Although the roots of screen printing can be traced back to ancient China, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the technique became readily available en masse. Printed motifs and slogans made it easier than ever to show loyalty to your cultural tribe. Band T-shirts proudly displayed graphics such as the iconic Rolling Stones lips on the front and tour dates on the back, while replica sports shirts were adorned with team and player names.
Today, prints remain a powerful way to communicate on the catwalks. Phrases like ‘Common sense is not so common’ and ‘Tomorrow is now yesterday’ were scrawled across tanks and T-shirts at Gucci’s autumn/winter 2017 collection. Valentino showcased muted checked coats and soft-hued sweatshirts featuring slogans such as ‘Beauty is a birthright, reclaim your heritage’ in punky Pistols-esque fonts.
Off-White and Moncler’s exclusive spring/summer 2017 collaboration was full of attitude, with silver-tone stripes and arrows decorating the backs of jackets and T-shirts. Stylish attendees at the 2017 menswear Fashion Weeks in London, Paris and Milan went for a similar look. The backs of shirts and bomber jackets were adorned with everything from astronauts to animals. Our favourite? A trench that boldly declared ‘NOT FROM PARIS MADAME’ across its back, worn – where else? – at Paris Fashion Week.
Take back prints from the catwalks to the streets like pop superstar Harry Styles, pairing an embroidered bomber with simple black jeans and boots. Or mirror Bollywood star Salman Khan in a ‘Being Dabangg’ T-shirt, casually hanging a pair of aviator sunglasses from the back collar.
Amidst all the motifs and messages, one thing’s for certain – there’s no looking back, as these prints are here to stay.
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