Slogan Tshirts Katharine Hamnett 4

Say It With Your Chest

Slogan T-shirts put politics front and centre of fashion 

Trending now... | Jul 3, 2024

It’s been a long and arduous six weeks since Rishi Sunak called a general election. Tomorrow, as the UK finally heads to the polls and waits in bathed breath for the outcome, fashion, as it often does, has become a powerful political tool. 

Text by Augustine Hammond

The slogan T-shirt, an age-old canvas for expression, has emerged to embody the spirit of activism and engagement sweeping the nation. From bold declarations of party allegiance to calls for social justice, these T-shirts are a testament to the power of words in shaping public discourse. Wearing a message across your chest is, once again, a definitive statement of beliefs and identity.

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Slogan Tshirts Katharine Hamnett 7

No discussion of slogan T-shirts would be complete without mentioning Katharine Hamnett, a pioneer in unabashedly politically charged fashion. In 1984, she famously shook hands with Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street to celebrate the inaugural London Fashion Week, in a T-shirt that boldly declared, “58% Don’t Want Pershing” – a shocking stat that came from a European opinion poll about the widely opposed Conservative policy on nuclear missiles. Her other iconic designs, known for their stark block letters, including “Stop War, Blair Out,” in protest to the invasion of Iraq, “Choose Life”, “Worldwide Nuclear Ban Now” and “Use a Condom”, globally championed causes like climate justice, nuclear disarmament, better education and support for the arts.

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Slogan Tshirts Katharine Hamnett 6

At Glastonbury 2024, slogans were everywhere. A sea of Brat supporters could be seen wearing acid green, text-emblazoned tees, but it was Katharine Hamnett who made an even bigger impact. Taking over the festival’s late-night (and very early morning) stage Block9, Hammett plastered the towering walls with 40 new statement slogans, including: “Let Aid into Gaza Now,” “Save the NHS”, “Cancel Student Debt”, “Vote Female Reproductive Rights”, “Vote Freedom to Protest” and “Vote Affordable Sustainable Housing”. 

For festival-goers wanting to sport these slogans, each poster around Block9 featured a scannable code with a downloadable PDF, allowing them to print the designs on their own shirts at home, ensuring that the messages could spread far beyond the festival grounds.

Slogan Tshirts Ashish

On the runway, Indian-born British designer Ashish Gupta has championed a bold slogan too. His designs often fuse glitter and glamour with hard-hitting messages, including his “Immigrant,” “More Glitter Less Twitter,” and “Love Sees No Colour,” bedazzled t-shirts, addressing issues from immigration and social media obsession to racial equality.

As election fever peaks, the rise of slogan t-shirts underscores the role of fashion in political discourse. Whether advocating for environmental justice, equality, or political reform, these t-shirts are a symbol of a generation determined to make their voices heard. In the coming days, as the UK anticipates the election results and possibly the end of 14 years of Tory rule, find a slogan that resonates with you and wear it proudly…