Fashion Dictator: Printed T-Shirts

I’ve seen a lot of printed sweatshirts and t-shirts around at the moment. Is this a growing trend?
 - Jimmy, via email.

When the A Level results were released last week, male students from the far reaches of the British Isles were interviewed on TV to discuss their future job prospects.

And what were these eager young guns wearing for their inaugural TV appearances? An eclectic mix of graphic prints inspired by photographs of old skool punk and hip-hop bands The Ramones and The Beastie Boys. One was even wearing an Acid House smiley face on his hoodie.

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So do we have a print micro-trend on our hands? Or indeed on our chests?

Well, yes. It all started back in 2011 when cult Opening Ceremony designers Carol Lim and Umberto Leon were appointed the new creative directors of iconic label Kenzo. Charged with reinvigorating the label, the duo found – as new designers generally do – inspiration in the archives, focusing on the famous colourful tiger prints of the 70s and 80s.

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At the same time, designer Riccardo Tisci is keeping the energy levels high at Parisian couture house Givenchy with his take on modern sportswear mixed with streetwear and his celebrated in-your -face sweatshirts featuring Rottweilers, Dobermans, the Virgin Mary and Mapplethorpe nudes. Even the usually low-key French separates label Ami has got in on the act with a grizzly bear on its frontage.

Now, if this all sounds a little too ‘fashion’ for your taste, then I suggest you avert your eyes – at least for the next few weeks. Faddy fashion trends don’t last very long. But while they do, their sheer ubiquity can be irritating in the extreme – much like the song 'Blurred Lines'.

In the meantime, get with the program and spend some unnecessary pounds on a cool printed sweatshirt. It’ll revive your ailing wardrobe in one fell swoop and with any luck, its popularity will last longer than Robin Thicke.


Givenchy Doberman print cotton jersey sweatshirt, £270, mrporter.com 


Givenchy Mapplethorpe tied lady print sweatshirt, £565, matchesfashion.com 


Ami bear print, £105, matchesfashion.com