Zendaya might be the face of Challengers, but the 2024 Luca Guadagnino film has created another icon in its press tour wake: the “I Told Ya” T-shirt, a garment with a rich yet murky history.

Josh O'Connor — who stars opposite Zendaya alongside Mike Faist — attended the Challengers UK premiere in a black suit that'd normally have us smashing the snooze button. But peeking out from under O'Connor's suit jacket was a white dress shirt printed with block lettering reading, "I Told Ya."

At first glance, the graphic choice might strike as cheeky, albeit confusing. But O'Connor's mouthy top actually references a T-shirt — also bearing the words "I Told Ya" — that Zendaya wears in a scene in Challengers.

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There's further context to be unpacked here. Pop culture buffs will recognize the shirt as a replica of a tee John F. Kennedy Jr. famously wore in the '90s while out throwing a frisbee with his dog. There’s not a lot of information on the shirt's background but given the Kennedy family’s waspy lifestyle, tennis was sort of their thing (aside from politics, of course). 

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To wit: a tennis tournament was named after JFK Jr.’s uncle, Robert, and was once the place to see and be seen in New York City. JFK Jr. was also often spotted on the court with friends and his wife, Carolyn, back when the New York City tabloids couldn’t get enough of his comings and goings.

Even without a full “meaning” behind the t-shirt, it tracks that LOEWE's Jonathan Anderson, Challengers' costume designer, chose it for Zendaya’s uber-competitive character. It’s an IYKYK sort of nod to the fashionable olds, if you will.

Anderson has been posting about the "I Told Ya" T-shirt and sweatshirt since Challengers entered production — he even rocked his own version of the shirt to the movie’s premiere in Paris.

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Now that O’Connor and Anderson have put their own spin on the "I Told Ya" shirt, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the cast tries their hand at styling it. Do we dare hope Zendaya shows up in an "I Told Ya" gown?

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