While I was staying with my mum before confinement, I attended a one-day screen printing course. I wanted to see if I could create my own T-shirt design. I had such fun playing with the shapes based on my Beverly Smart dress logo.
This workshop concentrated on using water-based paints. Although I just wanted a black and white design, we were shown how to mix the three primary colours using a sunglasses motif, to see the effects on paper. Then we put the final artwork together and it was time to print it. I had no idea how hard it would be to push the bar across the frame. It took a huge amount of force! Eventually I mastered it and am delighted with the result.
STAYING TRUE TO MY VALUES
I decided to source a Fruit of the Loom T shirt. I love the softness of their material, the feminine flattering shape and their ethics. They are committed to having the highest ethical standards and adhere to the WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) principles which relate to areas such as workplace regulations, child labour, hours of work, health and safety, discrimination and security and include the world’s largest facility certification programme, supported by the global apparel industry and totally independent. WRAP is dedicated to ensuring lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing throughout the world which is important to me.
All their garments are also approved to Oeko-Tex Standard 100 which certifies that they contain no substances harmful to people or the environment and is an internationally renowned testing certification system for textiles. Their test criteria are standardised across the world and include tests for pH-value, pesticides and heavy metals. Only when a garment is proved to contain no harmful substances is it granted Oeko-Tex approval.
It’s difficult for a small enterprise like mine to check every stage of the products I sell so that’s why I’ve always relied on visiting the South African townships or suppliers so that I can see for myself and meet the producers I’m supporting. This year I can continue to help the ones I know but also link up with others who already have trusted status.
SUPPORTING LOCAL COLLEAGUES
When I returned to France in March, I thought it would be a good idea to commission a local printer. Then lockdown happened and it made me more determined to support another local shop. I asked the printer in Narbonne if she could produce just 20 T-shirts. I’d printed one already to see how it looked so I already had an idea. I then asked her to try 10 of each colour – 10 black print on black T-shirts and 10 black on white T-shirts. I love the result! I really wasn’t sure what the demand would be because of Covid so I just kept to that small print run. I’m delighted to announce that I’ve just commissioned the Narbonne shop to print another 20 T-shirts.
A T-shirt can liven up an existing wardrobe. They look great with jeans or trousers, under a jacket, skirt or any of my Smart Basics range … dressed up or casual.
I really enjoyed the whole process and I might decide to create another design for next year!