Released in December 2015 as part of the “Wear Your History” campaign, the T-shirts feature 30 of the top selling newspaper’s most iconic front pages.
From headlines capturing national milestones, including Singapore’s separation from Malaysia, to tongue-in-the-cheek headlines like the 1971 “Schoolgirls at pot parties,” the page-one covers are drawn from the news media company’s 170-year archive.
“The designs are meant to not only remind people of the nation’s heritage, they also show how The Straits Times was heavily involved in Singapore’s history over the years,” said Ignatius Low, deputy editor for The Straits Times.
The Straits Times Deputy Managing Editor Fiona Chan said the campaign was a hit with people looking for collectible and practical keepsake items.
The comfortable, cotton T-shirts were also well timed for Christmas gifts. Many buyers ordered multiples as gifts for family members, friends, or employees.
The purchase was also a way to support a charity, as a portion of proceeds goes to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund to help more than 14,000 needy children with financial assistance to see them through their school day. Since it was established in October 2000, this fund has helped more than 130,000 children and disbursed more than S$50 million.
In December 2015, more than 1,300 T-shirts were sold, topping S$45,000 in sales.
“We will literally wear a piece of Singapore history on us, and the money that I spend will go to help the needy through the pocket money fund,” said Foo Hee Jug, chief executive officer of Jurong Health Services, who bought 30 T-shirts as gifts for his staff.
Given the positive response, The Straits Times is thinking about launching a second series of customised T-shirts with the buyer’s birthday headline printed on it.