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Tees and tags

Wearing one's attitude on tee shirts, it seems, is out of date.



T-shirt graffiti is no longer making statements as it was before.

READING TEE shirt graffiti has always been quietly amusing, an engaging activity for many. One thought so, until one read this gorgeous girl in the neighbourhood, whose tee shirt asked in bold, `Your face, My ass, What's the difference? After all, there are better pastimes that being overly curious!

And besides, one rarely comes across people who wear tee shirts that also make for a good read, these days.

Minimalist trend

Fashion designer Asmita Gunti Marwah agrees, "The current trend is to be minimal, sport just a brand name or a logo on a plain tee shirt, or maybe an obscure picture. There are few who still continue to wear tee shirts with stuff - sometimes weird, at times, wacky, or even serious - scribbled on them." She thinks it is outdated.

There was a time, not long ago, when a tee shirt did actually define its wearer with people announcing worldviews through them. While a certain-Che Guevara staring fixedly from behind tee shirts pointed towards the left, a stoned-Cobain in bandanas or Jimi Hendrix in an expression of extreme aggression (while singing) exhibited the power of the flower. As it happens, themes and topics changed with time.

60s and 70s

While in the Sixties and Seventies - it was Vietnam and Che to be followed by apartheid and Mandela. Monica Lewinsky came in later. And then it was a Bin Laden or Bush along with the Dixie Chicks who shared space on the torso. Somewhere in between all that, the fashion to pass on messages through tee shirts that can give you no more than just a smile, gained grounds. And we had ones that simply said, `Keep Smiling.'

"Irrespective of whether it is serious or funny, profound or silly, with or without a doodle, tee shirts should be meaningful," asserts K. Moses, fitness instructor, Y.M.C.A gym, who was last seen in a black tee that said: I'm a hot dude with a cool attitude. Film director Jayant Paranje cannot be ignored when it's about tee shirts. A proud owner of an eclectic collection that makes for a `cool copy', Paranje can be easily recognised by tee shirts that speak, among many other things, of `beer drinking' strategies. "It should be like wearing one's attitude, making a statement of style at the same time," says model-turned banker, Santosh. While in college, he used to whitewash his own tees with prose like, Rub out racism or No woman, no cry.

"It used to be quite hep then," he rues, adding, "and great fun to study messages others had to say." Those were the days when there was always something to talk about. Now the only ones that grab attention are the ones that follow the contours.

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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