As the saying goes, “practice what you preach”
I think it’s about time I shared something real with you. At which point you might need to hit the delete button, and I’d understand that – as old school T-shirt printers we’re not allowed to admit to having feelings, not supposed to back down in a fight…you can either do a hundred hour week and print ten thousand T-s, or you’re of no use to your country, and will be sent straight back to Blighty. And yet we’re a strange mix. We’re also as likely to be found wondering is fuchsia is the new cerise; looking at colours in different lights and saying ‘I’m just not quite feeling that Jeremy, are you?’
So I’ll tell you a story if you’re still with me, if you’re not watching a TV programme about people watching TV programmes, or some other enormous media piss take, and you can make of it what you will.
The whole section of the site is, well, slightly loosely, about how to start your own clothing brand…
about the importance of the story behind your collection, which garments to choose, inks, labels, hem tabs, swing tickets and generally, how to get a girlfriend. We’ve been waffling through our beards on such world defining topics for nigh on twenty five years, man and boy, through several Prime Ministers, a collective variety of marriages, the odd very nasty winter, and a knee replacement…and on occasion, we know what we’re on about. And apart from the time in 2000 when the computers updated, and we thought we’d spelt ‘compliant’ as ‘complaint’ on a few thousand shirts, emotionally, it’s been relatively easy. But that has recently changed.
In the distant past, before we hid behind other people’s brands, we had our own…back when we all had long hair and lied about the size of the waves we’d ridden; but years ago and still PD, pre dood, when ‘rad’ was short for radiator. We did ok, maybe fifty UK accounts and about half that overseas, in unlikely places, like Malta. But fate is a funny old bastard, and just when we thought we’d never go back into that water, I met this bloke – I say ‘I’ and will now remain in the first person, because this is all my fault.
It was a regular day, North London, Swiss Cottage (there’s nothing further from the Alps) some hotel and me, and a man about my age, I guess. We drank coffee, wondered why people with faces like smacked arses would want to work in hospitality, shot the breeze, talked about kids…he was relieved by one of those vapour things, while I stepped outside with the Duke of Marlborough – you know how it is. On my return we got down to business. He was music industry through and through, London – LA, twenty five years…
‘Our jobs are quite the same’ he said ‘In many ways’ I nodded, crunching a shit biscuit, and wondering if I’d taken the plastic wrapper off.
He had an idea for a brand, close to an idea I had for a brand,
I had a name he liked.
He knew a lot of people, who knew a lot of people.
I had a factory that made nice stuff.
He wanted to work with something that ‘Didn’t answer back’
And although I didn’t know it, I still had something to say, a story to tell, in pictures.
But even that wasn’t it, not the final decider – it was the moment when we both knew we’d been at times in our lives up the very same creek, without a paddle…those parallel pasts that require only the raising of an eyebrow for those who have lived them, to know they speak the same language. It happens in a second, but it’s a big second.
So I headed north, and left it till Leicester Forest East before I called him and said
‘Shall we do this thing or what, this brand?’ and he said,
Which brings me to the breaking of the bread, the spilling of the beans, the thing to be shared…
in the bottom corner of my antique lap top, beside the baffling symbols, that tell you you’re unprotected and about to go on standby, next to something that looks like an orange handbag, it says 02:48.
This is bad news. I have a heavy cold, an 8.30 meeting, and a beautiful woman upstairs who thinks I’m insane…but they are not what keeps me awake, it’s something quite different you see…I’m scared.
Pretty good at telling you how to launch your brand I can be (why am I writing like Yoda), but when it comes to exposing the under garments of my own graphic design – I can’t sleep; I keep changing my mind…
‘That’s too contrived’ a voice says, in my head,
‘Too already done’…
‘Now it’s too rustic’ it says,
‘Not nearly enough polish, where’s the dash man, the cut and the thrust?’…
‘The label’s too street’…
‘Now it’s up its own arse’…
‘The hem tab’s too big and the swinger too thin’
‘Just black and white for the print…or a touch of red…and when in the name of sweet Jesus…will you ever get to bed’
It hurts, and what’s more, if it fails…no, no, no…let’s not look at that – but there is a red or a black sweet to pull out of the lucky bag, a good thing to be had…if you call me in a few short hours to discuss your brand…I’ll know how you feel again — and it’s been quite a while.