T-shirts as social identifier

I’ve been reading Wil Wheaton’s latest post on new t-shirts from Threadless. Like Wil, I have a critical addiction to great shirts. And, like Wil, my wife thinks I have too many t-shirts… Of course we know there’s no such thing.

On reflection, and after a little discussion with colleagues, what I’m thinking is that t-shirts today are much more than just a simple garment. These days, t-shirts represent an acceptable form of social expression, identifying the wearer as having a place within an identifiable part of society (gamers, Star Wars fans, sports fans, etc.) or having a position on a certain issue (Creative Commons, the War in Iraq, etc.).

Here’s a sample of the shirts I own, and what they represent for me.

Dark Side of the Garden

Me in Threadless’ Dark Side of the Garden. For me, it says “Star Wars fan” and “offbeat sense of humor”.

Creative Communist t-shirt
Giant Robot’s Copyleft Aeroflot. Saying, on my part that I support the notion of Creative Commons (thus the license on this blog and The ACME Guide) and think that Bill Gates’ comments on the matter are crap.

I Am Not A Terrorist Enemy Combatant t-shirt

Casual Disobedience‘s I Am Not A Terrorist and Enemy Combatant. Which for me say that vilification and fear of the Islamic community as a group is reprehensible and without foundation and that the ability to declare and detain someone indefinitely for being an “enemy combatant” is a frightening abuse of power (and Australia isn’t that far behind the US in this regard…).

This Is How I Roll t-shirt

Staccato’s This Is How I Roll. Obviously says “gamer” and Katamari Damacy fan, even if the gaming is infrequent these days…

Make Poverty History - Stand Up t-shirt

Make Poverty History‘s Stand Up 2006. Says I care about making a difference for some of our social ills. For me, poverty and substance dependance are key issues.

There are a heap more including Mule Design’s Welcome Squid Overlords (Lovecraft fan, sense of humor), several from ThinkGeek (geek, natch), Boing Boing’s Flying Spaghetti Monster (religious skeptic and scornful of Intelligent Design). Plus I have several tech company/web site t-shirts I’ve managed to pick up.

So, anyone who runs into me on a t-shirt wearing day can be pretty sure of gleaning at least a little understanding of where my passions, humor and politics lie.

How about you? What t-shirts do you own that represent your position on different aspects of your life?

One Reply to “T-shirts as social identifier”

  1. Wonderful blog and I couldn’t agree more! T-shirts definitely represent an acceptable form of social expression which is exactly why I’ve gotten into the business of selling them.

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