What's going on around the globe Bangkok is famous for many things. There are the temples. The traffic. And, oh yes, the T-shirts. Take a walk down any of the Thai capital's myriad sidewalks and lanes, and you'll be bamboozled by the breathtaking selection of this most humble item of apparel. From the fleshpots of Patpong to the chi-chi boutiques of Chit Lom, Bangkok abounds with T-shirts. You name it, Bangkok has got it. Diesel and Calvin Klein knock-offs. Those silly stick-figures in porn star poses. Brand names twisted to smirk-inducing smutty variants. Tuxedo T-shirts. Japanese cute critter T-shirts. 'I'm with stupid' T-shirts. Not to mention downright weird T-shirts, like the one sported by a woman I passed on my way to work, emblazoned with the puzzling rubric 'Breathe Me'. Thus it seems fitting that Bangkok should be the setting for a T-shirt festival, organised by FM station Fat Radio. Next Saturday, thousands of Thais will gather at the Tossapaak Arena in Klong Toey to pay tribute to this cotton study in Zen-like simplicity, honouring its comfort, durability, and versatility. 'If you're not wearing a T-shirt, don't bother coming. You won't be allowed in,' says a Fat Radio spokesman. Headlining the festival are bands including Day Tripper, Scrubb, Armchair, J Penquin, Superbaker, Sqweez Animal, Pi, Skalaxy, Road Movie, Lek Surachai, DOObaDOO, No More Belt Show and Save Da Last Piece, all of whom will be in T-shirts. 'We're going to have more than 200 booths, where you'll be able to buy every kind of T-shirt,' says the spokesman. 'Designer brands will be represented, but we'll have lots of booths run by young designers and students from the various universities and colleges. So you'll be able to custom design the T-shirts you want, mixing and matching various graphics and slogans, which will be screen printed or appliqued for you.' If we take T-shirts for granted today, it wasn't always so. While no one can state categorically when the first T-shirt was produced, US screen-printing pioneer Scott Fresener believes its invention can be credited to the US Navy, which produced crew-necked, short-sleeved white cotton undershirts to be worn under uniforms. The T-shirt came into its own in the 1950s, with Marlon Brando sporting a classic white wife-beater in 1951's A Streetcar Named Desire, and James Dean getting in on the act in Rebel Without a Cause four years later. Elvis Presley, too, was into T-shirts, long before he discovered the joys of a sequinned jumpsuit. It's believed the oldest printed T-shirt is one proclaiming 'Dew It with Dewey', from New York governor Thomas Dewey's 1948 presidential campaign. It now sits gathering dust in the Smithsonian Institute. But 1959 is when the modern-day T-shirt really takes off, with the development of plastisol, a flexible textile ink, followed by the iron-on transfer and screen printing. It's estimated that more than one billion T-shirts have been sold around the world. And organisers of the T-shirt Festival expect that figure to jump by at least 2,000 after this Saturday's event. 'We've also got a fashion show planned, with each of the participating designers getting just one catwalk slot to strut their stuff,' says the radio station spokesman. Sound like a fun day? You've got it to a 'T'.