Leonardo da Vinci was on to something when he said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

Our buddy Leo’s claim might be centuries old, but it still rings true today with the graphic t-shirt trend that is prevalent in both casual attire and higher-end looks.

T-shirts are universal. You could score a cool band t-shirt at the thrift store for $5, or you could go to Dior and spend thousands on a shirt that is 100% cotton—just like the $16 ones you find at Walmart.

Now, don’t take this the wrong way. Materials do matter. At Scrappy Apparel, we use the highest quality Peruvian Pima Cotton that is wearable, breathable, and all-around awesome. (Shameless plug.)

However, materials are not the only factor that contributes to the perceived value of a t-shirt.

Branding is the main factor. That’s why a Balenciaga tee costs 50 times more than an Old Navy one. 

Balenciaga is a luxury brand that reserves its products for affluent and prestigious customers, whereas Old Navy is a family-oriented brand that sells its apparel at a more accessible price point.

You might automatically think that luxury brands bring in more revenue than budget-friendly brands, but that’s not always the case.

For example, Balenciaga generated $2.3 billion in revenue last year. Not bad at all.

But you want to know how much Old Navy brought in?

$7.5 billion in 2021—which is $5.2 billion more than Balenciaga.

We’re sharing this example to emphasize that you don’t have to charge $1,000 for a t-shirt to have a successful apparel company. You just have to get your brand positioning right.

Interestingly enough, the price point of a shirt doesn’t always matter to celebrities either.

Sure, we often see famous people wearing Gucci, Givenchy, or Balmain—but we also see celebrities wearing the same t-shirts we have in our own closets, like an LA Dodgers shirt that retails for $27.99.

Don’t be fooled, though. There is a method to the madness.

Wait, there’s a strategy behind celebrity fashion?

We’d say so—and fashion tycoons like Rihanna would agree.

After all, we can only imagine the challenges celebrities face in the limelight.

As laymen (a.k.a. people with fewer than 1 million Instagram followers), we can walk outside wearing whatever we want without risking media backlash or thousands of angry tweets.

Celebrities have many luxuries, but freedom isn’t always one of them. They must make intentional apparel choices to avoid getting #canceled.

In light of that knowledge, let’s explore famous fashion trends that might inspire your custom apparel. Here are 13 examples of celebrity t-shirts in the wild:


Giovanna Engelbert

Wearing your own apparel to New York Fashion Week is a boss move.

As the Global Creative Director of Swarovski Group, Giovanna Engelbert knows her personal style like the back of her hand. 

She wore the “Fashion Emergency” t-shirt pictured above during NYFW in 2017. The tee is part of an apparel line inspired by Engelbert’s book, Gio_Graphy: Fun in the Wild World of Fashion.

Engelbert proves that t-shirts can be appropriate in any setting when worn with the right attire.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Think about all the different ways your customers might wear your custom apparel. How can you make your designs more versatile?


Steve Aoki

We often wonder what it’s like to be Steve Aoki. If we could trade lives with someone for a day, he would be high up on our list.

One minute, Aoki is throwing a cake into the crowd at a festival, and the next minute he’s creating dope apparel designs to promote his music label, Dim Mak. The brand name is a reference to Bruce Lee, Aoki’s childhood idol.

The t-shirt shown above features cartoon-like illustrations and lettering that is reminiscent of superhero comics. No work. All play.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Whatever you do, don’t make your custom apparel boring. When you have fun with your designs, you’ll grow your brand and attract people who want to wear your clothes.

Camila Cabello

Let’s rewind for a sec—remember when we said that celebrities have to be strategic with their attire?

Camila Cabello’s “Resist” t-shirt is a perfect example of that. She wore the t-shirt during a benefit concert for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organization that focuses on preserving the rights and liberties of the American people.

Although the ACLU is nonpartisan, it is an organization that makes its own political statements. We are not here to do that.

However, we do want to highlight that celebrities like Cabello will often wear t-shirts that raise awareness for political or social issues that they care about.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Think about what message you want to drive home with your custom apparel. Are there current events, issues, or topics you want to raise awareness about?


A$AP Rocky

Tie-dye is timeless. If you disagree, we think you should talk to A$AP Rocky.

Once again, we have a celebrity who took casual attire up a notch by pairing it with dressier pieces. Wearing the collared button-down underneath the tie-dye shirt was a genius move.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Predictable is boring. If you leverage a timeless trend when creating your custom apparel, sprinkle in something unexpected to make it your own.

After all, “timeless” doesn’t mean “dated.” Trends that have been around for a while often need a unique twist to keep them fresh.


Pete Wentz

Okay, here’s another tie-dye example that demonstrates the last point we made. 

We love to see Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy repping his label, Decaydance Records—but what we love even more is this tie-dye and split-dye combination on the t-shirt.

In this case, the split-dye style is the twist that the timeless tie-dye needs.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

We’ve said this twice already, but we’ll say it again to drive our point home. Avoid being boring at all costs!


J Balvin

J Balvin is the Prince of Reggaeton, and he wants everyone to know it.

