We need to talk about... T SHIRTS!
Looking ahead to 2021 when hopefully we can get back to some kind of normality and host good old fashioned race events, I've been giving some thought to the humble race t shirt.
Let's be honest... how many have you got stashed away in your bedroom cupboards... yeah, me too!
And how many of them do you actually wear and how often?
Bottom line is we all have our favourite event t shirt and for many it will signify a landmark achievement such as a PB or you may just want to let everyone know you've done the London Marathon or Great North Run.
So where does that leave the humble Tunnel 10K or Wirral Half Marathon?
Pretty low down the pecking order unless it's a good fit or it's your favourite colour.
Now the big question is... does an event t shirt have any value any more or has it become something that you just expect as part of the entry fee? My guess that many people are not really that bothered about event t shirts any longer BUT I'm sure if it wasn't there at the finish line you would soon miss it.
So what can we do to give the humble t shirt a makeover for 2021?
Well, my initial thoughts are in the first instance to make the shirt something that would be wearable any day of the week. Not just on race day on the way home or for the following week until you get another one... because that's what most of us actually do.
What if we revert back to a quality cotton item and create a seven day a week item that you can wear any time? I think that would work because a wicking fabric or technical t shirt has just the one use once you pick it up on the finish line. You wear it when you go out running don't you and perhaps in bed or to wash the car if the fit isn't right.
So let's look at changing the fabric. What next? Well perhaps the design could be a little bit different.
The component parts of a race t shirt are usually event name, date and distance with some silhouette runners thrown in for good measure. So let's look at a revised design brief for a new range of race t shirts...
I would like to look at celebrating a range of established artists of art styles and apply them to the t shirts design. For example... Margaret Calvert was instrumental in establishing a new style of road signs as far back as the 1960s and she still has design influence even today. You just don't realise it and and yet you are exposed to her design work every day.
Now that gives me an idea for the Off Road 8 t shirt (see where I'm going with this...?) A t shirt displaying road sign information where there are no roads in use. The designs feature instruction for uneven surfaces, high tides (!) and hills.
The event name will be in there somewhere under the banner of BTRART BT ART... get it...?
For the Wirral 10 Miler / 10K I'm thinking David Hockney and his swimming pool swirls to reflect the view across the River Mersey and the flowing tidal waves. This would make a great medal as well.
Next up, the Tunnel 10K. What can I come up with here? Well the KINGSWAY Tunnel was opened 40 years ago by HM Queen Elizabeth in June 1971 so we could introduce a bit of anarchy here and use a Banksy style image of the Queen (tastefully done of course). She could be firing the start line gun advising... On one's marks!
I reckon the introduction of a different kind of design and creativity would work well and bring something new to the events and at the same time give you a t shirt that is different and can be worn any day of the week.
I'll be giving some thought to other shirt designs during the ongoing lock down... Port Sunlight 10K is just right for an impressionist style... what about minimalism, modernism... or post modernism... so much to think about!
I'll keep you posted as the designs develop and in the meantime let me know what you think about race event t shirts,
Just send me your thoughts via firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what your favourite t shirt is.
Race Organiser and MCSD
(Member of Chartered Society of Designers)