Andy Timmins

So, you want to start a clothing company?

So, you want to start a clothing company?
Each day, we process around 300 quotations for customers who are looking to buy clothing for a number of reasons. We have workwear customers, we have marketing or advertising agencies, we have clubs o...
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Arron Harnden

Latest Sailing Clothing

Latest Sailing Clothing
If you like the sound of water slipping off your bow, the wind pressing your back as you cut along on a magnetic bearing and if you can recite the lyrics to Sally Brown (Roll and go) while chugging do...
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Arron Harnden

Printing or embroidery onto polo shirts advice

There are some things to consider when you are planning your printed or embroidered polo shirt order.

Not everything will work and some things that will work, can work better if you know the pitfalls.

The first thing to consider is the weave or knit of the polo shirt.

Polo shirts more often than not have a weave known as 'PIQUE' (pee-kay). This is a knitted weave which produces a texture that appears raised and patterned.

If you were to examine it closely, you would see the peaks and troughs that exist at the warp and weft junctions.

PIQUE KNIT

pique knit

 

JERSEY KNIT

close up of jersey knit fabric used for polo shirts

 

This is a flatter and smoother weave, which is more common in T-shirts and sweatshirts.

The difference in the weaves is obvious and this will often influence the decision on whether to go for screen-printing, digital printing, vinyl (usually for names and numbers on the back) or embroidery.

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Arron Harnden

How to look good in a T shirt.

The truth about looking good in a T shirt is that you either need to be the right kind of skinny, spending quality time in the gym or you need to wear your 'size' like you own the world and your big curves and bulges are a deliberate strategy to occupy more space as you grow more glorious and fabulous.

The right kind of skinny.
If your metabolism is aggressive or you burn through nervous energy then you might be one of those people that finds it hard to put on weight. You will probably be in one of the metabolic categories that is controlled by your adrenal or pituitary glands.

Females are categorised with 4 types of metabolism while men have only 3. Your metabolism is largely governed by one of our four major glands and each of us has a dominant gland; the thyroid, the adrenal, the pituitary and the gonads or sex glands. In men, the adrenal and gonadal types are combined.

Another way to categorise body types is as mesomorphs (those with athletic builds), endomorphs (those with bigger bodies) and ectomorphs (those with very thin builds).

In reality, most of us are a combination of body types or our glandular activity is a combination of those four types. Glandular activity changes throughout our life and it can be affected by our choice of diet and the external stimuli we are subjected to but the natural 'skinnies' amongst you can look great in the right fitting T shirt whether you are a 'fit-skinny' or a 'slacker-skinny'.

Fit-skinny

skinny people

sweetspot on a t-shirt

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Andy Timmins

Shirtworks roadtest for new Stanley Stella products for 2016.

Shirtworks roadtest for new Stanley Stella products for 2016.

What has a seminal 1947 Tennesee Williams play about complex human interactions and a study of masculinity have in common with a 21st century clothing brand?

Well..............we have no idea!

Stanley & Stella (S&S) are two of the main characters in 'A Streetcar named Desire' and also the name of an ethical clothing brand which has positioned itself as a fashion white label product for anyone wanting to create a product driven as well as brand driven clothing brand of their own.

The garment decoration business has long been supplying basic t shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies etc.... for screenprinting or embroidery but in the last 3 years there have been interesting 'fashion' orientated products coming into the market.

These products have been constructed using alternative weave and dying processes to create fashion textures that have been appearing on the high street recently.

S&S also use organic cotton and their products are Fair Wear accredited. This can be an important message for your own brand and can add value, credibility and brand equity.

8 different sustainable fabrics

5 innovative dyeing techniques

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Arron Harnden

Does a T shirt printing/embroidery company really need a customer service element?

google search query

Does a T shirt printing/embroidery company really need a customer service element?

 

So....you did your Google search for T shirt printing companies and Google decided to present you with page 1 of your search results with 3 companies that had paid for positioning then one or two national companies and then the local options.

Google tries to be clever with its algorithms that determine how good a company is and whether it deserves ranking but it is not as clever as it would like to be and its technology has its limitations. It uses over 200 assessment criteria in its calculations and some human input but it is a flawed model.

All Google can see is a website and there is a whole lot of the business that it cannot see. Almost all of it in fact.

It is assessing a business in the way that you might look at a book cover and then decide without opening the book whether or not the contents are any good , worth reading and then worth recommending. It is flawed and often unfair.

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Arron Harnden

The Polo Shirt

What is the polo shirt all about

We at Shirtworks like to think of it as the ‘hybrid’, located somewhere in no-mans land between the T shirt and the formal shirt.

