Engage and be heard through slogan tees

Slogan T-shirts are everywhere. The craze started decades ago and is still going strong.

While some of the slogans may be a fun tongue-in-cheek fashion expression, do we sometimes get it wrong?

Is age appropriateness a big factor when it comes to slogan tees? Some may argue that slogan T-shirts are a bit puerile for a particular age, while your teenager wearing a "I taught your man that thing you like" T-shirt may be considered too X-rated for her juvenile self.

Where do we draw the line?

Celebrity fashion stylist Bradley Gawie says that there are different categories that slogan T-shirts fall into and we have to tread carefully when it comes to what we choose to wear, and what we let our kids get away with wearing.

These are examples of juvenile statements on T-shirts:

"Finders Keepers"

"Cry Baby"


"Gr8 Day"

"Save The Animals"



"Best Day Ever"

"Pretty Little Thing"

He says these are appropriate for anyone between two years and 12 years old.

Slogans on tees that have gotten tongues wagging

Over the years, there have been
T-shirts that got us talking.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell has for decades been plagued by rumours of being abusive to her assistants. In 2005, she decided to make light of the situation when spotted wearing the "Naomi hit me ... and I loved it" T-shirt.

Local film Inxeba - The Wound sparked debate that the producers decided to give away "Kwanda says" T-shirts on social media, hitting back at the backlash against the film. Kwanda is a gay character in the movie. One T-shirt reads: "How can love destroy a nation?"

When the rapper was preparing for his Fill Up Orlando concert in 2016, he took to social media with branded tees with a spelling error. Stadium was misspelt and Twitter had a feast.

"What we need to remember is to always be considerate of how we 'label' our children as parents, what we allow for them to subliminally communicate, what they feed on and how they respond to it as a result. We influence behaviours; good or bad. Our 'control' is therefore directly what encourages outcomes."

Gawie says teenagers aged 13 to 17 years can get away with cheeky slogans, as they can be a form of expression.

"I call them the versatile juvenile statement tees, being that teens spread a totally different message with them.

"For instance, the 'Rules Don't Apply To Me' tee.

"This could either symbolise and subliminally communicate rebellion, lawlessness, an obstinate person, independent of rules and regulations, etc.

"Or, that you're free from the norms of society, free from the male's oppressing opinions over the female, etc."

He also says slogan tees can be age inappropriate and this, he says, happens when parents allow kids to wear controversial messages on their chests. Also, for grown-ups wearing them, they can come across as a bit perverted.

"These are the 'Bite Me/ Lick Me' type tees. These, when worn by grown ups, may be a tad bit controversial and attract the wrong kind of attention. For kids, they can look downright sleazy.

"Over and above the fact that we are free to express ourselves in every way imaginable, within limits, we also have to be very mindful of the environments we practise this freedom in.

Is there a way to wear statement T-shirts as an adult and not look immature?

Gawie says there is, especially with tees that communicate the change you want to see.

"Communicating light-hearted or controversial messages have consequences. Good, thought-provoking or destructive. Let's practice responsibly."

Gawie says that one can choose to make political statements with these slogans:

"I Stay Woke"

"War Doesn't Determine Who Is Right. Just Who's Left"

"Product Of Society"

"Property Of Nobody"

"Elect A Clown, Expect A Circus"

"Girls Just Want To Have Fundamental Rights"

"We Are All Human"

"Our Minds, Our Bodies, Our Power"

"More Trees, Less Walls"

"These, one of my favourite genres of tees, always encourage deeper-rooted, meaningful conversations. Be it healthy or seemingly unhealthy.

"On this given political platform, we are able to get involved in virtually anything under the sun.

"We are able to carry and send subliminal messages to whoever we engage. We have hot topics like 'I Stay Woke'. Telling the rest of us and government that you're not easily bought or sold, that you're aware of your surroundings and what you're exposed to; and because of this fact, hard to convince otherwise until engaged about the 'why'.

"Other statements like 'War Doesn't Determine Who Is Right, 'Just Who's Left', leave you engaged on a deeper level. It makes it personal and spurs on needs and wants to do and be different."