In my day job, I work for a printing company, or a merchandise management company if I was looking for a better term. This means that I get to some excellent designs and excellent examples of merchandise which comes from some of the biggest companies in the world.
One question I get asked frequently is what’s the best T-Shirt I’ve ever seen, worn, or owned and it always causes me to think because there’s a lot of good T-Shirt designs out there.
T-Shirts have been around for over 100 years and in this time there’s been some of the best, and worst, designs imaginable that has been printed onto the front of the T-Shirt – from merchandise to just brilliant designs. For this reason, I’ve decided to create a list of the top 50 T-Shirts of all time and also give a bit of a reason why I selected it.
As having a top 50 can create a long blog post, I’ve decided to segment it into 5 posts of 10 and run down from number 50 all the way to number 1. So without further delay let’s take a look at what I’ve come up with.
50. HELLO KITTY:
OK, I admit, I’ve never owned or even wore a Helly Kitty T-Shirt and but I have purchased them for my niece.
Originating way back in 1976, Hello Kitty was created in Japan and it’s since gone on to become a $5 billion empire. Over the past 40 years, Hello Kitty has continued to become more of a global brand with kids (and even some adults) going mad for their merchandise.
For this reason, I’ve had to include them in my top 50.
49. IT’S THE FED’S:
While many people purchase the T-Shirt because they want to act like they’re part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, many others want to try their hand at becoming Female Body Inspectors (although both never seem to work).
Whichever reason, FBI T-Shirts are sold all over the world and their a popular tourist purchase from those visiting our cousins across the pond.
48. MY NAME IS BARRY ALLEN AND I’M THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE:
The Flash is the first of many superhero T-Shirts that will enter into my top 50.
Superheroes tend to generate a lot of revenue through their merchandise sales but they’re also becoming more and more popular today. The reason for this is because of new films and TV shows that are being released on a yearly basis.
The Flash T-Shirt features the Flash’s cool lightning bolt logo on the front and the red background gives you a cool look which was also made famous by The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper.
47. THE HARD ROCK CAFE:
It’s not just bands, brands and comic book heroes that can sell their own merchandise. Hard Rock Cafe prove that if you’ve got a good reputation you can sell anything to your fans.
Each Hard Rock Cafe restaurant features a vast array of memorabilia and they all sell their own T-Shirts with the location printed on them.
With over 100 restaurants worldwide, it’s easy to see why the Hard Rock Cafe T-Shirts are one of the most popular T-Shirts around.
I did say that the Flash wasn’t the only superhero T-Shirt I would be mentioning! What can I say about BananaMan? He’s nobodies favourite superhero and if you asked a comic book fan about their favourites – I bet BananaMan wouldn’t make the list.
I like the BananaMan T-Shirts because he’s a parody of traditional superheroes, transforming from a schoolboy to a muscle-bound caped crusader with a super power of ‘intense stupidity’.
Since the original BananaMan character appeared in Nutty magazine back in 1980 – he has gone on to become something of a cult icon and his T-Shirts have enjoyed massive success throughout the years.
45. THE UNION JACK:
The Union Jack dress was made popular by Geri Halliwell, however, the T-Shirts have been popular with brits for as long as I can remember.
Us British love nothing more than donning our Union Jack’s every time there’s a sporting event to showcase our national pride and to get behind our teams. The Union Jack was also made popular in other countries thanks to famous Brit bands including The Sex Pistols and Def Leppard.
44. OH, REALLY PENFOLD?
Danger Mouse was one of my favourite cartoons growing up. The British animated cartoon series was originally aired back in 1981 and ran right the way to 1992.
The cartoon was a parody of British spy fiction and featured the voice of the excellent David Jason.
The T-Shirt was originally picked for nostalgic reasons but recently, the TV series has been revived and the popularity of this great British cartoon is increasing once again.
43. FREEDOM IS THE RIGHT OF ALL SENTIENT BEINGS:
What’s cooler than robots from outer space that can disguise themselves as cars and trucks here on Earth?
That’s the premise for transformers and it’s been popular ever since the franchise began back in 1984. Since then, we’ve seen cartoons and multi-billion dollar films being released to bring the Transformers into the 21st century.
The fifth film instalment of Transformers is due out in June 2017 so you can expect the merchandise sales for the Decepticons and Autobots to once again go through the roof.
42. DON’T HAVE A COW, MAN!
Everyone’s favourite American family, the Simpsons is one of the world’s most recognised cartoons. The animated sitcom was created by Matt Groening and appeared as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show back in 1987.
Since then The Simpsons became so popular that they were given their own 30-minute prime time show and cartoons have never been the same since. Since the original episode back on December 17th, 1989, the show has broadcast 596 episodes and it’s currently airing its 27th season – impressive stuff for a cartoon.
Along with this, merchandise sales continue to grow each year. Every 11 year old wants a Bart Simpson T-Shirt and every dad secretly aspires to be just like Homer.
41. ALWAYS COCA-COLA:
Cola-Cola is the perfect example of what can happen when a huge, global brand releases their own range of merchandise.
Coca-Cola is one of the biggest brands of soft drinks in the world and it’s available to purchase pretty much everywhere. To help them boost sales, Coca-Cola also launched a range of merchandise which has become so popular that it has its own online store.
On the store, you can buy T-Shirts, caps, straw holders, napkin holders, glasses, hoodies and pretty much everything else. Coca-Cola is still one of the main reasons why large companies should get into selling their own merch.