Yup, he’s wearing a t-shirt with his own name on it. We support it, though. We’re here for the self-love.

The shirt Balvin is wearing above is a product of his collaboration with A Bathing Ape, a Japanese fashion brand founded by Nigo.

The brand is renowned for its wildly popular Baby Milo character, which is featured on the shirt alongside a rather kawaii illustration of Balvin himself.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Strategic collaborations can help you grow your brand, but choose your partners wisely!


Sarah Hyland

Here’s a thought-starter for you—since celebrities have such huge platforms, do you think they have more of a responsibility to stand up for the issues they believe in?

Actress and singer Sarah Hyland definitely thinks so. She has been vocal in her support of the Time’s Up movement, which she is repping in the photo above.

The organization’s mission is to eliminate gender-based discrimination and violence in the workplace.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Here’s another question to ponder—does your brand have an obligation to take a stance on anything?


Billie Eilish

A stage presence like Billie Eilish’s calls for a rad outfit to go with it. 

Her matching t-shirt and pants depict a three-headed dog that honestly reminds us of Fluffy, the Cerberus creature that was protecting the Sorcerer’s Stone in the first installment of Harry Potter.

Anyway, let’s get back to Billie. She wears whatever the heck she wants, and we think that’s dope.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to take risks with your apparel designs. If your deepest desire is to create a shirt with a bright blue three-headed dog on it, you have our blessing.


Rita Ora

Rita Ora’s “Grenfell” shirt uses three colors and a simple design. It’s not overwhelming to the eye. However, the shirt’s message speaks volumes.

Ora’s tee shows support for Justice4Grenfell, an organization that strives to obtain justice for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire of June 2017. The fire was one of the United Kingdom’s most tragic disasters.

Anyone who knows the history of the event would understand Ora’s shirt, which honors the lives of the victims.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Your apparel design doesn’t necessarily need bold, crazy colors to make an impact. It just needs a well-articulated message that speaks directly to your target audience.



Our next celebrity guest doesn’t need an introduction.

Even if you’ve never heard Diplo’s name, we bet you know one of his songs. He is an iconic DJ, producer, and songwriter who has been in the game for the last 25 years.

Major Lazer is a DJ trio that consists of Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Ape Drums. TBH, if we were in a DJ group, we would have a t-shirt for every day of the week to promote our brand. We don’t blame Diplo for the self-promo.

Diplo’s Major Lazer t-shirt looks like an at-home spray painting project—in the best way possible, of course. The DIY look definitely brings the cool factor.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Ask yourself: do you want your apparel designs to be tight and detail-oriented, or will you go for more of an effortless style?


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Let’s face it—Dwayne Johnson is good at just about everything he does. (Are we sure he’s human?)

Therefore, if the man wants to wear a bright yellow shirt with neon orange tigers on it, we already know he can do it and still look like a beast.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

In your custom apparel, neon colors will exude confidence and boss energy.


Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith may be an actor and rapper, but he is also a fashion icon. (Before you ask—yes, he is Will Smith’s son.)

If you’re also wondering what the heck SYRE means, we’ll fill you in.

SYRE: A Beautiful Confusion is Smith’s debut studio album that dropped in 2017. (Side note—can you believe 2017 was 5 years ago? That is just scary.)

The hoodie in the photo above features the title of the album. The apparel is part of a line by MSFTSrep, the “art collective” that includes Jaden Smith, Willow Smith (you guessed it—Will Smith’s daughter), and Harry Hudson.

Our Scrappy Takeaway

Music is one pillar of a brand, and custom apparel is another. If you are a musician, artist, content creator, or maker of any kind, you can use custom apparel to strengthen your brand.


Alison Wonderland

We all know oversized t-shirts are comfortable to sleep in—but apparently, they’re also the perfect complement to high-energy electronic music sets at festivals with thousands of attendees.

And by the way, we’re not talking about the festivalgoers. DJ and producer Alison Wonderland is known for wearing oversized t-shirts during her performances. Actually, we don’t think we’ve ever seen her not wearing a huge tee.

In the photo above, you’ll see her wearing a shirt with an all-over black and white print. Hello, contrast!

Our Scrappy Takeaway

You’ll make a statement with your custom apparel when you use a bold print with high-contrast colors. 

Tip: Complementary colors create the strongest contrast possible.

Now that we’ve taken a tour of celebrity style, we hope you’re ready to bring your A-game for your custom apparel designs.

Remember, the takeaways we shared are not the be-all and end-all of custom apparel. 


When you create your designs, it’s crucial for you to stay true to your brand and creative vision.


That being said, we think it’s fun to check out what other people are wearing. Whether you gained inspiration from this article or not, we hope you realize that apparel is highly subjective. 


There is no right or wrong in general—but there is right and wrong for your brand specifically. That’s why it’s so important to keep your brand’s mission and message at the forefront of your apparel designs.


What did you think of the trends we shared? Comment below to tell us which ones you love and which ones you loathe. We’re excited to get the conversation going.

No matter where you are in the brand-building process, our experts are ready to help.

Contact Us