Saturday, July 2, 2016

Most Iconic T-Shirts of All Time

I ♥ NY

In an almost eureka moment, designer Milton Glaser sketches “I ♥ NY” on a napkin and the logo appears on T-shirts soon after. It then becomes one of the most worn t-shirts of all time

Vote for Pedro

Wildly popular after the cult hit movie Napoleon Dynamite was released in 2004, the Vote for Pedro shirt has since gained mass appeal. While it’s a relatively simple design on a white/black ringer tee, the movie created quite a visual imprint during Napoleon’s famous dance scene.


Providing comic relief in the film Animal House, John Belushi has become something of an icon for college guys everywhere based on his portrayal of oafy fraternity bro, Bluto

Rolling Stones “Lick”

Alternative album cover for one of the best rock albums of all time, The Rolling Stones’ “Lick” graphic from the Sticky Fingers LP quickly becomes one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most recognizable symbols.


The literal power of this phenomenon can be seen on t-shirts everywhere and with the seemingly endless television & movie remakes in nearly every decade of Superman’s existence, this story (and t-shirt design) isn’t getting old any time soon.


............ no one will argue with the batman ^,..,^

Hard Rock Cafe

If you’ve done any traveling, you’ve probably seen someone wearing a Hard Rock Cafe T-Shirt at some point. Each Hard Rock Cafe, along with its vast array of music memorabilia typically sells a shirt with its city name in their gift shop. With over 100 restaurants having opened up all over the world, these shirts have become something of a collectible over the years.


In 1983, the International Drug Abuse Resistance Education program spread across the United States, providing free shirts, and what inadvertently has turned into sleepwear for an entire generation of schoolkids.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Wear this entry, play the Wizard of Oz, and just… Woah, man. An iconic image for one of rock’s most emblematic albums, Pink Floyd inspires generations of listeners to try looking to the dark side.


Considered to be one of the most influential hip-hop groups in history, Run-D.M.C. started out performing a new type of rap music in the early 80s. Their innovative musical style helped them achieve fame early, and were the first hip-hop group to be nominated for a Grammy and achieve gold-album status. This block letter tee showing off their emblem is bold, memorable, and represents hip-hop in its original form.

Che Guevara

A Marxist figure turned commercial fashion statement, there’s a degree of irony in this entry.


The ultimate Rock & Roll t-shirt. Bob Defrin & Gerard Huerta’s gothic A” and “C” lettertype split with that bold lightning bolt is visually captivating. Pair that with 7 Grammy nods and their 2003 induction into the R&R Hall of Fame and you’ve got your self an iconic band and tee all-in-one.

Frankie Say Relax

To overrule censoring of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song “Relax,” in 1984, label owner Paul Morley prints “FRANKIE SAY RELAX” on T-shirts. It has become something of an graphical inspiration in recent years, with block letter tees becoming all the rage.

Just Do It – Nike

Advertising exec Dan Wieden credits his inspiration for this iconic advertising campaign to the final words of a convict before execution. Hey! If he can face the firing squad, you can definitely run that marathon.

Bob Marley

A musical, national, and fashion icon all in one, Bob Marley is a superstar on our list. Selling 25 million copies world wide, responsible for bringing Rastafarianism and reggae to the mainstream, it’s only fitting that his image is immortal.


“When there’s something strange in the neighborhood… Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!” Two movies, a couple animated TV series, and a bunch of video games later, the Ghostbusters franchise remains popular to this day. And when you stick their logo on t-shirts, it’s universally recognizable.


Army follows the Navy by introducing the “Quarter Sleeve” shirt, keeping the boys in the Pacific theater cool in the tropical heat.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Designed in 1939 to raise British morale during WWII but not publicly displayed until rediscovery in 2000, Keep Calm and Carry On speaks to a new generation of beleaguered masses.

Peace Sign

All they were saying was “Give Peace a Chance.” And many continue to say it with a t-shirt to this day.

Harley Davidson

What once became synonymous with “Hell’s Angels” turned into a t-shirt for every man, symbolizing the freedom of the open road – on weekends of course, and as long as we’re back in time for dinner and to put the kids to bed.

Coca Cola

As one of the most recognizable brands in the world, it’s not surprising a Coca-Cola shirt made the list. With its script logo iconic in its own right, Coke has been able to spawn a collection of t-shirts around the world that never seem to go out of fashion.