The basic concept is simple but the subtle varieties available in this product are worthy of some spotlight.

The polo shirt is something of a misnomer and its genesis can actually be attributed to tennis.

In the early 20th century, Rene Lacoste (pictured below) decided that he could not play his best tennis whilst wearing the traditional long sleeve shirt and tie. He set about designing and then wearing his own Jersey Petite Pique. The garment he wore in the 1926 US open championship is the model that all polo shirts hail from. Rene’s Chemise Lacoste company was formed in 1933 and began marketing and selling these garments in Europe and North America with the famous crocodile logo.

Rene lacoste wearing a polo shirt

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Arron Harnden

The A-Z of the sales and printing process

So you are thinking of buying printed or embroidered T-shirts. It is probably more complicated than you think.

 confused man

Almost everything in life is more complicated than you first give it credit. I regularly make this mistake when I first start thinking about a project and buying branded garments or printed T shirts is no exception.

There are easy print/embroidery jobs and quick decisions that can be made but there are also those jobs where every detail needs to be questioned. This detail is often overlooked by the customer when they begin the journey. A good sales person will guide the customer through these decisions where required but here are some key points to consider.

1    Your quote/the print company you chose

There are now plenty to choose from. Just Google T Shirt printing and you will be presented with those companies that Google has decided to rank organically or via pay per click on your search view; but which one is best for you?

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Andy Timmins

What is Colour Separating for T-shirt Printing

 

What is colour separating for T shirt printing?

Printing onto T-shirts using the traditional screen-printing process is not always straightforward.

There are variables, which will determine the approach.

The first variable is the image itself and how it will be colour separated before being sent to the screen room.

Artwork is always constructed using some basic but variable building blocks that require us consider how they will be screenprinted;

  • Is it a vector or a bitmap file format?
  • Is the resolution of the artwork good enough to begin with?
  • Artwork will contain one or more colours. How many is too many?
  • The ‘object’ in the artwork may be solid spot colours or they may contain gradients and tonal changes.
  • It may contain text. The size of this is important.
  • The artwork may contain key-lines and their thickness is important.
  • What colour garments are we printing on?

Many customers will not consider that so much is required to assess artwork. If they are lucky enough to have had a graphic designer produce their artwork then much of this thinking will already have occurred if the graphic designer is ‘t shirt’ trained.

Screen printers are often supplied with low-resolution images from websites for reproduction. This is rarely adequate for direct reproduction as web graphics are designed to be as small a file size as possible so that the web page they are lifted from has a faster loading speed.

These images often have to be re-drawn using a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator or they are put through a number of Photoshop filters to try to improve them. Sometimes both.

Assuming the artwork is the best it can be, there are a number of colour separation techniques that we use.

  1. SPOT COLOUR SEPARATIONS
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Arron Harnden

Sports garments- what process is best for decorating these garment?

Polyester is popular again.

Not in a post ironic disco fitted groove strutting kind of way, but popular with those that like to cook up a sweat; stretching, lunging, busting a gut, honing those pecs and glutes.
All manner of ‘teamwear’ type styles are now available for your football , hockey, basketball, cross country and quidditch team.

mens sports topwomens sports top


Your first decision may be what colour configuration you require with your teamwear but the second is going to be how your logo or design is placed onto your garment and what process is best.
This is not so straightforward and some consideration is required. The choice you make will be dictated by your design/logo in conjunction with your garment choice. The number of colours, the detail in the logo, the size of the logo, the colour and weight of your garments will all shape this decision. 

football shirtteam colours sports top
Your Shirtworks account manager will be your sounding board but below is an overview of these considerations and the reasons that they require some expertise and thought.
1               Why is polyester a trickier proposition to decorate than a traditional cotton T shirt?

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Arron Harnden

Brand Design Problems: Choosing the Right Logo

 

Choosing the right logoWith the advent of the internet, there are literally millions of new businesses springing up across the world. This has its plus sides and its down sides for business owners. Competition is becoming increasingly fierce. You are no longer just up against local businesses, but national and international ones too. On the plus side, there are far more opportunities to grow with a worldwide market.

Business owners are realising that the only way to get ahead is to make their business stand out from the crowd. You have to put real time, effort and resources into creating a brand that tells people who you are and what you do in a unique and appealing way.

One of the most important facets of this is creating a business logo. Having a logo for your brand that people recognise and equate with quality services and products can be the difference between success and failure. Despite being vitally important, there are still some common mistakes made by businesses when creating their logos. Let’s have a look at the top five.

