S'pore's first-ever T-shirt Festival has just about the right amounts of political incorrectness

T-shirts were statement-making social media even before social media became social media.

Belmont Lay| July 20, 04:03 AM

The first-ever Singapore T-shirt Festival, where you can admire and buy locally crafted t-shirts that contain politically incorrect designs that make you do a spit take, is having a marketplace that runs from July 19 to 20.

The festival, which began at the start of July and slated to end by July 29, is organised by Singaporean design practitioner Joseph Chiang of Monster Gallery together with Legendary Social Tees, a T-shirt printing company. It comprises of a month-long exhibition, as well as talks and workshops.

The focus, naturally, is on Singaporean designers and the messages they are trying to convey with their t-shirts.

According to the organisers, Daniel Xu and Xavier Pang, who are the co-founders of Legendary Social Tees, t-shirts are meant to be showcased as a medium for self-expression, even before social media was social and a form of media.

Pang said: "We got together local designers who wanted to make a statement, and not like they are trying to be offensive, because we don't see what they are doing as offensive."

To better appreciate what he means, if you happen to be around Bugis and have 30 minutes to spare, pop by the National Design Centre where the exhibition and marketplace is held. It is right opposite the National Library, that building that comes to mind whenever people mention penguins these days.

As to why it is held there, the reason is because the DesignSingapore Council showed an interest in the project and sponsored a space at the National Design Centre for the exhibition.

Some gems you can find at the T-shirt Festival include t-shirts from A Good Citizen, a design outfit that does quirky, and sometimes cryptic art with hidden meaning (including drawings like those shown in the photo on top):


As well as these:


You can also find gems like these that make good birthday presents from an assortment of other designers:


The t-shirt merchandise features a lot of Singaporean humour and inside jokes, like these from Roadside Stall:


And the occasional phallic reference, like this one from Rex Regrets:


And a whole bunch of other gewgaws:


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