LONDON, United Kingdom — Funny, obscene, obscure, retro, rebellious, puerile or tribal — often broadcasting fandom, in-jokes or subcultural affiliation — the humble graphic t-shirt punches far above its weight. For labels, it’s a high volume product with a healthy margin that requires no specialist manufacturing. For consumers, it can be an accessibly priced entry point to an aspirational brand.
In the last decade or so, the over-licensing of graphics linked to cultural lodestars — from The Ramones to Star Wars — and the logo-heavy product of teen retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch have helped drive the graphic t-shirt out of fashion. But, now, retailers, distributors and brands at the trend-sensitive edge are reporting a resurgence of interest in t-shirts, specifically for smaller and hard-to-find labels.