Zendaya’s ‘Challengers’ I Told Ya T-Shirt Is Officially For Sale

No, Zendaya wasn’t gloating when she stepped out in New York City this past Monday night wearing a t-shirt with the words “I TOLD YA” emblazoned on the front. Yes, she likely knows we’ve been watching her every public appearance while traveling around the world promoting her new movie, Challengers, with a sartorial acumen rivaled only by Margot Robbie’s Barbie press looks and Zendaya’s own work for Dune. But her shirt’s message didn’t mean to say “I told you I am that girl” (though she is), or “I told you Law Roach and I could pull off a tennis-themed press tour” (which they absolutely did). In reality, the shirt is yet another form of movie promotion, a Jonathan Anderson for Loewe exclusive—and now, you can get your hands on one as well.

Those who have been anxiously awaiting the release of Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers, dissecting every trailer and movie poster in anticipation, will already be familiar with the t-shirt; Zendaya’s character, Tashi, wears it in the trailer. Later, in the movie, Patrick (Josh O’Connor) is also seen sporting one, but the shirt’s lore within the context of the film is never explained outright.

In real life, though, we have an idea of where the slogan came from. It seems Anderson, who designed all of the costumes for Challengers, was inspired by a tee once worn by John F. Kennedy Jr. According to People, the son of President John F. Kennedy was seen wearing it a few times in the ’90s, often while spending time with his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and playing frisbee with his dog. Kennedy Jr. likely wore the shirt as a reference to his father, whose 1961 inaugural button contained the phrase, “I TOLD YOU SO.”

Now, one might be wondering what the Kennedys have to do with a tripoded tennis movie, but Anderson actually recently revealed JFK Jr. was a major inspiration when it came to designing O’Connor’s wardrobe for the movie. “When JFK Jr. was younger, in the ’80s and ’90s, there was kind of an effortlessness to his wardrobe—like he could wear anything, and sex appeal would always be there,” the designer told WWD. Loewe even brought in model Tommy Hackett to act as a JFK Jr. stand-in for the shirt’s campaign images to really drive home the point.

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Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
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And now, the shirt has made its way offscreen. Anderson himself wore the tee underneath a blazer at Challengers’s Rome premiere early this month. Then, just a few days later, O’Connor—a longtime Loewe darling—sported the phrase on his plissé shirt along with his custom wool suit from the brand to the London premiere. As we know, the “I TOLD YA” trio was rounded out when Zendaya got in on the fun and threw on the top for a more casual outing to one of the film’s screenings earlier this week.

Unsurprisingly, Loewe has gotten ahead of the “I TOLD YA” fanfare, likely aware that the public would be clamoring for their own braggadocios tee bearing what has become the unofficial slogan of the movie. The brand is selling Challengers merch of their own, printing the phrase on white and gray shirts and sweatshirts you can snatch up either online or at select Loewe stores. So, whether you’re always right and want everyone to know, or you’re a Tashi superfan, you can express it loud and proud (that is, assuming you have a good $330 lying around in your t-shirt fund).

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