A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly when it comes to t-shirts – we’ve always found the sloganned variety a little brash. Much better to opt for its more civilised cousin: the graphic print tee. Long a staple of street-wear, these t-shirts have been welcomed with open arms into the upper echelons of the fashion world. Earlier this month, Dover Street Market – a cathedral of all that is chic, and dearly expensive – erected a display to the humble graphic tee. Here, we’ve pulled together our favourites.
1. Block-Print: £65, folkclothing.com
There’s something timeless about the abstract, block-print on this by London-based Folk. Its tees are made from soft, quality cotton, and the eye-catching but easy-to-wear designs will go with most things in your wardrobe.
2. Lanvin Panelled Cotton T-shirt: £210, mrporter.com
Who’d spend £210 on a t-shirt? Well, this one from French fashion house Lanvin tempts us to splash out. The camouflaged spider design in acid brights is on a woven panel, rather than the usual screen print. It’s a conversation starter, and an investment, we reckon.
3. Fire Hydrant: £31.50, lostartshop.co.uk
Swedish brand Post is one of our favourite brands to wear this summer. This is our pick of the lot - anyone who’s ever seen a Spike Lee film knows the fire hydrant is essential to cooling off at a block party after a long, sticky New York City day.
4. YMC Drip Painting: £50, youmustcreate.com
If Jackson Pollock made t-shirts, this is a fair estimation of what they would look like. YMC – short for You Must Create - has remained fiercely independent of trends for 20 years. Instead, it opts for modern, functional designs that you won’t see elsewhere.
Available this week
5. All Over Floral Slim Fit: £18, topman.com
Here’s one from Topman for lazy summer days - or a last-minute addition to your suitcase. Strong all-over tropical motifs on a good-quality, slim-fit white tee make this a holiday buy that will last beyond the beach.
6. Mike Parillo Tee: £29.99, freezeproshop.com
Volcom’s predominantly a skate brand, but this swirl-print tee, designed by artist Mike Parillo, will work in a wardrobe that doesn’t include a board on four wheels.
7. Gunn Print: £80, blood-brother.co.uk
East London-based Blood Brother’s pieces are mostly monochrome and a refined take on street style. The latest collection features nods to military themes. The markings on this tee are taken from a tropical frog – a reference to a Royal Navy ‘frogman’ diver.
8. Men USA Omiyage Graphic Short Sleeve T-Shirt: £12.90, uniqlo.com
Japanese brand Uniqlo consistently delivers graphic tees with on-point, pop-culture references that cost less than a meal out. We’re fans of this city-inspired range. Hong Kong, Paris and London are all also showcased.
9. YR Store X Marco Oggian 'Play Time': £29, yrsto.re
YR Store’s USP is that it allows customers to design t-shirts from scratch. It also has a range made in collaboration with digital artist Marco Oggian. His references include the MTV logo, the acid house smiley face and ice lollies, but this geometric design caught our eye.
10. Flint by Tom Sewell: £25, theillustratedmind.com
Brighton- based The Illustrated Mind provides a platform for up-and-coming designers. All illustrations are printed on thick, hard-wearing tees. “Flint” by artist Tom Sewell is one of our favourites; a psychedelic trip of a print, in seriously bold colours.
Flint is an exemplar in the field: big, bold, bright, uncompromising. Along with the Lanvin, it catches the eye – but at a tenth of the price. We also love the idea behind The Illustrated Mind – you can support an independent label and an up-and-coming artist while looking fly.
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