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Tees: Exposing Melbourne's T–shirt Culture Exhibition

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
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Is this the most popular piece of clothing in the world?

T-shirts just are. They are something we take for granted. We throw them on and forget about them.

But if you stop and take note they are really quite interesting. They are called t-shirts because of their shape. With two arms and a trunk they look just like a T.

 Wikimedia Commons
history t-shirt

They started out as undergarments and were mostly worn by farmers and U.S navy seamen. But Hollywood changed all that.

Marlon Brando made the t-shirt famous in films such as a Streetcar Named Desire and it is not hard to see why.

Apparently this was the first specially fitted t-shirt before that t-shirts were never so fitted.

James Dean also helped matters in movies such as Rebel Without a Cause. People began to associate t-shirts with youth and rebellion.

Nowhere is this better seen than in the iconic prints of Che Guevara on t-shirts. Che became a generic symbol of the underdog, the idealist and revolutionary youth.

It is is ironic however that he should end up on a t-shirt as he would have scorned such commercialism.

Wikimedia Commons

The first promotional t-shirt was in 1939 to advertise the Wizard of Oz.

T-shirts also became the bearer of slogans. 'I ♥ NY was an early one.

Today probably everyone in the world possesses at least one t-shirt. Because they are cheap and so damn comfortable.

When you go overseas, you will often see people with traditional dress on their bottom halves such as a sarong and a t-shirt on top.

They are so ubiquitous that I'm glad someone finally thought of holding a t-shirt exhibition.

The saying goes "do what you love and the money will follow." Well Eddie Zammit collects t-shirts and now he is becoming famous for it.

He is also the founder of t-shirt journal T-world which combines pop and street culture stories with the graphic T-shirts therefore creating the first wearable magazine.

Zammit owns over 4000 t-shirts but his most prized possession is a signed Milton Glaser 'I ♥ NY' t-shirt.

He recognises that t-shirts have become a medium for self expression which combines words and art.

Tees: Exposing Melbourne's T-shirt culture examines and our city's passion for t-shirts through Zammit's eyes.

For an interview on what he has in store for you in this free exhibition click here.

On display are t-shirts from the past and present featuring brands like BURN, Renegade and Schwipe, as well as souvenirs t-shirts from famous concerts and sporting events.

The exhibition at the NGV also features photography by Nicole Reed and includes information on Melbourne's influential t-shirt designers, artists and designers.

Zammit is adamant that Melbourne is an important design centre when it comes to creative arts, such as t-shirt design.

He had dug into his extensive T-shirt collection to uncover special items that demonstrate the power of the city's T-shirt past.

This is a fantastic insight into Melbourne's T–shirt culture and is an exhibition that should suit most people down to a T.

Wikimedia Commons

The above t-shirt is designed by Gemma Correll . The nice thing about wearing a funny t-shirt is that it can put a smile on somebody else's dial.
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Why? Because t-shirts are surprisingly interesting, trust me.
When: Monday: 10am - 5pm Tuesday: 10am - 5pm Wednesday: 10am - 5pm Thursday: 10am - 8pm Friday: 10am - 8pm Saturday: 10am - 8pm Sunday: 10am - 5pm
Phone: 8620 2222
Where: NGV Australia: Ian Potter Centre The Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia, Federation Square Corner of Russell and Flinders Streets
Cost: FREE
Your Comment
I once had a t-shirt that was a cartoon cowboy sitting on a horse. The cowboy sais " I'm so hungry I could eat a horse". The sais " meow"!
by LHart (score: 0|5) 2468 days ago
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