Maison Martin Margiela SS07 Black/Purple AIDS T-Shirt
As part of his AW1994 collection, Martin Margiela demonstrated the didactic power of fashion, using his eponymous label as a platform to spread awareness on the AIDS epidemic. With mortality rates at an all time high, Margiela released a seemingly simple v-neck t-shirt screen printed with the slogan, “THERE IS MORE ACTION TO BE DONE TO FIGHT AIDS THAN TO WEAR THIS T-SHIRT BUT IT’S A GOOD START”.
At the time, misconceptions and stigmas around HIV were rife. As such, Margiela’s stance with this t-shirt was a landmark example of a fashion house launching an ongoing initiative, with profits from sales donated to French HIV prevention organisation, ‘AIDES’.
While striking, the text on the t-shirts is intentionally illegible when worn, due to the unorthodox nature of the screen printing process. The text is in fact printed while the garment is folded meaning that much of the slogan is printed on the interior and to the rear rather than flat on the exterior. This was a conscious decision by Margiela, as he hoped the unusual design would prompt questions from passers by, sparking further conversation with the intention of breaking down taboos on the issue.
The t-shirt itself is constructed from a fine lightweight cotton. This iteration consists of a black base colour, with constrasting rubber screen-printed purple text. These colours were an important motif throughout the SS07 collection. It is slightly fitted and cropped, falling just at the waist, while the v-neck is somewhat pronounced.
The tees have been reissued every year since their conception, and have been reimagined in various colours, languages and materials. For their 25th anniversary in 2019, the iconic screen printed text was used as a focal point for Margiela’s MM6 women’s collection.
Made in Tunisia
Composition: 100% Cotton
Fit: True to size
Shoulder Width: 45cm
Body Length: 66.5cm