International T-shirt Day | June 21

International t-shirt day



June 21st marks the celebration of International T-shirt day!

The yearly celebration of T-shirt day all started back in 2008 as an initiative by the brand Spreadshirt and has since taken the world by storm.

But before you dig out your favorite T-shirt (or go out buying a new one), check out this history all about the T-shirt that will make you appreciate this cool annual holiday just that little bit more.

The t-shirt staple.

Different colored clothes on a rail

T-shirts are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in one’s wardrobe.

They can be layered both over and under other articles of clothing making them easy to be thrown on during every season and for many occasions.

Your t-shirt can be just a simple single color or covered with text or graphics for self-expression.

This international holiday has grown since it was first developed.

What’s the reason behind this holiday?

Three young women wearing white t-shirts

During the holiday’s first year of celebration, a company called Spreadshirt created events in both Boston, USA as well as in Berlin, Germany.

These events included a competition and blog safari all centering around one article of clothing – the T-shirt.

Then in 2009 events were registered in cities all across Europe to celebrate.

During 2010, brands began hosting their own celebrations to observe the holiday.

The following year American Apparel as well as other fashion brands began sponsoring T-shirt giveaways.

This same year those celebrating in the UK, Netherlands, and Spain began a “take one, leave one” program for the holiday where T-shirts were hung from a clothing line and others celebrating could take their favorites if they left another T-shirt in return.

The date of National T-Shirt Day.

A big pile of different colored t-shirts

The date of the holiday falls on June 21st every year.

This was chosen because it is the beginning of the T-shirt season (when you’re not layering, of course).

The history of T-shirts – Before the 1950s.

Three different gray t-shirts on a rail

This versatile closet staple that is the center of this holiday first came into popularity in 1904.

It began with a magazine ad from the Cooper Underwear Company.

This ad portrayed two men in separate photos, the first looking uncomfortable in his traditional undershirt with buttons that were falling off and looking sloppy, the second of a man with a mustache and smoking a cigar in what is now the modern-day long-sleeve crew-neck T-shirt.

Cooper Underwear Company was pushing “The Bachelor Shirt” and advertised with the slogan “No Safety Pins-No Needle-No Thread-No Buttons.”

The concept caught on quickly, and shortly after the U.S. Navy began requiring undershirts with no buttons for their sailors.

The crew-neck style was originated with traditional long johns popular with men during the 19th Century.

Crew-necks were given the push into the spotlight through this ad.

In the following years, the style gained popularity, first debuting in print in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “This Side of Paradise.”.

The garment’s first appearance on the big screen was in 1951 on actor Marlon Brando in the film “A Streetcar Named Desire” which lead to T-shirt sales totaling $180 million that year.

Post-1950s – the T-shirt evolves.

An older lady holding up a t-shirt that reads "I Heart NY"

T-shirts have since evolved from being simple undergarments to a way to express oneself.

The 1950s saw the beginning of printed T-shirts. Companies quickly took advantage of this as a method of advertising.

Disney began printing images of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters as well as resort names on T-shirts and were soon followed by other companies looking for new ways to promote their brands.

Moving into the 1960s, the T-shirt became a platform for people to wear and show off their favorite rock bands.

Album covers made their way onto T-shirts and soon after, the garment began to be the host for people to share political images as well.

Then the end of the 1960s brought colorful expression to the T-shirt in the form of tie-dye.

One of the most iconic T-shirt designs was brought to light in 1977 by graphic designer Milton Glaser.

In a marketing campaign for New York state, the “I (heart) NY” T-shirt was born and has since been imitated in other souvenirs and on T-shirts by other cities worldwide.


The T-shirt has grown to be a staple in just about everyone’s wardrobes with the average person owning 27 T-shirts.

It is a garment that is now worn by all social classes and all ages. Sold by low-priced retailers and high fashion houses alike.

So, what’s the best way for you to celebrate with the rest of the world on this international holiday?

Find an event near you or just simply wear your favorite T-shirt.

About The Author

Angela Sterley
Angela Sterley

Angela Sterley is a fashion contributor based in LA with her Pomsky pup. She’s an experience junkie with a passion for style and exploring the world.

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