Fashion: Written on the body

Your T-shirt says more about you than mere personality ever can.

The humble T-shirt is one of the easiest and cheapest forms of making a statement. Katharine Hamnett found fame through her anti-nuclear T-shirt slogan "58 per cent Say No To Pershing" and "Choose Life" in 1983, and is still on the campaign trail with her latest, "Passports for Pets". "Frankie Says Relax" is another classic of the genre. But that was the Eighties. Today the T-shirt is more fashionable than political.

In the past few years we've had the kiddies' T-shirt trend, thanks to Paula Yates and Yasmin Le Bon plundering their daughters' wardrobes for Little Miss Trouble, Minnie Mouse and their ilk; and the Trainspotting trend when everyone wanted one like Ewan McGregor's, which was an original Seventies number that should have stayed in the 5p bin at Oxfam.

More recently the unisex street label YMC have taken a graph paper print and put it on T-shirts, Vivienne Westwood cuts them on the bias and charges pounds 105 for the privilege, and high street stores Warehouse and French Connection cover them with beads and sequins. A sign of the times, certainly, but there are some obsessives who go to greater lengths for the ultimate T- shirt.

Fashion designer John Rocha, for example, has 12 identical white T-shirts made for him twice a year because the design (his own from three years ago) flatters his shape. He is not alone. Kenneth Mackenzie, the designer of men's label 6876, has a thing about Agnes B and Comme des Garcons long- sleeved T-shirts and always makes sure he's stocked up.

Mackenzie and Rocha represent the purist approach. Anyone with more than a passing interest in looking well turned out - ie anyone who works in fashion, arts or design-related fields - will have a bit of this purist streak in their blood. The shape, style, fabric and colour -black, white or grey - must be just so (mine's a Gap slim-fit V-neck that, annoyingly, has been discontinued). Stylist Holly Wood favours an early Eighties Vivienne Westwood Seditionaries T-shirt). Once the right T-shirt is found it is difficult to change, and everyone has their own favourite.

Aside from black, white and grey classics, however, there is another world of T-shirts out there. The big and baggy, that can be bought from any market; the sporty, such as Adidas, Nike and Tommy Hilfiger, and the tiny, from kid's shops. The trendy, the arty and the cool are a different matter and are subject to personal tastes, but this lot are a pretty good example. We spent all weekend putting them on customers at a McDonald's drive-thru in East London.

One of the favourites of the day was from Antoni & Alison, the duo who changed the face of T-shirt fashion in the early Nineties by plastering "Love It" across the front of a classic tee. They began a fad for slogan T-shirts that proclaimed everything about their wearer from "Babe" to "Whore".

"The lipstick one is about all the things you can find in your make-up case," says Antoni, whose passion for the T-shirt has not waned after 10 years in the business. "When we first started to work with them it was because the T-shirt was taken for granted and overlooked. Then it became something we could play with." And play with it they do. Their latest bestseller is printed simply with "1974".

"We had a guy drive up to the shop on Saturday in his big car who walked in, bought 1974, and walked out wearing it."

According to Antoni "1974" can mean anything. Alison says: "It reminds me of the year I played the little lamb in a nativity play." Antoni reveals: "I was experimenting with my Ziggy Stardust-inspired hair and make-up."

Unfortunately 1974 was out of stock at the time of the shoot, but we are reliably informed that there will be more by the end of the week. Tamsin Blanchard is on holiday

Tee Stockists

Oeuf, enquiries 0171-379 4660

Born Free mail order and enquiries 0171-837 4757

Generic Costume and Union

from Browns Focus, enquiries

0171-629 0666

French Connection, nationwide enquiries 0171-399 7200

YMC available nationwide, enquiries 0171-251 8861

Antoni and Alison, available from Selfridges, Oxford Street, London W1, and the Antoni & Alison

shop, stockist enquiries

0171-833 2002

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn