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Attitude is in vogue

Message T-shirts, some even bordering on obscenity, form part of the Gen-X wardrobe this summer, that increasingly wants to flaunt its "attitude".

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 12:37 IST

"I respect old age, when it is bottled" screams the message on a round-neck, body hugging T-shirt, bringing a smile on anybody's face who reads it. This and many other message T-shirts, some even bordering on obscenity, form part of the Gen-X wardrobe this summer, that increasingly wants to flaunt its "attitude".

That message T-shirts are gaining currency increasingly can be gauged from the fact that there has been an exponential increase in the number of companies that deal with message and cutomised message T-shirts.

"Our T-shirts reflect the youth culture. Who they are, what they believe in and we try to capture the teenage angst," says Ranjiv Ramchandani, of Tantra, one of the first companies to tap the message T-shirt market.

Some of the brands that are in vogue include, People Tree, which is known for its 'socially responsible" messages, Nirvana and Moksha which dish out philosophical messages and religious images, and many other start-ups which do customised messages.

According to an industry estimate the T-shirt sales are growing at a fast pace, almost at fifty per cent each year. The T-shirt market is estimated at Rs 1,500 crore.

If Tantra reflects the attitude of the modern youth, People Tree thinks that people who wear its T-shirts too show an attitude, but of a different kind. "We think that people who buy our T-shirts want to show what they think about the society," says Sutanu of People Tree.

While one T-shirt carries the poem of anti-Nazi Rev. Martin Niemoller, "First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up...." and another one simply says, "Buri Nazar Wale, Tera Bhi Ho Bhala."

Some of humorous messages doing rounds include, "This T-shirt was outsourced in India," and "Come to India - One billion people cannot be wrong." For the more adventurous, there are messages that are really bold and naughty.

"The market is huge," says Ramchandani, "We have tied up multicity malls, bookshops and individual stores and we have our own exclusive outlets, and we are rolling out in newer cities," he says. Delhi alone has four exclusive Tantra outlets, besides their products being available in scores of shops in the NCR region.

"The increase in the sales has been manifold. Our customers include foreign tourists who want to take a bit of Indian humour with them, and these T-shirts provide it," says Puneet Luthra, a shopkeeper.

There has been a qualitative improvement in the quality of the messages and

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the T-shirts over the years. "Many professionals like copywriters, cartoonists and other creative people are increasingly contributing to this field." says Ramchandani.

"I like wearing T-shirts with humourous messages and when someone smiles after reading the message, it is really a nice feeling," says Sanam, a teenage shopper.

You may feel the heat this summer, but if you want to look cool from the outside, choose one of those humourous ones. If you don't any one of those, sample this, "I am a simple person, let me get it straight."

First Published: Apr 17, 2006 19:04 IST