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The bizarre world of record-breaking T-shirts
Five times the T-shirt won a Guinness World Record

While you may have attempted to get away with wearing a new T-shirt a few times in a row without anyone noticing, there are people out there who take record-breaking way more seriously. And the humble T-shirt has found itself at the centre of a few of these crazy feats.

It began for Ted Hastings when he was paging through the 2019 edition of the Guinness World Records book with his 11 year old son William in their home in Ontario, Canada. William asked whether his dad could set a world record. Not to be shown up in the eye’s of his son, of course he took on the challenge. Together they decided on the title of ‘Most T-shirts Worn At Once’. At the time it was held by Sanath Bandara of Colombo, Sri Lanka who put on 257 T-shirts in 2011.

To accommodate Ted’s growing bulk as he layered up T-shirt by T-shirt, he had to source shirts up to 20 XL in size which arrived from a manufacturer in India just days before the attempt was scheduled at a local gym. The attempt began on February 17th 2019 with an official adjudicator from Guinness World Records in the room. Twenty T-shirts in, Ted began to need help to get the garments over his head. By 120, a full team of helpers was on standby. By 150, the weight of the fabric began to restrict his breathing. Some of the T-shirts had family photos printed on them for extra motivation. Thanks to an enthusiastic crowd, Ted kept going and although he could barely see over the tower of collars around his neck, he went on to wear a total of 260 T-shirts and break the record. For an item of clothing that’s relatively chill, those were some hard-working T-shirts.

Even larger than Ted’s 260th tee, is the record-holder for the world’s largest T-shirt from Mumbai, India. In 2018, Plastindia Foundation made the gargantuan T-shirt out of 200 000 recycled plastic bottles which they processed into fibre to create 4 000 kg of cloth. The final product is a green and white striped T-shirt that measures 96.86 m (317.78 ft) by 69.77 m (228.90ft). It took a team of 15 tailors from the International Knitwear Company and 60 volunteers 45 days to sew the shirt which was made in separate parts in different warehouses big enough to lay out such large pieces of fabric. The tee was completed over three days on the cricket ground at the Goregaon Sports Club in Mumbai where it was measured by an official from Guinness World Records and a professional surveyor. It turned out even bigger than its predecessor from Brazil which was a pink T-shirt made for breast cancer awareness that was so big that if you balanced three of Rio De Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer monuments on top of each other, the T-shirt would still be longer. After becoming the new official biggest T-shirt in the world, the stripy number was taken away to be cut and sewn into 10 000 normal-sized T-shirts to be given to disadvantaged children.

Taking the KonMari method to new heights is Graeme J.Cruden who in 2009 folded 23 T-shirts in one minute flat in Manchester, UK. Another neat freak, Kaito Koizumi of Tokyo, Japan is the fastest person to hang up five T-shirts in 27.93 seconds.

While for most people it may seem like an extreme sport to wear a crisp white T-shirt all day without spilling anything down the front, these achievements show another side to our go-to garment; that for some, they’re the key to going down in history, however obscure. Until someone puts on 261 T-shirts.

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