The history of the T-shirt

From basic to must-have

In its early days, the T-shirt was nothing more than a humble piece of underwear, made of woven cotton or linen. In medieval times it was created mainly for men, to wear as a second layer of protection beneath their garments, it was also very easy to care for. In the 19th century, it started to come into shape and changed its silhouette from a T-shaped, more loosely hanging piece of fabric, to a more fitted form that now only reached the hips.

New technologies later made it possible to produce in bigger quantities and the variety of fabrics that were used was expanded to kattun, jersey, and wool. At the end of the 19th century the industrialized version of the T-shirt found its way to the British seamen and the Royal Navy, and from now on was worn working on deck. Because of this, the working-class men started to continually use them on the weekends as normal clothing. In the year of 1913, the US-Navy made the white cotton T-shirt their official underwear and thereby part of the uniform.

carpasus history of the t-shirt. organic cotton t-shirts ethically made in Portugal

The T-shirt Boom

Soon the T-shirt became a very popular piece of clothing. Everyone wanted to take part in the masculine heroism, that the sailors represented in their white shirts. As the 20th century came around, brands like Fruit of the Loom or P. H. Hannes, started to market the T-shirt as an essential everyday piece, that you couldn’t miss out on. For this reason, it soon found its way to Hollywood and into the wardrobes of famous actors like Montgomery Clif and James Dean.

Endlessly reinvented, either as simple basics or to display design and messages, the T-shirt has come a long way and today is considered to be an inherent piece in  every wardrobe.

The CARPASUS T-shirt

Why reinvent something so well established, one might ask. We didn’t particularly reinvent it but are now able to provide you with a T-shirt, that aligns with our values here at CARPASUS. At the first glance, our T-shirts might be a seemingly simple piece of clothing, but it contributes to a change in the textile industry and looks good at the same time.

Our Gandria T-shirt is ethically produced in a small factory in the North of Portugal. The soft organic cotton jersey is equally made in Portugal. The whole process from the knitting of the fabric to the sewing of the final clothing piece thus takes place locally in one place. We prewash all of our T-shirts, to save you from shrinkage with the first wash. The organic cotton used for the T-Shirts is GOTS certified. Here’s a blog post about the advantages of organic cotton. The four colors we offer navy, olive, black and white work well with every outfit. You can wear them under our shirts or combine them with our overshirts.


If you are looking for an ethically produced, easy to style, everyday favorite, check out our Gandria T-shirt.

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