miami, Florida began experimenting with garment decoration. One method that would later turn into a multi-billion dollar industry was that of screen-printing. These companies in Miami started to screen-print t-shirts with various resort names and illustrated characters. One of the first companies to dabble in this field was known, at the time, as Tropix Togs, under the founder Sam Kantor. Tropix Togs held the original license for screen-printing Walt Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and Davy Crockett. It wouldn’t be until 1960 that screen-printed t-shirts would be seen as an accepted means for self-expression, commercial advertisements, political views, and souvenir messages.

As of 1994, the U.S. Domestic Printing Industry was a significantly larger business than the automotive industry. Employing over 1 million people and grossing over $83+ billion in annual revenue stands to prove that t-shirts have become an iconic fashion statement in a world that is constantly seeking to express itself in new ways.

It’s amazing that a story as simple and short as this has cultivated such massive, drastic change.

Be sure to visit our Instagram to see how Real Thread’s clients are contributing to such an iconic movement in he world of fashion.

1/0 tonal light water based print on American Apparel TR401’s in Tri-Black for Seanwes.

5/0 discharge print on Next Level 6010’s in Vintage White for Chaotic Moon.

Article credit: http://www.realthread.com/blog/history-t-shirt

Summer’s End…

Gulf Coast

As this Florida heat slowly is coming to an end, we slip out of our short shorts and into flannel because it’s under 80 degrees, and we reflect on the events of the past five months of summer. The sticky heat, beautiful emerald green ocean, and the salt air blowing through our hair, just a memory. I remember trail running in 100 degree weather in North Florida and the exhaustion. Recently, I started painting again to carry me through the cold, wet winter months ahead, where I’ll be limited to when I can run. But there is something exhilarating about these next few months and the activities you can do to avoid the grey clouds of seasonal depression. Grab a wetsuit in 30 degree weather when the surf is up and run to the ocean to catch a few waves! Get outside and do something. Learn something new, try something new. So although my favorite Florida season has come and gone this year, I will fight my way through the dark and cold months because of the excitement that awaits on the other side…

Get Inspired

With our daily, fast-paced lives that we live, I believe that it is essential  to stop and smell the roses, look up to the heavens on a clear starry night, or my favorite of looking into the vast unknown of the oceans. In those moments we find clarity, inspiration, and motivation to change the way we perceive things. It reminds us of how small we really are. We should all take full advantage of these occasions when we have them. If you don’t have them, go out of your way to make these opportunities happen and share them with someone you love. Looking to nature gives us ideas to create objects, designs, and music. Get inspired.


Kuroshio Sea – 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world – (song is Please don’t go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

Henry Thoreau Simple Lifestyle Quotes

Not much to post today but the fact that I love my girlfriend. Thank you for these great quotes. Enjoy.
  • Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify. Instead of three meals a day, if it be necessary eat but one; instead of a hundred dishes, five; and reduce other things in proportion. [Walden]
  • As for the complex ways of living, I love them not, however much I practice them. In as many places as possible, I will get my feet down to the earth. [Journal, 22 October 1853]
  • Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. [Walden]
  • I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run. [Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 27 March 1848]
  • The savage lives simply through ignorance and idleness or laziness, but the philosopher lives simply through wisdom. [Journal, 1 September 1853]
  • To what end do I lead a simple life at all, pray? That I may teach others to simplify their lives? — and so all our lives be simplified merely, like an algebraic formula? Or not, rather, that I may make use of the ground I have cleared to live more worthily and profitably? [Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 26 September 1855]
  • The rule is to carry as little as possible. [Journal, 22 July 1857]
  • Simplicity is the law of nature for men as well as for flowers. [Journal, 29 February 1852]