The Fire Island Tee Shirt.
T shirts have always been a souvenir or memory of the places we have known. I’m not exactly sure when the idea of recreating vintage Pines logoed merchandise came to me but has been our main source of creating income to fund this organization since. We take great pride in seeing our stuff out and about from Fire Island, New York, P Town, Florida, and even England. We certainly did not invent the idea, but all of our designs are inspired by the past. This guy above is the quintessential Pines guy modeling the classic Pines logo. Please support us by owning a piece of history, SHOP HERE!
The Origin of the T-Shirt by Will Harris.
The t-shirt as we know it today is an apparel staple. The simple garment is so deeply ingrained in world culture that it’s easy to forget that, relatively speaking, the t-shirt itself is quite young. The origins of the t-shirt date back to the late 19th century, when laborers would cut their jumpsuits in half to keep cool in warmer months during the year. The first manufactured t-shirt was invented between the Mexican-American War in 1898, and 1913 when the U.S. Navy began issuing them as standard undershirts.
Even then, it took until 1920 for the actual term “t-shirt” to be inducted into the English dictionary, thanks to F. Scott Fitzgerald being the first person to publish the word in his novel This Side of Paradise. “So early in September Amory,” writes Fitzgerald, “provided with ‘six suits summer underwear, six suits winter underwear, one sweater or T-shirt, one jersey, one overcoat, winter, etc,’ set out for New England, the land of schools.”
Brando, Dean and Rebellion
Though the t-shirt was created in the early 20th century, it was rare to see it worn as anything other than an undershirt. It wasn’t uncommon to see veterans wearing a t-shirt tucked into their trousers post-World War II, but outside of that, t-shirts were almost exclusively used underneath “proper” clothes. In 1950, Marlon Brando famously donned a white t-shirt as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, only to be followed by James Dean in 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause. Thanks to these two founding fathers, the popularity of the t-shirt as a stand-alone outerwear garment skyrocketed. Not only was the t-shirt as an outer-garment becoming acceptable, but it was also being associated with a movement of rebellion. “It was rebellious, because T-shirts were actually undergarments.
Graphic T-Shirts and the Birth of T-Shirt Printers
By the time the 1950s rolled around, a number of companies in Miami, Florida began experimenting with garment decoration, but the field was still far from what would later turn into a multi-billion dollar industry of t-shirt printing. Thomas E. Dewey, a Republican presidential candidate, created what was perhaps the first ever slogan t-shirt with his “Do it with Dewey” campaign, but outside of that, there were not many instances of embellished t-shirts.
Later in the 1950s though, one of the aforementioned printing companies, known then by the name Tropix Togs, held the original license to print Walt Disney characters. Around this time people began to realize the profit that was to be made in graphic t-shirts, and in the 1960s, innovations to the print field, including the birth of screenprinting, would help turn the t-shirt industry into what it is today.
“The Medium for the Message”
Though graphic t-shirts and t-shirt printing began in the 1950s and 1960s, it wasn’t until the ’70s that t-shirts became the powerful messaging platform that we know them as today. For this, we can thank the punk movement.
Rising popularity in rock band logos, along with protests of the Vietnam War, really helped solidify the t-shirt as a messaging platform. It was “about shocking and outraging people and challenging the status quo.” The New York Times perhaps said it best, when the rise of the graphic t-shirt lead them to name it “the medium for the message.”
Not Going Anywhere Soon
All of this to say, the t-shirt has become not only an American staple, but an essential garment worn around the world, and their unique ability to convey a message hasn’t gone anywhere.
We research all our logo’s, and try to keep true to the originals. The Italicized “Pines” logo is the standard. Sometimes with the year.
We recreated this in 2011 using the iconic year in the Pines 1979.
We decided to bring back the original Blue Whale based on a vintage Tea Dance T shirt to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Pines in 2013..
Then brought back our own Tea Dance T shirt…
We take a look back at other designs.
We also brought back the iconic “Beach” logo from the event in 1979. All these designs help to educate about our history.
And the famed Sandpiper and “The Pines.”