Haven't posted in a few years but found this thread while I was trying to learn/document vintage shirts to help me identify a vintage shirt easier. Most this stuff was taken from defunkd vintage site andcompiled together.
Identifying a vintage shirt from the 1970s is quite simple. For the most part, companies that were producing shirts for screen printing hadn’t started branding themselves yet. Many of these labels will appear fairly generic and not have any obvious link to a specific company. A lot of the time the tag will be completely blank or frayed as a result of wear, wash, and age. It wasn’t until the late ‘70s that the big t-shirt players and stronger branding images started to emerge.
Generic tag often indicates 1970's tag:
Popular brands emerged in this decade. Some focused on producing a variety of colors, while others specialized in making different styles of shirts, including ringers and jerseys. Brands such as Screen Stars, Hanes and Sportswear were some of the most widely manufactured t-shirts. Each of these vintage brands went through different phases of label designs which can easily be linked to a particular period.
Some brands were produced in Pakistan, others began following Champion and manufactured tees for sports-related purposes. Labels such as Logo7, Artex, and Trench made many of the best t-shirts, jerseys and sweatshirts featuring popular athletic names, teams and styles in the 1980s.
While many new big-name players emerged in the ‘90s, just as many faded away. Some companies merged together – for example, Screen Stars became Fruit of the Loom. Music and concert merchandising became even bigger business and had dedicated licensing brands like Brockum, Giant, and Gem. These companies didn’t actually manufacture t-shirts so they had their labels sewn in to other blanks produced by FOTL and Hanes.