Tees never go out of fashion. They are the coolest wears and the easiest way to show off your personal choice and taste with their cult prints or the classic quotes on them. If English captions and quotes were considered hip and chic, Tamil is taking over now. More youngsters are seen flashing Tamil on their tees. So in place of John Milton’s poems, it’s Bharathiyar’s kavithai now and if Che Guevara has become too main stream, Tiruvalluvar is the new icon of T-shirt lovers. Over the past few years, many T-shirt start-ups have launched Tamil in a big way on their products. And they vouch that the demand from youngsters in particular has gone up manifolds.
Raghav, who started ‘Angi Clothing’, a Chennai-based brand in 2012, says that customers find Tamil prints quirky, unique and attractive. “People are emotionally attached to their nativity and language.” Raghav who grew up outside Tamil Nadu felt the need to connect with Tamil and that gave birth to his idea of Tamil clothing. “Most T-shirts in the market have movie dialogues and punch lines in Tamil. So we thought of giving artsy vibrant options. T-shirt is a canvas for art and expression and our products also have illustrations depicting our culture and tradition apart from typography” Angi Tshirts have minimal font and more of pictures and come with a price tag of Rs.499. Prints of Tamil icons, temple gopurams and typical elements of South India like Jallikattu, Karagattam and Kathakali are some of the designs people are going for. “Our tees are unisex but we are soon launching an exclusive women’s line.” Tshirts can be bought off their website www.angi.in
Karthik Priyadarshan, a young entrepreneur started to design T-shirts with Tamil prints in 2014. In less than a year, his entire stock was sold out. He is now readying a new set called iTamizhan, that will also include funky mugs, mobile pouches and rugs with Tamil fonts and designs on them besides the tees. “It is my way of introducing and promoting Tamil in the cool league of fashion. I do a mix of Tamil and English fonts so that the youth can relate to it better,” says Karthik. “T-shirts with typical Tamil slangs are also a souvenir that foreigners and tourists take back.” iTamizhan also has some fun designs like the ‘Selfie T-shirt’ which has a curled up mush and goggle print with the word selfie hash-tagged. There’s also something called an ‘Angavastram T-shirt’ which has a white angavastram printed on the shoulders. “Young T-shirt lovers feel that Tamil is way cooler than English as a lot of experiment can be done with the fonts and the designs.” Visit www.itamizhan.com for your pick.
At the Body Language Menswear store in Madurai that deals with funky clothing and accessories for men, Vivek, the owner, says that Tamil captioned tees sell like hot cakes. “The college-going crowd is gaga over wearing Tamil. It’s a nice way to take pride in your ethnicity and also stand out in the crowd,” he says. “Wearing something with your mother tongue on it is a feel good factor. It makes you feel grounded and rooted and yet cool and different from the lot,” says Hari, a college student who regularly shops at Body Language. “Sometimes, customers come with a line or poem of their own and we print it for them. It gives a personalised look and feel,” says Vivek. The store also has backpacks with Tamil prints. (Courtesy The Hindu)