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The First Promotional Shirt Was Produced In 1939, For The Wizard Of Oz.

National White Shirt Day, also know as National White T-Shirt Day, is always observed on February 11th.

  • This unofficial national holiday honors the men and women who participated in the strike at General Motors in 1937.
  • The United Auto Workers (UAW) union was helped by these autoworkers to become the sole bargaining agent for General Motors autoworkers.
  • White Shirt Day is best known in Flint, Michigan, and other cities that have a GM auto plant.
  • Cotton, the most common T-shirt material, has been grown by humans for over 7,000 years. The first evidence of cotton use was found in the city of Mehrgarh, one of the earliest South Asian farming settlements in the world.
  • Cotton is stronger wet than dry, and can absorb more than twenty times its own weight in water.
  • Textile printing has actually existed for far longer than the T-Shirt. The oldest method of textile printing, woodblock printing, dates to 3rd century China. It relied on a relief design carved into a block of wood, dipped into ink and pressed down onto fabric.
  • Every year, over 2 billion T-shirts are sold worldwide.
  • It’s believed that the T-shirt originated from a type of all-in-one underwear known as the “union suit,” patented in 1868 in New York. Many workers took to cutting these outfits in half to keep cool in hot weather.
  • T-Shirts became a part of the United States Navy’s uniform in 1905, which required a buttonless, white cotton undershirt. It was also adopted into the United States Army a few years later, during World War 1.
  • The word “T-shirt” was first used in 1920 by author F. Scott Fitzgerald in his novel, This Side of Paradise.  It didn’t become popular until many years later – in the 1930s, T-Shirts were labeled “skivvies” and “jimshirts.”
  • The first promotional shirt was produced in 1939, for The Wizard of Oz.
  • The oldest printed shirt in the Smithsonian institute was part of New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s presidential campaign, and reads “Dew-It with Dewey.”
  • Marlon Brando first wore a T-shirt unadorned in his movie, A Street Car Named Desire. It generated a ton of controversy, and caused a nationwide spike in T-shirt sales. Brando is also credited with popularizing jeans with his role in The Wild One. James Dean is another celebrity credited with popularizing T-Shirts as more than undershirts
  • Tropix Togs was the first company to decorate T-shirts with pop culture icons and slogans in the early 1950s. This ended up popularizing custom T-Shirts, which are an essential part of pop culture and business branding to this day.
  • Rock and Roll bands further popularized T-shirts during the 60s, promoting their music through custom screen printed shirts.
  • In the late 60s Tie-Dye T-Shirts became a central element of the hippie movement. Somewhat ironically, this was done at the behest of Rit Dye advertising mogul Don Price.
  • The Guinness World Record for the most T-Shirts worn at any given time is 257, and was achieved by a fellow in Sri Lanka by the name of Sanath Bandara. The shirts together weighed over 200 pounds.
  • The world’s most expensive T-shirt design costs a jaw-dropping $400,000. Although it’s made of organic cotton, it also has a set of 16 diamonds sewn into the fabric, which together amount to 9 carats. Not exactly the kind of shirt you’d wear to your brother-in-law’s barbeque, is it?
  • 62% of Americans claim to own ten or more shirts. That’s enough shirts to circle the globe 34 times if lined up next to one another.
  • Coca Cola was the first brand to ever promote itself using T-Shirts.
  • The oldest preserved garment is a linen shirt discovered in the tomb of a First Dynasty Egyptian tomb dating back to 3000 B.C. (or possibly even earlier.) Found by archaeologist Flinders Petrie in the late 1800s, he described the shirt as “highly sophisticated”, featuring pleating and a decorative fringe.
  • The term “t-shirt” comes from the iconic “T” shape of the shirt, and the word was officially added to Webster’s Dictionary in 1920.
  • In the 1970s, New York City had the reputation of being dirty and crime-ridden, so the city government hires designer Milton Glaser to make a new logo to help promote tourism. He designs the “I (Heart) New York” logo over lunch one day, which goes on to become one of the most iconic and imitated shirt designs in history.
  • The first promo t-shirt was produced for The Wizard of Oz in 1939.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald was the first to coin the word t-shirt in 1920 in his novel, This Side of Paradise.


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