Our favourite bands' logos used to adorn our chests, but today we're more likely to wear a Stranger Things image or ones that sport Sheldon's famous quotes. How did this happen?

In this article, we will run you through why TV references have become the new band tees.

Popularisation of Streaming Services

The Rolling Stones' tongue and lips logo and Guns N' Roses revolver motif are some of the most recognisable band T-shirts ever. TV programs have emerged as an unusual rival to streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video, providing an acceptable and stylish way to exhibit your TV passion.

Clothing companies have jumped on the Stranger Things bandwagon with the debut of the show's third instalment on 4 July 2019, and the show became even more popular with its fourth season released on 27 May 2022. 

Immediately following H&M's Stranger Things line in May, Levi's and Nike collaborated on a Stranger Things collection on July 1, joining Topshop and Pull&Bear, which had already cooperated with the program.

Inspiration from Retro Designs

The character of Pacho Herrera became popular due to the crime drama Narcos. This began as an adaptation of the story of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar before expanding to cover rival cartels and the Mexican drug trade. The character and the show have become the inspiration for a custom site of signature retro designs.

Popular Catch Phrases

Other TV shows have inspired T-shirts with iconic catchphrases, such as "Bazinga!" from The Big Bang Theory, while Asos has kept their collection of Games of Thrones and Friends T-shirts despite the conclusion of all three series.

The Effect of Social Media

Because of the power of social media and the notion of a “bio,” we are constantly being forced to define ourselves. Although company logos express our brand allegiance, scenes from TV series say a little bit more about who we are and the material we relate with. It's another straightforward way of saying, “This is who I am and what I enjoy.”

Aligning with a TV viewing community is an innate need to establish and belong to groups. For example, wearing a Back to the Future T-shirt might be interpreted as signalling behaviour. It practically functions as a beacon to fellow Back to the Future fans. The T-shirt depicting a scene from the show serves as the group's uniform, reinforcing the bond among fellow fans.

How It Relates to the Band T-Shirt

A fundamental aspect of someone's identity might be shown intentionally by wearing a band graphic T-shirt. However, the switch from music visuals to TV shows is a sign of the new media consumption habits we are developing.

Music no longer lasts as long as it once did. All of that, waiting impatiently for an album to be out, standing in line to buy the CD, and tearing out a band poster from a magazine to hang on your wall has been gone. 

TV series now encourage more conversation over a more extended period (many seasons). This conversation is frequently politicised. They have the power to divide the public and arouse intense feelings among viewers.

The power to evoke ardent fan bases and significant cultural allusions are one thing that TV and music still have in common. Ross Geller from Friends donned a Frankie Goes to Hollywood T-shirt in 1997, but who could have imagined that 22 years later, the character would be the inspiration for his fan t-shirts, frequently with the word "unagi"?


Like the band shirts of before, TV shirts are now rising in popularity as a fashion statement. They are a great way to show your support for your favourite show and make a great gift.

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August 17, 2022