An indie lifestyle that’s perfect to a tee
Text & Photos By Gerry Chan
“NO safety pins — no buttons — no needle — no thread.”
Thus went the first advertisement of tees in 1904, albeit still as an undergarment that evolved first from the union suit then to the long John.
This ad was for the Cooper Underwear Company. Although there are claims that the US Navy already issued them as undergarments during the Spanish-American War in 1898, it was only after the ad came out that the entire US army made T-shirts as an official undergarment.
According to teefetch.com, the inexpensive cotton and easy to clean garment soon became the shirt of choice by mothers for their sons as outerwear for chores and play. Dockworkers, farmers, miners, and construction type workers also adopted the T-shirt preferring the lightweight fabric in hotter weather conditions.
By the 1920s the word T-shirt was already in the Merriam Webster dictionary. Many believe that the Air Corps Gunnery School T-shirt featured on the July 13th, 1942 cover of LIFE magazine was the first printed T-shirt, but earlier in 1939 there was already a printed promotional tee for the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”
Hollywood gave the tees a big push when Marlon Brando appeared wearing one in A Street Named Desire. And where Hollywood goes the world often follows. The 60s and the 70s, though, used T-shirts for political slogans.
By 1986, Cebu’s Golden ABC launched its flagship brand Penshoppe. Its innovative advertising made the classy casual a hit nationwide.
Early this millennium in Cebu, “Think Positive” trail blazed the indie way of T-shirt production and promotions, which relied mostly on social media. To date, its outlet in Osmeña Blvd. now carries nine other brands.
There is the doodle-inspired “Marmolle” and the gory hard core leaning “Bloodshed Project.” Jamaican culture gets a local twist with “Herb” while Bisrak gets an ally in “Bistee.” “Kensuke Creations” is toon tuned and “Mudness” cultivates the mad scientist theme. “Thirdee” is party oriented, while the original “Think Positive Wear” has remained free wheeling in its concepts. It now has a spin off brand catering to the skateboarders, “Positive Skateboarding.”
The outlet also sells leggings, skateboards, knapsacks, caps and hats.
In these pages we asked the Marlon Wafer Models to don them tees. Check them out.