Andy Timmins

Stepping Into Sustainability: How To Make Your Business Green

Tips on Improving Your Business' Green Credentials

recyclingAt Shirtworks, we're proud of our green credentials and our ethical policies, and we are helping more businesses across the UK improve their approach and their supply chain as they use our products and services.

As well as having an impact on the environment, having a green policy implemented in your business can also save your organisation money.

Printing

One of the keys areas of waste within the office environment. Reducing use of paper in your office, therefore, can have a massive impact on the global environment. Encourage employees to avoid printing out emails, and make moves for your marketing literature to be sent to customers via email instead of in the post. Of course, some things will still need to be printed, so consider changing to recycled paper for your printer.

Recycling

Putting recycling bins in your office will make a significant difference to your green credentials. Allowing scrap paper to be recycled and food waste to be composted is a great way of running an office in a sustainable way. It is key, however, to ensure that bins are clearly labelled so staff aren’t tempted to mix their recyclables undoing all the hard work from others.

 

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Andy Timmins

Shirtworks New Quoting & Ordering System

We have launched a new online ordering system, designed to make ordering your custom clothing even easier.

New features of the ordering system include:

Mixing Colour and Sizing Options 

custom clothing colour options

You can now mix colour, customisation and sizing options, meaning you can now get accurate quotes for a batch of items that may have size dependent customisations!

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Andy Timmins

3 Ways To Upcycle Your Summer Wardrobe

Upcycling Your Old Clothes

upcycled clothingThe summer sun is finally here and it’s time to whip out your sunglasses and your sun friendly clothes. Whilst it’s always nice to rediscover old summer clothes, it is often the case that they are the wrong size, in worse quality than you remember or simply not in fashion anymore.

It easy to hit the shops to buy your new wardrobe but not only is that not cost effective, it can be difficult to navigate round the high street stores that are often recognised for using unethical production practices. A great way to reinvent your wardrobe in a cheaper, greener way is to upcycle your outfits.

Upcycling is the processes of taking something unwanted or unusable and converting it into a product of better quality and value and the practice has taken off in the art, music and fashion industry. Here are three quick, cheap and easy methods to up cycle some of those older, unloved pieces in your wardrobe.

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Andy Timmins

Embroidered Clothing - What To Know Before Purchasing

Advice About Embroidered Clothing

embroidery-image

When deciding upon custom clothing for your team, business or club, you will need to make the decision on how you'd like your custom elements/design to be applied to the clothing.

Traditionally, most will opt for a traditional screen printed design, although digital printing is also increasing in popularity. Another option is embroidery; embroidered designs produce a high quality, professional result.

Due to the timeframes and costs of embroidered clothing, it is better suited to smaller runs. Embroidered designs are typically smaller (for example, a 10cm square chest logo, rather than a full chest design). Clothing can be both embroidered and printed (for example, and embroidered logo on the front of the garment, and a screen printed design on the rear).

What Type of Clothing?

Custom embroidery is better suited to heavier garments, like polo shirts, jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts and high quality heavy t-shirts.

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Andy Timmins

Unity At University: Wearing Your Colours Proudly

oxford university emblemAt Shirtworks we work with many University societies, colleges and teams to create great sports kits, as well as printed & embroidered clothing that help encapsulate the sense of camaraderie and community that University is all about.

These organisations help new students meet each other and share their common interests, ideas, and hobbies. This is a huge part of the University experience, with many people making friendships that last a lifetime.

So what kind of societies and groups can you join at University?

Societies

Every University will proudly host a range of different societies, most of which are often listed as the responsibility of the Student Union. Some societies will have run for many years and have certain expectations of their clan, whereas others may be newer and have popped up due to current trends.

The societies can be started by any student and normally have an allocated budget of funding offered to them by the Student Union. This budget covers expenses such as any trips or events the society wants to hold.

 

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Andy Timmins

Introducing Sustainable Living To Your Home

Tips to Improve Your Sustainable Lifestyle

sustainable green livingSustainable Living - a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources.

Home - The place where one lives permanently.

There are many reasons why we should live more sustainable lifestyles, but here at Shirtworks we think the reason is clear. If we want our home to have the permanence that forms its definition then we have to start respecting our Earth as our home by protecting it’s natural resources and respecting the natural ecology of our world.

Often the idea of living more sustainably can be daunting, but by following the steps below, you can make small, simple changes to your lifestyle which will help protect and respect our planet.

And no, we’re not going to tell you to start sharing showers to save water, or become a nudist to save on clothes production!

