Did you ever think you’d have Justin Bieber to thank for your favorite white T-shirt? We are now forever indebted to him, thanks, in part, to the fact that he knows exactly what he wants and doesn’t hesitate to demand it. When Bieber relayed a request for a plain tee in a specific cut to his stylist, Karla Welch, she made a mad dash to the nearest Kmart and bought every triple-XL Hanes package she could get her hands on. He wanted “T-shirts that are long” and he “wanted them tomorrow,” she recalls. Welch cut up the mass-produced T-shirts and using a pattern she’d created, remade them into something unique.
But she didn’t stop at Bieber. Inspired by her initial creations, Welch has now released a collection of seven new styles in collaboration with Hanes, now available on her own website for a very reasonable $30 a pop. (Especially when you consider the fact that ReDone charges roughly $78 each for their reworked Hanes garments.) It also doesn’t hurt to see Kaia Gerber and Joan Smalls wearing them.
Go simple with cuts like the Original, Crew or Classic. However, it’s the shorter styles that are most exciting, if only because they have more edge: the Crop (inspired by the designer’s teenage self) and Baby (for boys and girls) will skim you in all the right places. The appeal lies in the mass appeal. The white tee is an eternal component of a uniform, no matter what your uniform is. “Everybody needs it,” says Welch. “Every culture and subculture has used the white T-shirt. That’s where the genius is.”