 

1. Cutting Corners on the Design Work

Jotting down a logo idea and then handing it over to someone to replicate is not going to do your business any favours. Designers are highly skilled experts with trained eyes and a depth of knowledge on how your logo will appear in different formats. One logo may look good on a website but will fade into insignificance on a uniform. It’s important to source a designer who you can work with closely, and discuss all aspects of your brand before they begin working on a design.

You need to budget carefully for this and pay as much as you can for this stage of your branding work. It will pay dividends in the long run. A logo is for life, not just for Christmas!

 

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Arron Harnden

The journey of the T shirt through popular culture

Last century, in 1990 I saw a film.
I was 18 yrs of age, still impressionable, still trying to figure out who I was and what my outward identity would communicate.
An image in that film caught my eye.
It was a v neck t shirt.
Not just any v neck T shirt, it was a garment draped over the languidly cool frame of the actor Matt Dillon who was playing the lead character, James Fogle, in Gus Van Sants film about a drug addict turned robber to fund his drug habit.
A poor choice for me as a life and fashion role model but I was 18 and I was a young fool who, all of a sudden, wanted a plain white v neck t shirt. An impossible thing to buy on the high street in the UK in 1990.This unattainability made it all the more desirable to me.
image002matt 04
Source//googleimages
Everyday powerful images stream into our subconscious from the numerous screens that coexist with or current 21th century routines and

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Arron Harnden

The geographical and economic journey of your T-shirt.

Take a look in your wardrobe or chest of drawers. It is a statistical certainty that you own a T shirt.

What other product do you know of that almost everybody in the world owns?

The incredible journey that your T shirt has taken will surprise most of you. The human effort and energy expenditure invested in your T shirt and the small amount of money you have paid for that garment will surprise you.

The story about to unfold is a summary of a typical journey . We cannot possibly tell you all of them as not all journeys are the same but what is the same is the fact that the T shirt is a truly global, cosmopolitan traveller with thousands of miles in its passport and numerous personalities involved in its short life before it finds it home with you.

Your T shirt started life as a seed. If you are reading this in the UK, it is likely to have began its journey in

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Andy Timmins

Company Uniforms: Matching Quality For Cost

Professionalism counts for a lot. A simple uniform can transform a workplace, establishing brand, reinforcing unity and tying your team together visually. The whole appearance of your getup will be slicker and more professional, without having to compromise on the relaxed atmosphere or feel-good-vibe particular to your business.

All off the back of a few polo shirts or printed v-necks! Let’s look at this a little more.

Benefits of company uniforms

Work JacketsCompany uniforms encourage customers to approach your staff. A uniform instantly identifies someone as an employee, making it easier and more automatic for potential customers to ask queries or request orders.

Your staff will feel more professional when in uniform. It can help them to differentiate between personal and work time, enabling them to get in the zone faster and work more efficiently on the shop floor or at their desk.

Uniforms look great! Lift your company to the next level with a couple of quality tees. Show your customers you care about your image and your brand.

 

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Andy Timmins

The 10 Coolest T-Shirt Designs We've Seen in 2015

 

2015 is nowhere near finished, and we’ve already come across some of the best T-shirt designs we’ve seen in years. Whether you’re hitting a beach overseas, or staying at home to soak up the best of the British sunshine, you’re going to look fantastic in one of these T-shirts.

The Stussy Collage Tie-Dye

Stussy Tie DyeThis isn’t your 60s tie-dye, peace symbol T-shirt. These are all over tie-dye prints, splashed with edgy messaging, images of the fashion icon you want to be, and a lot of urban cool.

Colourways come in blue, purple, and red, while the shirt itself comes in a regular fit from size S to XXL.

The Oldhead Biker Logo T

Oldhead has hardly kept their love of all things snowboarding, skating and surfing a secret, so how wonderful to see their ‘Never Stop Riding’ logo below a motorbike with wings.

In keeping with the look of every classic biker tee ever made, this 100% cotton tee comes in simple black. The bike brown logo’s stands out in minimal but effective tan design, making this a t-shirt destined for a few appreciative glances this summer.

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Arron Harnden

What's the difference between Fairtrade and Fair Wear Garments?

