Whether it costs $5 or $95, there are few things as democratizing as the classic white T-shirt. Triple-Major Studio rallied together 31 designers from 13 countries to reexamine the trend-defying closet staple and unlock its creative potential. The result of Project White T-Shirt: More than 30 bold interpretations of Old Reliable, from an avant-garde shredded tunic to a trio of shirts that snap together to form a tent. Below, seven of our favorites, all of which will be auctioned off to benefit Designers Against AIDS.
Lee Cotter and Astrid Olsson of the Stockholm-based Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair deconstructed a white T-shirt by building a “web of knots” to create an elegant statement-making bib necklace.
C.neeon’s Clara Kraetsch and Doreen Schulz, who incidentally work out of a refurbished kindergarten in East Berlin, cobbled together several white T-shirts to assemble this playsuit, which they embellished with embroidered fabric for complexity and texture.
More of a zero-waste endeavor than an actual wardrobe refashion, Oslo’s Harald Lunde Helgesen sought to further reduce the “simplest garment of all garments” by slicing lines across a single flat sheet of material. When the resulting strips are separated, the wearer can slip into the interior space they create.
New York City’s own Julian Louie used Swarovski crystals and ultrasuede to produce his shirt/necklace hybrid. By simplifying the T-shirt to a barer form, according to Louie, the decorative details are brought to the fore, turning “an ultimate basic into its antithesis.”
Unni Håkansson of DOKTOR DOKTOR and Andreas Andersson of A Bug Collection studded a large T-shirt with over 2,000 marshmallows. “The marshmallow t-shirt is a symbol of the price you pay for good taste,” the designers note. “It’s too heavy to wear and ants love it so you can’t really use it but it tastes so good and smells so nice.”
Norway-based Siv Støldal, who specializes in wearable, functional, design, created a trio of T-shirts (white, ecru, navy polo) that can be worn individually or snapped together to fashion a tent. Støldal teamed up with filmmaker Bent Rene Synnevaag, director Alexey Layfurov, and model/actor Daniel Karsen to produce an accompanying short film.
For their multifunctional garment, White Tent designers Evgenia Tabakova and Pedro Noronha Feio joined two T-shirts at the neck. Worn one way, the second tee can be pulled up as a drawstring hood. Flipped around, the other T-shirt turns into a scarf.