Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 – More Classic Punk Tees

Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 – More Classic Punk Tees
13th January 2021 5th Team

January can be a bit grim and grey here in Britain, so we thought we’d cheer ourselves up with a stroll down memory lane. This article, printing t shirts in the UK since 1977 – more classic punk tees, is another fond look back at Fifth Column’s humble beginnings. In truth, we never need much excuse to dip into the archives and peruse our heritage shelves. There’s something about these old punk shirts that make us feel good.

Nowadays, we provide a range of premium customisation services – screen printing, direct to garment printing, embroidery, garment finishing – and are one of the UK’s leading print and embroidery outfits. But hand printing t shirts for bands was where it all began. Sadly, we no longer print these items, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still treasure them. It’s important to remember where you came from and they serve as a fantastic reminder of that.

This the third in a series of pieces about our early t shirt printing exploits in London. Both of the previous ones are available on our blog: Printing Band Merch – Iconic Punk T Shirts and Classic Punk T Shirts from the Fifth Column Vault. Just click the titles to go to the relevant pages. There are some great tees there and more below!

Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 Classic Punk Tees - Debbie Harry Blondie

Debbie without Letters

Debbie Harry was, understandably, the face of Blondie. It’s an utterly unmistakeable face, one made for both fame and merchandise. It could front any band and looks pretty good on the front of this t shirt. The musical influences were a Seventies New York melange of avant-garde and old school, but the style was always pure Debbie. A good lesson to learn: unique is priceless.

Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 Classic Punk Tees - X-Ray Spex

Day-Glo Days

X-Ray Spex popped up in ‘76 and went on to give us all a lot of irreverent pleasure. Never mind the Germfree Adolescents, back then we were all only too ready for The Day The World Turned Day-Glo. There was revolution in young hearts and a retro vibe to the printing ink. However short-lived, they were one of the great punk bands from the original era and we think this is still a great t shirt.

Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 Classic Punk Tees - Billy Bragg

Have Guitar

Billy Bragg appeared on the scene at the same time as we did. So it’s only fitting that he put in an appearance in our printing t shirts in the UK since 1977, more classic punk tees piece. With his blend of folk, punk and protest and as much activist as singer songwriter, Billy has earned a special place in the British pantheon of punk. This ‘have guitar will travel’ shirt is some authentic Eighties gold!

Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 Classic Punk Tees - The Cramps

Horror Punk?

In those early years, we printed quite a few Cramps t shirts. Part of the early CBGB punk rock movement, The Cramps started out in ’76 and are usually put into genres such as Psychobilly, garage punk, gothabilly, and horror punk. There might be a touch of that horror punk vibe in this tee. Whatever the artistic influence, it’s fair to say that it’s a dark gem.

Need t-shirts printing? Get in touch, we’re friendly people and we’ve printed millions of shirts.

Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 Classic Punk Tees - The Pop Group

We Are All …

Another gloriously alternative band formed in 1977, it’s no surprise that The Pop Group soon acquired a cult following. In many ways, they could be classed as post-punk in that they seemed to demand more from genre. Their song, We Are All Prostitutes, was the second single (1979) and came out on the legendary Rough Trade label. The song, and the t shirt, have become iconic in the intervening period.

Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 Classic Punk Tees - The Primitives

Post Punk Primitives

We’re back in the Eighties again with The Primitives. A band that was a fascinating mix of indie rock and new wave with post punk echoes, they’re still going strong to this day. On an interesting t shirt related note, they got a shedload of publicity when Morrissey was pictured wearing a Primitives tee. This one is a great example of how simple, strong designs can often be the most memorable.

Printing T Shirts in the UK since 1977 Classic Punk Tees - Crass

Collective Creativity

One of the first anarcho-punk bands, Crass were an art collective that transcended music. They’re perhaps better defined as a philosophy or resistance movement. And like us, born in 1977. As a bit of trivia, the 421984 on this t shirt is also the catalogue number for their 1980 7 inch vinyl single ‘Nagasaki Nightmare / Big A Little A’ which was available in a rare fold-out poster sleeve with lyrics, images and political info.

Printing with Love since 1977

The neck print on this shirt may be old now, but the sentiment was true then and stays the same today. We’ve been printing t shirts in the UK since 1977. It was, and always will be, with love. Which seems like an appropriate place to finish this article, looking forward and yet not forgetting our roots. We’ll no doubt have more classic punk tees from the Fifth Column archive in the future.

Fifth Column offer an extensive range of garment customisation Services – Contact Us for more information o request a Quote online.

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