Band T-shirts first appeared in the 60's where bands began to travel internationally and take part in larger crowds scale. Concertgoers began to demand souvenirs, other than merely a ticket stub for the recollection of the concert that they attend, so t-shirts started to being sold at the show. The demand grew and grew and stores/outlets began to offer varieties of them for die-hard fans to acquire. Band t-shirts also started from undergrounds bands who only had their own word-of-mouth to promote themselves. Early adopters include The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath.
People wear band t-shirts because they listen to the band, love their music, and supports them. Wearing band t-shirts meant something, it is to communicate to the world and your peers that you're a fan without having to talk about it. Or if you wear a tour t-shirts, it shows that you had been there, in the pool of sweats. It is also a way to be seen differently, but also to fit-in. It is a badge of identity.
Later, this trend is adopted by the mainstream and soon it become a fashion statement with no actual meaning for the wearer. Now people can walk into plenty of retailers and see band t-shirts of The Ramones, MC5, Velvet Underground, or AC/DC without having to actually ever listen to those bands in the name of "cool" and a mere fashion statements. Its shallow. I'd probably get pissed off if I saw a clueless someone walking around the city wearing a band t-shirt that I really like and they could't even name any songs from them. Sad thing is, nowadays you can flip through a gossip magazine and see a bunch of photos of celebrities ironically wearing band t-shirts; One Direction's Zayn Malik wearing a Nirvana, Jessica Simpson wearing a Rolling Stones, Kim Kardashian wearing a Van Halen, Ke$ha wearing a Metallica and still a long list of other celebrities. While it is possible that they actually like the band, but it is clear that band t-shirts isn't about music identity anymore, instead they have become a fashion statements. What do you think?
Ok, off with the topic for a little bit, let's see some interesting pictures of band members wearing their own band t-shirts to lighten up the post. :)
Joe Strummer wearing his own The Clash tee
Drummer, Keith Moon wearing The Who
Joan Jett and The Runaways tee
Paul McCartney and The Beatles tee
Rivers Cuomo in Weezer tee
Chris Cornell in Soundgarden