The Ramones

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, punk rock founders, and not a single Ramone by birth among them. The Ramones influence on music history is steadfast, and their iconic logo makes our iconic t-shirt list.

Three Wolves Howling at the Moon

The Meryl Streep of Amazon Reviews, this entry just keeps on giving. A delightful collection of absurd mock reviews catapulted this t-shirt into Internet fame and it remains a staple of t-shirt culture.

Jack Daniels

The historic Tennessee Whiskey is not only good for drinking and BBQ marinades — it’s iconic label is pretty cool to wear on your chest too. A classic American brand that’s got a nose for merchandising.


A portmanteau of founder’s name Adi Dassler, ADIDAS was founded in Germany and went on to become one of the world’s foremost sporting brands. You can still believe it stands for All Day I Dream About Sports. We won’t tell anyone.


In the winter, a t-shirt snug enough to keep warm and yet not so tight to cause perspiration. In the summer, light enough to catch the cross breeze from windows there and there. Sheldon Cooper’s comic genius immortalized in cotton.

Captain America

Lone white star. Blue bulls eye. Red and white rings. Step aside baseball, hot dogs, apple pie. This is what hard-core Americana should look like. This t-shirt remains one of the more powerful patriotic expressions to capture young minds.

Nirvana Smiley Face

Kurt Cobain and Nirvana took the historic “Have a Nice Day” smiley face seen on bumper stickers and t-shirts, and turned it into a grungeified logo for their merchandise. The rest is rock ’n’ roll t-shirt history.

Jesus is My Homeboy

Inspiration for fashion photographer David LaChapelle’s Last Supper art exhibit, the Jesus is my Homeboy’s shirt is quite captivating. While LaChapelle is known for making the shirt famous, Van Zan Frater vows he is the shirt’s original creator.

Led Zeppelin

Other than the Beatles, no rock band has made fans more ga ga than Led Zeppelin. The band’s logo for their Swan Song record label became just as iconic as frontman Robert Plant’s wails and lead guitarist Jimmy Page’s rhythmic riffs.

Garth’s Aerosmith Shirt

The awkward, soft-spoken member of the dynamic dweeb duo on Wayne’s World gave Aerosmith an extra injection of popularity with this tee. Though Garth’s was probably a bit more faded and stain-ridden.


Starchild, The Demon, Space Ace, and Catman. KISS has sold over 100 million albums worldwide and legitimized rocking out in platform shoes and leather.

Punisher Skull

The ultimate antihero, The Punisher appeared for the first time in 1974 in The Amazing Spiderman comic #129. His black shirt with large white skull on the chest is so fierce, the original had bullets for teeth.


Before finding meteoric fame during the 2008 Presidential Election, Shepard Fairey first became known as an iconic street artist. Originally a sticker campaign, his Obey Giant works blossomed into a full line of art and apparel.


Whether for Federal Bureau of Investigation enthusiasts or Female Body Inspectors (yes, that is the other meaning), these shirts are sold ALL OVER the place. And bought by many a tourist.

Mighty Mouse

Here he comes to save the day! Airing off and on from 1942 to 1987, this super-powered rodent fought everything from alley cats to animated Nazi’s. What a mouse. WHAT A MOUSE!

Woodstock Festival

Though originals of this classic are very rare, the Woodstock Festival t-shirt design remains etched in American minds, as it perfectly captures the spirit of the time: Peace, Love and Music.

Choose Life

Worn by Wham! in its “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” video, the design was an early foray into social messaging on t-shirts. Designed by Katharine Hamnett to fight back against drug abuse and suicide, this & other Hamnett designs fused social issues and fashion.


While Metallica is certainly a popular band in its own right, it was one of America’s most-iconic doofuses who made this t-shirt truly iconic. Or as Butt-Head might say, “Nice shirt Beavis. Uh huh huh huh.”


This streetwear brand got its start in 1980 by Shawn Stussy after he put his last name on t-shirts to promote his custom surfboards. Thirty-plus years later, the brand is still popular – just more mainstream and a tad less edgy.

Austin 3:16

Austin 3:16 was created by the iconic WWF/WWE wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin after beating Jake “The Snake” Roberts in a historic match in 1996. Austin coined the phrase, mocking Roberts’ recital of John 3:16 before matches, saying the bible verse got him nowhere.