Brazil’s “lookin’ to score” tee is, unfortunately, part of a recent tradition of aberrant apparel.
Earlier this year, in anticipation of the upcoming World Cup, Adidas released a t-shirt featuring a buxom cartoon woman, a soccer ball, and the slogan: “Lookin’ to Score.” The shirt raised hackles in the tournament’s host country of Brazil, where locals, seeing a dehumanizing, oversexed stereotype imposed on Brazilian women once again, did not appreciate the joke. Even Dilma Rousseff, the current (and first female) president of Brazil, felt the need to weigh in, taking to Twitter to condemn the extant culture of sexual exploitation. Adidas recalled the shirt.
But this shirt, crude as it may be, is part of a long, rich history of tone-deaf work in the t-shirt game. Dumb ideas somehow regularly make it through the corporate meat grinder, down the product development garbage chute, past a team of marketing monkeys, and on to you, the consumer. Just making it past so many eyes makes these shirts incredible artifacts of bureaucratic malfunction, a point reflected in the booming secondary market for these offensive rarities.
So here are some of the best, worst t-shirts—seven of the most egregious lightweight cotton failures ever to be yanked from the shelves of your local mall.
Illustrations by Alexis Markavage