Jordanian T-shirt: The Hybrid & The National

Timeframe: 2015-2019

This research is concerned with investigating the phenomenon of “Jordanian T-shirts” – as this study identifies them – which emerged in Jordanian society since 2004, as an act of re-constructional development in the quest for a distinctive identity.

Using qualitative methods for data collection which included Individual Interviews with the Jordanian T-shirts’ designers, Focus Groups with the wearers, and Observation of key venues and events where Jordanian T-shirt were in focus, the study aimed at answering how and to what extent has the T-shirt been utilised for affirming and preserving Jordanian national and cultural identity? On this account, did the Jordanian T-shirt took on the role previously held by Jordanian traditional costumes? What’s more, is it turning into the new unofficial uniform in the country?

T-shirt is taken as an object of “in-between-ness”, overlapping zones of fashion theory, design history, semiotics, media and communication studies, and cultural studies. Saussure’s linguistic theory of signs, and Marshal McLuhan’s notions of Media Effects are employed to understand ‘Jordanian T-shirt’ as an object itself but also the practice of it; an activity of both designing and wearing it.