I hear there’s this thing called Fashion School where people actually go to study, you know, fashion.  Style and design and construction and – oh hell, I don’t know what all else, I didn’t go to fashion school, but I hear it’s a real thing.  You can even find a list of the top 20 Fashion Schools in the U.S. here if you’re curious.

My point being that there are people who literally study to learn how to create clothing on the market.

So with all these artsy and creative and unique schools, with students who are presumably talented, I’m dying to know:  exactly who is designing the crap being mass marketed today?

Here’s a sampling of graphic t-shirts trumpeted as spunky offerings for tween/teen girls these days.

  • “Classy Sassy & A Bit Smart Assy” – Nice.  You wear that one to visit grandma?
  • “Keep Calm and Shop On” – Um, no.  Just no.  Please don’t perpetuate the stereotype that our X chromosomes are only soothed by spending money.
  • “The Queen of Effing Everything” – Points awarded for not actually sporting the F bomb.  Points deducted for coming off as an entitled princess.  (Sorry.  QUEEN.)
  • “This is my Resting Bitch Face” – If you’ve got a good one, no one will need the explanation.
  • “World’s Okayest Future Wifey” – I swear I did not make this up, it is a real shirt available online.  Way to go, girl.  Aim high.
  • “who needs brains when you have these” – Oh sweet Jesus, I can’t even.  You might as well sport “who needs an education when you have a sugar daddy?” across your boobs.
  • “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me” – For. The. Love.  I can barely untangle this mess.  Pretty girls are stupid/Pretty girls don’t work hard are both equally awful.  Boys have to do the work/Boys shouldn’t expect pretty girls to be smart?  Also horrific.  And who’s buying this thing?!  Parents who idiotically think it’s cute?  Or girls who are too clueless to know better?
  • “My Best Subjects:  [checked off]  Shopping, Music, Dancing.  [not checked]  Math.”  Oh, just whatever.  If you’re dumb enough to walk around with this message splashed across your chest, I give up.

Somebody, somewhere, brainstormed up each one of these little gems.  Then they not only sat in a room and pitched these design ideas, but a company actually agreed to invest money in selling them.  Who does this?

Justifications I’m not the least bit interested in hearing:

  • It’s what sells.  Um, maybe…or maybe they sell because instead of providing us with reasonably priced shirts you’re putting this crap on the market.  ‘Cause let’s get real. Most of us are not buying the $275 “weekend” tee put out there by those top designers.
  • If there wasn’t a market, these shirts wouldn’t exist.  A handy twist on the first statement and equally annoying.  It’s the chicken or the egg.  Do obnoxious t-shirt sayings exist because we buy them, or do we buy them because they exist?  I’m not looking for North Korea type censorship, people, just a little common sense.  If you make attractive t-shirts that don’t degrade/insult/dismiss girls, we will bring our wallets.
  • They empower women.  Actually, no, they don’t.  And the first clue that you know this already is that you market them to tweens and teens…
  • It’s just a t-shirt.  True.  And SuperBowl ads are just tv commercials, but you see how much attention that 30-second spot gets?  Read one of those spunky t-shirt sayings above.  Now multiply it by the amount of time a girl spends looking at the message on her own shirt.  Now multiply that by the number of kids who see her wearing the message.  The effect is exponential.  (Oops, there’s that pesky math knowledge.  Quick, I’d better go shopping.)

I’d like to suggest a few of my own spunky graphic tees, seeing as apparently one doesn’t need actual training in this particular area to enter the business.  (I’m calling dibs, though…if you market one of these and end up selling ten thousand shirts I’ll trust you to cut me in.)

  • “.”  For those weeks when people should just back the hell off.  Also handy for when you find people generally annoying.
  • “Keep Calm.  Or don’t.  Either way I’m cool.”
  • “Don’t ask me what I want to be when I grow up.  I can’t even drive yet.”
  • “I won’t ask if you like sports if you don’t ask if I like shopping.”
  • “Smart girls diversify.”