People often ask us this question and wonder if Fairtrade and Fair Wear are essentially the same. It’s certainly true that both are aiming to achieve the same objective of ensuring that the people who produce the goods we use every day are treated fairly for their work. There are, however, differences in the approaches used and the different parts of the supply chain who are benefiting.

fairtrade-foundation-logo

 

The focus of the Fairtrade Foundation is ensuring small producers receive an acceptable deal for their products when selling to large corporations. Concerned with a wide range of sectors (e.g. coffee, bananas, cocoa, cotton), the intention is to target and alleviate poverty affecting those at the bottom of the supply chain in developing countries.

cotton pickers

 

fairwear logo

Aiming to create better and fairer working conditions for manufacturing workers in the garment industry, Fair Wear Foundation pays particular attention to brand accountability at the middle and higher end of the supply chain, looking to ensure brands take responsibility for the surroundings in which their products are produced. Membership involves agreement to a set of ‘labour standards’ which are as follows:

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Andy Timmins

University Guide : How To Increase Sport Participation

shirtworks 1436347178599 block 0

 

Do you want to increase participation in your chosen sport?  These 5 useful steps should help you to have a full, motivated and energetic team. Once you have your team, you should consider planning a team social so your team can get to know each other better. You can find out more about this here

 

Step One - Create A Strong Sport Community 

 

shirtworks 1436347178599 block 1

 

Make full use of the Student Union and make them aware that you are looking for new candidates to join your team. However, more than that you should create social outlets where your team can come together and discuss any worries or improvements. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram they are all perfect tools to help you create a strong community. Once students notice your dedicated team they will be raring to be part of it. 

 

 

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Andy Timmins

For the Social Sec: How to Plan the Perfect Team Social

 

Planning a university social As every student knows, there are two golden rules to follow when you want to make the most of university life: work hard and play hard! This is especially true if you are the social secretary for one of the diverse range of student clubs and societies at UK universities.

You need strong organisational skills and a great sense of humour in order to run a successful event that will bring your team members closer together, celebrate their achievements, raise money and create fantastic memories.

Whether you are social sec for a uni rowing club, film society, choir or a more unusual student group, keep these key steps in mind to help your event go without a hitch.

Save the Date

Start planning your team social as far in advance as possible in order to help ensure that your team members’ diaries won’t already be full. Offer everyone a selection of dates, avoiding clashes with other student events, and go for the date that is convenient for the largest number of people. To help ensure that team members don’t forget about the event, send them ‘save-the-date’ cards, as well as reminders nearer the time.

Try Something New

Don’t settle for a pub quiz just because that is what the team usually ends up doing. Chat to your team members for inspiration. What activities would they love to try? Where haven’t they been before? Do they have any unusual hobbies? Check out some local attractions and venues, so that you have a few ideas up your sleeve to get the ball rolling. Paintballing, spa days, treasure hunts – the opportunities are limited only by your imagination! 

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Andy Timmins

A History of the NUS

There’s empty sloganeering and then there’s achieving real change. The first may be easy to achieve with a few Facebook ‘shares’, but to truly impact on the greater good of society, action, organisation, and flexibility are vital. One group who embodies this is the National Union of Students (NUS).


The Early Days


NUSThe years after World War I saw Britain counting the costs of the most brutal military action in recent memory. Out of this was a general desire for peace, especially amongst the student population. In 1922, ex-serviceman Ivison Macadam worked with others to form the NUS.


As President of the NUS, Macadam had a noble goal, namely for his organisation to be represented in the Prague-based Confederation Internationale des Etudiants. This Confederation’s vision to promote friendship and understanding between those perceived as the future leaders of different nations spoke strongly to the NUS’s ideals.


Merging Idealism with Pragmatism


By 1930, it had became apparent that the NUS would need to focus its priorities on commercial endeavours in order to fund the on-going travel required for international meetings. NUS Travel was set up to achieve this end, proving to be successful.

In 1965, the NUS went on to establish Endsleigh, a specialist student insurance company. This answered the needs of students who were unable to attain competitive insurance at the time and went onto become one of the largest insurance retail operations in the UK.

Sadly, the global economic crisis of the 1970s was too much for the NUS’s commercial ventures to withstand. NUS Travel spiralled into bankruptcy and Endsleigh was sold. However, the NUS and Endsleigh still enjoy a strong relationship. Ironically, it was the NUS’s more idealistic stance that would ensure its survival.

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Andy Timmins

Great Places For University Trips Abroad

budapestSummer's coming, and exams will be over and done with. Have you started thinking about how you’ll enjoy your time off?

Whether you’re interested in brushing up on your language skills, working or volunteering somewhere exotic, or merely kicking back on an inexpensive, relaxing holiday on the beach, here are some of our picks for a great few months.

Budapest, Hungary

Known for its famous Sziget Festival a massively popular weeklong culture and music festival that takes place every August, Budapest is also home to a lively unique nightlife scene. In the past decade, the city has gained fame for its “ruin pubs”, bars that have sprung up in abandoned places and repurposed old Soviet architecture.

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