Power

An easy way to make your home more sustainable is to look at power use throughout the home. It is widely known that our excessive consumption of electricity is not currently at a sustainable level, and we are rapidly using up natural resources. So when you are in the home:

Turn electrical items off completely - not just on standby - unplug it when not in use. Turn your lights off when you leave a room, and don’t leave your music playing to an empty room - no one likes a lonely disco.

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Arron Harnden

The Most Expensive T-Shirt In The World

One Man With Ridiculously Lavish Style

worlds-most-expensive-t-shirt

It is a long standing fact that India has a fascination with gold, and in the culture it stands as a symbol for prestige and power. As with lots of other countries across the world, many Indian men and women purchase gold to make a statement about their wealth and glamour.

Datta Phuge, also affectionally known as 'the gold man' shocked the world when he took fashion and flamboyance to the next level with his awe inspiring gold tshirt. A self confessed gold obsessive from Pimpri Chinchwad, just outside of Pune in India, commissioned a T-Shirt for himself that was made entirely out of gold.

The 133 year old company that Datta used created the item with fashion and comfort in mind. They used a gold cloth sewn in Italian weave as well as a soft velvet lining to ensure the top was easy to wear for Datta. The tshirt was created with a special machine and the design was inspired by historical Indian kings who used to wear large suits of armour.

The T-shirt clinks on movement and cannot be washed so it is very important that Datta Phuge takes care to protect it from sweat and dirt, which is easy to pick up. The shirt tooks fifteen days and sixteen people to make, weighs 3.3kg and cost a whopping $250,000 (approx £150,000). He has also had to hire a security guard to follow him when he wears the shirt, although he saves it for special luxurious occasions rather than wearing it daily.

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Andy Timmins

The Importance Of Quality: Why Choose Ethical?

Choosing The Quality Of Ethically Produced Goods

Ethical Clothing QualityEthical clothing implies that the clothing has been produced while giving the workers fair wages, keeping the effect on the environment to a minimum and offering workers fair conditions.

Ethical clothing companies ensure that the workers producing their goods are given fair and stable wages as well as avoids the use of animal skin and damage to the surrounding environment. Workers hired by ethical clothing companies can be certain of a clean, hygienic environment without the fear of violence through forced overtime hours or low wages.

Unfortunately, relatively few people choose ethical clothing products because they can be more expensive due to the added care and attention to the environment and the workers in the industry. In turn, companies tend to be less willing to invest in ethical pieces because there are less people willing to spend money on higher priced products. However, having said that, since the disaster in Bangladesh and its high profile in the media, people are becoming further aware of the need for ethical priorities in the fashion industry. This disaster, alongside the work of The Ethical Fashion Forum which covers an expansive network of ethical professionals, work together to raise awareness for the need of ethical products and help to grow the market and audience for ethical fashion.

Ethical clothing is not all about protecting the environment and people. To offset the possibility of unethical practices earning a larger chunk of the fashion market and industry, ethical clothing is often of far better quality than its rival. This means that whilst it can appear more expensive, you are getting better quality for your money. Owner of Shirtworks, Andy Timmins, says, “Ethically made garments tend to be heavier in weight and the higher quality fabrics tend to be used.” He adds that, “Ethical suppliers can’t compete on price, so they give a better product.”

 

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Andy Timmins

The Plastic Bag Charge: Helping Wales Become Greener

How The Carrier Bag Charge Has Impacted The Environment

plastic bag chargesSince October 2011, retailers in Wales were forced to implement a charge of 5p on every carrier bag. This law included paper bags, as well as plastic carrier bags. The aim of this regulation was to change the habits of shoppers in Wales, in a bid to reduce the unnecessary consumption of carrier bags, and to encourage shoppers to re-use their existing bags.

There was some controversy surrounding this at the beginning, with critics arguing that it was unfair to force this extra charge on consumers. Critics of the law also argued that it would be impossible to enforce without extra funding to local authorities, and that they would need 100% cooperation with all retailers. However, despite the objections of some doubters, it seems that the scheme has been a resounding success.

Good Causes

As well as encouraging consumers to change their approach and to think proactively about the environment, the charges of carrier bags in Wales are channelled directly into charities such as RSPB and Keep Wales Tidy. According to an interview with The Guardian, John Griffiths - at the time, Welsh environment minister - said that the measures had raised over £800,000 for good causes that help the environment.

The fact that this law was not introduced as a traditional tax to boost government funds was seen as a major benefit, and arguably this fact has made it more acceptable for the general public.

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Andy Timmins

When to use digital printing or when to screen printing for your t-shirts

 

We are often asked what is the difference between digital and screen printing and which method should I use. You can read about screen printing and digital printing in our services pages to help give you an understanding on the two methods. But for when to use each method can be a tricky one and as always there are lots of variables that need to be looked at before making a decision and it is not always a black or white option. 

