The popularity of t shirts has exploded in recent years, and there's a good reason for it.
Their simplicity and versatility make them the perfect medium for expression, and along with being something that is constantly displayed on your body, you can make a huge statement without uttering a single word.
Simultaneously, people realized just how comfortable and lightweight wearing a t shirt is, allowing t shirts to become even more socially acceptable in casual settings and even in some semi-formal settings.
But what does the increasing popularity of t shirts have to do with black becoming a fan favorite color choice for them?
Well it has to do with the root cause of t shirts’ explosive popularity.
It’s ability to express.
And black presented itself as the perfect sidekick for t-shirts when it came to doing just that.
The Dynamic Meaning Behind Black
You see, the narrative for what black represents has changed rapidly in modern times. It’s no longer just a symbol for mourning and professionalism, solely worn to funerals and formal settings.
The turning point came when black began to appeal to a rapidly changing society in the early 20th century.
Black is a striking color in the sense that it really isn’t even a color. It is the complete absence of color in fact.
This striking element of black is exactly what makes it the perfect color to put on a t shirt.
Black will never consistently represent one thing as society constantly changes and evolves, just like any other color. However, its ability to stand out makes it such a useful tool of expression.
Let me give an example.
In 2019, protesters began to fill the streets of Hong Kong for a several month period. What was their clothing color of choice?
Black was not directly associated with the symbolic meanings behind their protest before that moment (opposition to an extradition bill), rather the context of the situation more than handled that.
However, what black did was make every single one of those protesters stick out like a sore thumb. Just look at how captivating they are in the following picture.
Protesters fill the streets of Hong Kong wearing black to draw attention. Felipe Dana/Associated Press
Black was such an effective vehicle for delivering the protesters’ messages that four months after the protests began the Chinese government decided to ban the export of all black clothing to Hong Kong!
That just shows you how effective and versatile black is as an instrument of expression making it the perfect color to pair with a t shirt.
Black is a statement.
What that statement says is up to you.
Black’s Interesting Visual Effects
One of the factors that led to black’s increasing popularity in the early 20th century were clothing producers’ realizations of certain useful visual effects that black possesses.
The primary one was black’s ability to simplify and unify your look.
Nobody has a perfect body and all humans possess imperfections. It’s what differentiates us and makes us unique.
But at the same time, you can’t really blame someone for trying to turn down those imperfections a couple of notches.
We all do it. It’s our bodies and we want to look good, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Well that’s exactly the sentiment clothing producers saw being expressed by their consumers, and wearing the color black was the perfect solution.
When you wear the color black it can actually make certain features that stick out more subtle. It unifies your body and gives you a small uniform look that is very compelling.
Clothing producers began producing black shirts in bulk safely knowing it would sell due to its ability to hide undesirable features fueling black’s growth more and more.
Moreover, black has another interesting visual effect. It is pretty much compatible with any other color. You can mix and match with it all you like.
In another post which you can view here (there could be a hyperlink to the blog post about gray) we discussed why the color gray is frequently misused because of neglected undertones. To briefly define undertones they are the hidden tones of a color. When making a t shirt design, the undertone of your base color needs to be taken into account as it can make or break your design.
What’s great about black is that it does not possess an undertone. It is a true neutral color so anything can go on it.
Pink and purple for your cute little daughter’s birthday bash. Sounds good.
Blue and orange for your cool company logo. Even better.
Try it. The sky's the limit for your cool design if you choose to put it on black.
Why You Should Use Black
Odds are if you're reading this post, you’re probably a t shirt designer yourself. So when it comes to running your business or side hustle, one of the most important aspects is making the most out of your wholesale t shirt orders. We know as business owners that there are many other things you would much rather focus on instead of worrying about carrying the perfect inventory, such as creating amazing designs or connecting with your customers. So let the color black make your life easier!
As mentioned earlier, black is one of the best options for the base color of a t shirt design due to three main reasons. Its ability to stand out and make a statement, unify the body giving it a more clean look, and easily mix and match with other colors.
This is why black is always a good choice for a large percentage of your order when you're buying t shirts in bulk. It will always be a top choice of your customers as it has very compelling features. Just look around in public or go to a clothing store. Black is probably the color you're seeing most in people’s clothing.
Not only that, but nowadays black is usually much cheaper than alternative color options when making a wholesale t shirt order.
For example, our Gildan G500 in black currently only goes for as low as $2.08 compared to as low as $2.15 for the Gildan G500 in color. Although only a 7 cent difference, this is about a 3.5% difference in cost which can add up to a large additional profit as you sell more black t shirts.
Afterall, running a business is a numbers game. Any added edge can add up and help greatly. That extra profit can be reinvested in a new printer or heat press allowing you to increase your output and achieve more sales.
Overall, we really hope you understand truly how powerful and useful black is for the t shirt industry.
Black is a statement.
What that statement says is up to you.