As soon as we saw the now infamous t-shirt on Dior’s Spring 17 runway informing us ‘we should all be feminists’ the slogan tee confirmed its identity as the must-have piece of fashion in our wardrobes right now.
It’s not as if this trend is entirely a new concept, as we all remember our angsty teen years wearing tops that said ‘attitude’ across the centre. Yet, these t-shirts have been established as one of the most essential items on the UK high street right now. You can grab this must-have garment anywhere you want, and if you don’t have a spare £430 to spend on the high end takes there are lots of alternatives on the high street.
One extremely clever UK-based designer was way ahead of the fashion game and formed her own, celebrity collaborated brand of t-shirts and sweatshirts named Virgo Seven. The creative genius behind the brand is Rachael Boye, 28.
Back in 2014 when first established, the company was called Naked Boutique. Rachael first started her enterprise when she realised her job as a concessions manager at Dorothy Perkins was nothing more than a dead end for her. Rachael says, “I just thought there must be more to life than what I was doing back then!”
This epiphany left led Rachael to research how to create an income by doing something she actually enjoyed. “I’ve always loved fashion, so I just decided to try and make a go of doing something with that.” She laughs, whilst adding, “I wanted my own fashion brand for as long as I remembered, however I’m no artist!” After a co-worker mentioned how funny Rachael was, she realised she could make a trade out of it.
A success story
As the popularity of the business began to grow, Rachael had a change of heart about the name, and decided to change it from ‘Naked Boutique’ to “Virgo Seven”. Why? The new name was just so much more personal for her. “My birthday is in Virgo territory, and when I think about the traits of the star-sign, and how there are so many strong female Virgo icons like Beyonce, the name just seemed to fit!”
It has to be asked, is there a niche in the slogan t-shirt? With a genre that’s been ‘done’ so much in the past, is it even possible to make a whole career of it? In spite of this, for Rachael this doesn’t seem to be an obstacle. In fact, her brand seems to be on the up and has even attracted celebrity attention.
In January 2017 celebrity personality and model Nicola Mclean was seen in the jumpers on Celebrity Big Brother. The viewers LOVED the sweaters, and a collaboration between Nicola and Rachael was born. Rachael and Nicola are now firm friends and are even in talks of expanding the line. Rachael says: “Nicola has been a fan of the brand since we pretty much started which has been fantastic, I was thrilled when i was contacted about working with her.”
Fashion and Feminism
We know that over the years fashion has been used to send a message and what we wear is no longer a matter of just choosing a pretty outfit, people can learn a lot about our beliefs and personality from our attire. Even though the slogan tee can be seen as a ‘fun’ piece of fashion, it can also be topical. As the fourth wave of feminism begins, we can campaign it simply by wearing a t-shirt. This is right in Rachael’s target demographic, and she says, “My brand is all about girl-gang vibes which is super important, especially when we’re living in such a crazy world like we are right now- I mean, Donald Trump is President(!)”
Slogan t-shirts can be more just a lighthearted fashion statement, they can send a message. Rachael doesn’t want to just dress women, she also wants to make them to feel empowered through her pieces. “I think women have a voice which isn’t always listened to and I think the slogan tee is a perfect statement for the independent, sassy female that wants to be heard.
What does the future hold?
On a slightly more negative note, and as we know in the fickle world of fashion, ‘one day you’re in, and one day you’re out.’ We’ve seen so many trends disappear from existence over time, (acid-wash jeans, please stay in hibernation- forever), so does that mean there’s an expiration date for the slogan t-shirt? We fear for the day where they’ll be sent to fashion exile and worry for what that will mean for Virgo Seven. Thankfully, Rachael assures us that she has a plan for the future, and also thinks we should have faith. “I don’t think slogan tees will ever die to be honest. They may not always be at the forefront of fashion, but they’ll always exist in the background, it’s just like denim!”
Whilst her slogan t-shirts will always remain a focal part of Virgo Seven’s core collection, Rachael is currently expanding her brand, and with this, broadening her demographic with a Children’s range, aptly named ‘Virgo’s Child’. Rachael says. “I wanted to take some of our most popular slogans and adapt them to children. So far, I haven’t seen any other independent brands achieve something similar yet, I like to be ahead of the game”.
For this designer the future seems bright, and we’re glad she has everything all planned out. But in the ever-changing world of fashion, we wonder if our own days of wearing our new favourite tops are numbered, and when the time will come for these t-shirts to be reserved purely for the pyjama drawer. Until that time comes we’ll be taking any opportunity we can to show off our favourite snappy slogans.