Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Message Tees: Cheesy Or Powerful?

Published on March 19, 2013 by   ·   89 Comments Pin It
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So you have no problem wearing that ZZ Top vintage concert tee shirt but the thought of a “Don’t Frack With Us” shirt makes you gag on your spirulina shake? Why is it that message shirts, and wearing our hearts quite literally on our sleeve is considered tacky, but wearing a bacon stache’d hoodie is considered cool?  What do you tell the world when you wear a mustache shirt? How they read to me is – please accept me as cool and invite me to your party… Aka .. are we still in middle school?

It’s time to get with the times, The New York Times, who said – in article titled “Telling the world what you think: the T-shirt as message” by Jessica Michault;

Celebrities and citizens alike have stopped wearing their hearts on their sleeves and decided to take a more direct route to communicate to the world. Call it the mini me version of Internet blogging, the “message” T-shirt is now the hippest way to make a statement, express an emotion, or share a political view with the masses.

It’s cooler to stand for something than to fall for anything.  Nothing is hotter than knowing what you’ll ethically tolerate and having the chutzpah to stand behind it.

Case in point – when I wear my NO FUR pin on my coat – it’s an open invitation for dialogue or an unspoken political statement or expression. When my son wears a little shirt that says “Not a meat eater” it almost always creates a dialogue.

Feel that swell? That’s the widening of our collective conscience.  That’s the fellow Mom in the park who after seeing my little guy’s shirt and talking to me for five minutes about veganism or environmentalism, gets home and does some googling and switches from cows milk to almond milk.  That’s how change happens. It’s as easy as a tee shirt sometimes.

So the question then becomes why wouldn’t we wear message shirts?

I’m more of a dress and heels kind of gal, but almost always when I have a chance to wear something casual in the mornings when I’m taking the kid to school or doing yoga – it’s a message shirt.  Message wear sends off a signal that people must take in – consciously or subconsciously – that lingers.  And it lingers in me too.  It reminds me of my mission here and makes me proud of where my ethical compass points.  If I have to walk by meat stinking restaurants all day long – the world will have to tolerate (and even consider) my message de jour.

Throwing on a walking billboard for something we deeply believe in is far stronger cosmically than a big Ralph Lauren insignia or Lulu Lemon label.  What do our labels tell people about us.. or about what we do (or do not) stand for?  When we become less afraid of confrontation, a peacefulness comes over us because we know a little better who we are.

Have a favorite message item? Leave the link in the comments section below and tell us a little story about what sort of reaction (positive or negative) it brought to your life.

Here are some (some subtle, some not at all) to start with.. and when I see you wearing one of these (or something powerful) you’ll get a big fat thumbs up from me;

Candle Cafe T- Shirts, $20 @candlecafegoodies.com

Adore-A-Bull Lime Green, $15 @motivecompany.com

Einstein Tee "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet,” $26 @getvegucated.com

Our Hen House Tote, $50 (donation to their org) @ourhenhouse.org

Its Nice To Be Nice Tee, $19.50 @delias.com

Friend Not Food Toddler, $18 @store.woodstocksanctuary.org

Best Friends Animal Society No Kill LA Tee, $21 @wag.com

Vegan Make Better Lovers Organic Women's Fitted T, $26.99 @cafepress.com/petastore

New Kids & Cows Eco Oatmeal Crewneck, $40 @motivecompany.com

Original one4one Tee, $27 @liveone4one.com

Holy Cow, $43 @luckyduckliving.com

PARTICIPATE Graphic Tee for Women in 100% Organic White Cotton, $19 @etsy.com

It’s Your Dream, Trust It , $28.00 @handsturnedon.com

All Babies Youth Tee, $20 @shop.farmsanctuary.org

I Can't Even Look At You In That Fur Tee, $32 @vautecouture.com

Wings Are For Flying, Not Frying Slouchy Remix, $34 @herbivoreclothing.com

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Readers Comments (89)

  1. Daniele says:

    As someone who is trying to enter a vegetarian, and preferably VEGAN lifestyle, I am very pro these sorts of message tee’s. However, I feel that the one that says “I can’t even look at you in that fur” is more of a judgement against omnivores. I mean, we’re trying to spread a message about loving all creatures and treating them with respect, the same has to be applied to people who choose to use animals. A LOT of people don’t know what goes into making that fur coat. They may know an animal is murdered, but they don’t know the details or how that animal suffered throughout its life. We need to spread education and caring and friendship, not judgements.

  2. Jessica Schlueter says:

    I had a conversation last week with a woman who told me that after years as a vegetarian, she saw a woman wearing a t-shirt that showed a calf behind bars saying something like “please don’t steal my mother’s milk.” She asked the woman to explain it to her, and went vegan immediately (I think that was about 20 years ago!). I think they can be very powerful- but I urge designers to make the writing big and legible. No one wants to awkwardly stare at your chest (and least not obviously!) to decipher the tiny message.

    • Daniele says:

      I think those sorts of messages get the point across a lot better than judging someone. That calf behind bars would encourage a discussion, rather than a fight :)

  3. Jesse says:

    These are all amazing! I love that there are so many different styles of messages available now. While I love some of the cute shirts that have a message– I really prefer the more in your face ones. I LOVE Vaute Couture’s fur shirt because that’s exactly how I feel when I see someone in fur… or Herbivore’s “meat is fucking up the planet” shirt. So many people need a sort of slap in the face when it comes to issues involving animal rights and those shirts deliver it. Also, I have to buy that kids and cows shirt now :)

    • Daniele says:

      I just don’t think it works to attack people, especially if you want to preach love. attacking the practice is a good message, attacking the person who may not know anything about what they’re wearing isn’t.

  4. nile butta says:

    As a designer of clothes for dogs I always felt that the animals themselves are the best good will ambassadors out there. One Anti-fur shirt we did in particular for the dogs; was amazing because people read the message coming from an adorable animal and often times a fur wearing woman would read it and think twice perhaps. The message gets delivered non defensively without me saying a word. Also the association that one little creature you admire is not that far from one you may be wearing on your back.

  5. Jen says:

    http://cheekscapemay.com/dog-ma-p-139.html

    Whenever I wear my Dog Ma t-shirt, I always get such a positive response. My fur-kids are my pride and joy. They count on me to provide them with a loving and safe environment. There is an immediate connection with others that love their furry ones. It’s a nice feeling.

  6. Renee says:

    Totally not subtle, and people will hold you up to read it, but nearly always a positive response: planting seeds! http://www.nonviolenceunited.org/veganshirt.html

  7. […] Message Tees: Cheesy Or Powerful? – the Girly Girl Army loves their message tees.  (Though I have to disagree, wearing your heart on your sleeve is fine by me:)) […]

  8. Bee says:

    T-Shirts at tippitappi – http://tippitappi.bigcartel.com/ – look great, are 100% organic and definitely spread good messages too : )

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