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The “I’m With Stupid” T-Shirts

In my opinion, clothing should speak for itself without the need for an explanation. When the point on a custom shirt is not clear and up for interpretation, the meaning behind the words or phrase can be completely lost. Then, what was the point in wearing said piece anyway? For example, we have all seen the very popular custom t-shirt that reads “I’M WITH STUPID” followed by an arrow, right?


While some may find this hilarious, others can be turned off. Are the words on the shirt really poking fun at the person standing next to the individual in the shirt, or does it give the wearer a bad image? After learning of what happened to a local business in Gastonia, N.C., I believe that people are a product of what they wear. Just as you can be judged for what comes out of your mouth, the same goes for what you advertise on your chest. Owners of Sharkey’s Place Raw Bar & Grill in Gastonia, posted pictures on Facebook of their new t-shirt ideas and printed in bold letters on the front with the phrase “Throw the Bums Out”.


According to an article posted on Gaston by Diane Turby*, the idea behind the shirts was to bring attention to the people who have harassed their customers and urinated or defecated on the patio of the restaurant, said one owner. Although there may be one or two incidents that seem to justify the reasoning, we can see how it would be misinterpreted to mean only high class customers are allowed in their restaurant, or that downtown Gastonia has a “hobo” problem or even that the owners are heartless to those who fall short of pursuing the American Dream. Or, perhaps above all, it could mean this restaurant has a political vendetta at stake. Wait, did someone say steak? Yum. Anyway, these are conclusions about the restaurant’s persona the owners probably did not wish to market. Although I am sure their most popular dish is still delicious, I can’t help but to think that a bitter taste is left in the mouths of those who know about the shirt. This imposes the question, what is more important? Showing my customers my personal views and opinions, or showing them the best food in town?

In wearing a shirt with a logo or slogan, or words just in general, I believe that the person wearing the shirt has something to say. Speaking with a shirt should be simple and to the point without room for questioning. Questions lead to answers, and if someone cannot guess the right answer from your shirt, it could jeopardize your business by turning off the customers.
Just as the suppliers of the shirts mentioned above, of course Show Your Logo, Inc. customers are free to exercise their 1st Amendment Right on their custom shirts, and at competitive pricing. I am hoping though, that in choosing for creating promotional apparel, we can help business owners say “I’m NOT With Stupid”, and so much more.

* Turby, Diane. “Sharky’s Under Fire For T-Shirts.” Gaston Gazette. 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 May. 2014.

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