The Urban Graduate [fashion.4a.cause]
In college, there was a guy whom we (students) affectionately knew as “T-SHIRT MAN”. His government name….unknown; His aliases…. “Shirt Man”, “Man with the shirts”, and “Dude sellin’ them shirts”. Although I never knew more than his face, and his palm (in which I placed my $5 or $10), he revolutionized my freshman year wardrobe, LITERALLY. The shirts he sold weren’t even shirts — they were actually more like Fabric Billboards, depicting images of black culture and heritage. Sometimes there was text to accompany the pictures, i.e. The 1968 Olympics (the picture was of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, raising their fists on the podium); other times, there was an entire paragraph, i.e. the bleak history of the word/event “Freaknic”. On the campus, these shirts became infectiously popular like Magic the Gathering Trading Cards and Pokemon, each week asking T-shirt man, “Whatchu got that’s new? I’m lookin for the new joints.” We’d walk around campus advertising for change, consciously and subconsciously.
See, as Urban Graduates, anything we wear becomes a trend, a fashion statement, and a movement. We can dictate anything from politics to sports, all with a simple slogan and a picture across our chests. And it only takes a classroom-full of us to wear the same shirt — we’ll make the 5 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and the 8 o’clock news, not to mention, the local newspaper. But with that power, also comes great social responsibility. Make an effort to know about what you put on and why you put it on.
Shirts (at top, clockwise from the top left): The Unity Tee by One People Project. The Ba-RockSmith Tee by RockSmith. The Defense T-shirt by Hellz Bellz. The Hope T-shirt by OBEY.
Shirts (at bottom, L – R): The Republicans are Old and Wack Tee by Sons of Liberty. The Brother Tee by One People Project.