White Space

In Retro Berlin, Hipsters Rediscover the Original T-Shirt

Bastian Schobert fatnstupid.com II
The white T-shirt look is making a comeback in Berlin, where tobacco never went out of style.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Berlin is one of Europe’s leading cities for urban fashion trends.

  • Facts


    • James Dean, Marlon Brando, Eminem and James Franco have worn white T-shirts.
    • The white T-shirt went mainstream when John F. Kennedy was photographed in one in 1960.
    • Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt rehabilitated the white T-shirt in 2012.
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In Berlin’s central Mitte district, young men in beards and tight pants can be seen on almost every corner. In trendy bars and galleries, it is clear the dress code of the last two decade  jeans, T-shirts and sneakers  has not changed.

Only one aspect of the look has been modified: Suddenly, many hipsters are wearing white T-shirts.

It was particularly noticeable that young men who set the tone in Mitte are wearing unprinted, and, at first glance, completely anonymous white T-shirts.

Have the much-ridiculed and despised hipsters of Mitte lost interest in elaborate clothing? Is the white T-shirt part of the so-called “Normcore” fashion trend, a combination of “normal” and “hard core,” in which a demonstrative display of unpretentiousness is celebrated?

A far more interesting question is: Does the white T-shirt represent a romantic search by young and spoiled men for clothes that look so reduced, minimalist and empty that absolutely nothing can be read into or derived from them?

Is a white T-shirt devoid of history, rebellion or affirmation, a negation of the desire to be young, stupid and beautiful?

Let’s first start with a brief history of the white T-shirt. It is conceivably the simplest of all garments. The classic T-shirt has a straight, slim cut, a round collar and short sleeves at an almost 90-degree angle to the body, forming the letter T.

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