The first thing to consider is number of garments that are to be printed with your design. If you want less than 10 items then your only choice is digital as there is a minimum number of 10 for screen printing. As this is digital then there are no limits on the number of colours that we can print in the design. OK so there we have an easy answer because there is only one answer there are a few more scenarios where you have no choice and that is when you are using full colour artwork or using 6.7 or 8 spot colours on quantities of less than 100. 

gradiated-colour

Full colour artwork means we are using shades and tones, which can be a photograph but can also mean gradients of the same colour. There are times we can screen print these gradients on lower numbers but we would need to see your artwork to confirm this

Spot colours are solid colours of ink and the image on th eright shows a 3 colour example.

 

What if my design is just 1 colour and I want 10 of them? This is where we can either go the traditional way of screen printing or choose digital printing. so how do I decide? Screen printing is the most durable and is cheaper to actually print so surely this is the best option?

 

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Andy Timmins

Five Of The Best Ethical Fashion Websites

Here at Shirtworks we take our ethical code of conduct very seriously. We also know that our customers take their purchasing habits seriously, so we've put together a helpful short-list of five of the best ethical fashion websites.

1. Ms Wanda's

ms wandasThe tagline on Ms Wanda's site is 'looking good on the outside, feeling good on the inside,' and really that perfectly summarises how sustainable, ethical clothing should be. The successful 'Uber Blog' brings together a range of likeminded writers that all aim to change the world one article at a time.

Funded through advertising, voluntary donations and the sale of ethical clothing, they aim to 'clean up fashion' by raising awareness, and not just about the ethical options available but also by highlighting the damage that current fashion programmes can cause with examples such as the Bangladeshi factory collapse.

2. Style With Heart

style with heartStyle With Heart was founded by Gillian Osrin, a remarkable woman with 20 years fashion industry experience and an interesting philosophy. She says, 'it saddens me that the word 'fashion' often implies products that have a sell-by-date, designed to satisfy the latest impulses of a society that often values quantity over quality.'

The aim of Style With Heart is to bring together a selection of stunningly made clothes, jewellery and accessories that make you look and feel beautiful. However it is more than an e-commerce website, Style With Heart also offers interesting events, special offers and advice on sustainable living for anybody that's interested in ethical fashion.

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Andy Timmins

GreenEnergy: Team Building T-Shirts

When Greennergy.co.uk needed some t-shirts for a team building exercise held at Bredbury Hall Hotel and Country Club, they asked us to come up with the t-shirts.

They had 10 groups of 10 people all wanting a different colour shirt for their team, the obvious choice for the t-shirt was the Gildan GD01 and GD72 as comes in both men’s and ladies and has 21 colours to choose from.

Most of the groups wanted the same design for each individual group and then we added personal names and slogans to the backs of the shirts. Each of the groups had a different screen printed design on the front and individual names were applied on the back using our computer cut lettering system, making sure that the right sized shirt had the right name applied!

 

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Andy Timmins

Ethically Sourcing Your Materials: It’s Possible & It’s Necessary

Ethical and sustainable business is not only a moral decision, but also an economical one. Many businesses make the choice to become more ethical as a selling point, especially if their clientele is particularly concerned about the source of the products they are purchasing.

What Is Ethical Sourcing?

Ethical Sourcing means ensuring that good labour law standards are met whilst your products are being manufactured, and this includes when your materials are being created as well as when they are made into clothing.

 Many people seem to get confused about the process involved in ethics, and contrary to popular belief ethical sourcing does not have anything to do with the environment.

Ethical sourcing involves making sure your workers at all stage of the products development are provided with decent labour standards, this includes zero discrimination, a decent working age (typically 16 or over), a fair wage payment, reasonable hours and a safe and hygienic place of work.

 

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Andy Timmins

Embroidery Vs. Screen Printed T-Shirts - Which are Better?

embroidery-machine-stitching

When choosing the method that your t-shirts are going to be printed with, there is a vast variety of options, among the most popular being embroidery and screen printing.

With embroidery, thread is stitched into your custom made product, most often seen in products such as corporate wear, jackets, hats and golf shirts.

Screen printing involves a process that uses inks that are applied to a substrate. It is named screen printing because a mesh screen stencil is created for each colour in your design, through which the ink is pushed to create the finished effect of the design.

Embroidery

Pros:

  • Embroidery is perfect for customising polo shirts and corporate clothing as it offers a high quality and professional finish.
  • Embroidered t-shirts tend to last longer than screen printed ones.
  • Developments in the t-shirt printing industry have meant that machines can embroider 2-10 pieces at a time which can save a great deal on cost.

