‘The shape of a T-shirt is so simple and beautiful,’ says Vivienne Westwood in her 2014 autobiography. ‘You are aware of the cloth, of the body, but also of an image: it is a canvas’. A new exhibition, T-Shirt: Cult – Culture – Subversion, at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, celebrates the socio-political power of this universal garment, one used as a visual tool for conveying cultural statements and protestations. Westwood and her then partner Malcolm McLaren gained prominence in the late Sixties for their creation of DIY T-shirts, embellished with glitter glue, chains, provocative images and typography. Be it a black T-shirt bearing the word ‘Rock’ spelt in chicken bones, a white tee with two cowboys in hats, boots and naked from the waist down, or another style with studs spelling ‘Venus’, the duo used Letterism as a powerful tool to convey their anti-establishment, punk outlook…Original sources