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T-Shirt: Cult, Culture, Subversion
12th February 2018

If you've ever worn a slogan T-shirt then this is the exhibition for you.

Do not expect a definitive history of the T-shirt but a look at how this utilitarian garment has been a form of communication for the last 50 years - from political message to fashion statement.

As Katherine Hamnett said "If you want to get the message out there, you should print it in giant letters on a T-shirt."

The fashion designer famously worn her "58% Don't Want Pershing" to meet Margaret Thatcher in 1984. A year earlier she had launched her range of oversized white t-shirts with large black block letter slogans including her anti-drug message ‘CHOOSE LIFE” as worn by Wham in their music video for “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”. The Pro-life anti-abortion movement later appropriated this message for their campaign, angering the designer.

The exhibition has a great sound track playing everything from punk to Primal Scream featuring. This really resonates as band T-shirts have also been a key part in how we outwardly identify with – or against – our social peers. In the exhibition, instantly recognisable designs representing the likes of Joy Division, The Velvet Underground as well as Nico and The Rolling Stones are displayed, while the exhibition also delves deeper into the debate as to how far fashion has co-opted the concept.

For me it was this high fashion section that I found most interesting - seeing how various luxury brands have interpreted the slogan T-shirt. From Moschino's carrier bag inspired t-shirt through to Dior's sell-out "We Should All Be Feminists", one of the most talked-about fashion items of last year.

The exhibition runs until 6th May 2018

For more information and tickets see here