Rastafarian, Reggae, and T-shirt designs
The T-shirt has a varying range of designs and styles, most t-shirt printing companies use symbolic prints. These symbols can include political or social images, usually relating to a movement, a minority of society, or a counterculture lifestyle. Such a lifestyle is the Rastafarian Movement.
The Rastafarian movement thinks of it as not a “religion” but more of a “way of life”. Unlike other religions, the Rastas worship not a vaguely Almighty Being, but their one God is incarnated that of the last Emperor of Ethiopia, Hale Selassie I.
T-shirt design influenced by the Rastafarian, Bob Marley
The association with Reggae and Rastafari is mostly due to Bob Marley’s influence on the reggae music genre. Most shirt designs show the signature image of the popular music icon. His worry-free smile and carefree dreadlocks are the most popular images used in reggae shirts. Printed in pencil, sketch, a photograph of the artist. Prints would show Marley’s different poses, him singing on stage or with his head slightly looking up in laid back laughter.
Bob Marley heavily used the Rastafarian rhythm in his songs, talking of peace and truth, like the Rastafarian way. Most consider Marley responsible for merging Reggae music with Rastafarian beliefs, making it the popular sound that it is today. That being the message of most of his songs, has heavily influenced the Reggae music scene, and Marley is a believer of the Rastafarian movement has then associated the Reggae style to the Rastafarian symbols.
The Reggae design and what it symbolizes
Most reggae shirt either shows the three colors of the Rastafarian flag. Another design used that is also seen in the Rasta’s flag is the roaring lion that stands at its center. Sometimes the colors of the Rastafarian flag, the symbolic red, green, and gold serve as background to a superimposed image of Bob Marley or are accessorized by the lyrics of Marley’s songs.
The color red symbolizes the blood of the Jamaicans who sacrificed for change, green represents the forests of the Ethiopian countryside, and gold means the richness and wealth of Africa.
Cannabis in Reggae t-shirt designs
Cannabis often called “ganja” is very sacred to the Rastafarian culture. It is used as a sacrament of the Rastafarian faith. Rastafari’s believe that the smoking of cannabis can open up one’s thought to the truth, which is why it is highly used in the Rastafarian faith. As wine is sacred to the Christian faith, as so is cannabis or marijuana in the Rastafarian belief.
The significance of Cannabis in the Rastafarian faith is expressed in most of the Reggae shirt prints. The five-handed marijuana leaf has been a symbol for the Rastafarian practice of opening the truth to those who follow the faith.
These symbols and designs have been widely used in Reggae shirts. Countless custom printed shirts have been worn by Bob Marley fans both the famous and the infamous, even those who do not practice or believe in the Rastafarian religion.