Cons:

  • Embroidery tends to be more expensive than other methods.
  • Complex imagery and small text may not appear as well represented by embroidered thread as it would by ink through screen printing.

 

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Andy Timmins

Cheap T-Shirt Printing: The Best Value?

shirtworks oxford t-shirt printingHere at Shirtworks, potential clients will sometimes tell us that they’ve had a cheaper offer for their clothing printing. We know that price is an incredibly important factor when buying a product, and we also feel that value, customer service and quality rank just as high as the end price to our customer.

This is why we look at every like for like competitor’s quote and try to beat it. There are many considerations to be made when choosing a clothing printing company, which we have detailed below. It is important to note that price is not the only factor that should be considered when choosing a printing company; the cheapest option isn’t always the best option.

 

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Andy Timmins

The Value Chain Call To Action: A Response To Bangladeshi Trauma

bangladesh call to actionOn the 24th April 2013 the Rana Plaza, an eight story commercial building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed. The accident has been viewed as the deadliest garment-factory in history as well as the deadliest accidental structural failure in modern human history. 1,190 people died in the accident with a further 1,900 people injured. The vast majority of these casualties were garment-workers with a high percentage of them being female. If certain guidelines and rulings had been in place, the accident would have been preventable.

Unfortunately this accident was not the first of its kind. In Bangladesh alone there have been other incidents of structural accidents leading to the death of many factory workers. The Tazreen factory fire killed over 110 garment workers as well ad the fire that tore through hteh dyeing mill outside Dhaka killing a further 10 workers. But there is something we can do to stop the risk of accidents such as these happening again.

The Ethical Fashion Forum covers a network of professionals, from both supply and retail, in over 130 countries with a total membership of approximately 15,000 people. They put out word for a possible Value Chain Call To Action tool and received over 300 responses from their educated members. The Value Chain Call To Action has been put together as an ongoing liaison tool between Ethical Fashion Forum members, fashion businesses, policy makers and industry stakeholders.

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Andy Timmins

We’ve Expanded our Range of Customisable Clothing

We’re always looking to expand our range of customisable clothing with new products that we think you’ll love. We’re highlighting some of our favourites here, but make sure to check out the LATEST PRODUCTS section of the website to see our latest garments as soon as they’re released!

Premier Contrast Bib Apron

premier contrast bib apron

For bar, bistro, café or coffee shop owners, our stylish customisable apron is perfect if you’d like your employees to stand out from the crowd. The apron features a block of contrasting colour, with a range of colours available, including black and red, black and lime, black and turquoise, and more!

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Andy Timmins

Screen Printing: What Makes a Good Screen?

Every tradesman knows that poor preparation and substandard equipment lead to substandard work. We have a print department mantra which is exercised each day at Shirtworks where ‘good printing starts with good screens’.

Here is some basic and not so basic information about what constitutes a good screen. There are two basic components in a screen; The frame and the mesh. The frame systems which are used at Shirtworks are Fixed frames and Self-tensioning frames.

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Andy Timmins

Softshell Jackets – From Hiking to the High Street

About Softshell Jackets

softshell jacketsSoftshell jackets are becoming increasingly popular on Britain’s high streets, and we are seeing increased interest in our range of outdoors clothing. With the recent popularisation of health, fitness and sports amongst those of all ages (due in part to the London Olympics, and upcoming Winter Olympics), activewear is experiencing a rise in popularity and many brands are booming as a result.

Outdoor Pursuits

Although the weather in the UK is quite often not the best, we have acquired an obsession with outdoor pursuits. Our incredible countryside attracts tourists from across the globe, and encourages us to get out there walking, hiking, climbing, and cycling. Britain is home to some of the most stunning mountain ranges in Europe, including the Brecon Beacons, The Peak District, The Pennines, Snowdonia, and The Grampians - among others.

According to The Guardian, the last few years have seen a huge surge in popularity of National Trust walking routes, with an increase of around 40% on downloads from the National Trust website. As well as hill walking and hiking, the UK coastal regions are also incredibly popular. With plenty of amazing coastal walks around Britain, people are attracted by the wildlife and scenery in these most beautiful areas of the country.

As a result of this obsession with the outdoors, popular brands have emerged and flourished in the British market recently. Companies such as The North Face, Regatta, and Jack Wolfskin are now competing extremely well in the market and you can see their products everywhere on the high street as well as up mountains and along coastal walking paths. Although many of these brands have a long and established history, their outdoor activewear is now more popular than ever.

 

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Andy Timmins

Customer Spotlight: The Big Bang Restaurant

Restaurant Uniform Printing

Shirtworks like to grease the wheels for local businesses by featuring our customers and friends who are in business, in and around Oxfordshire. This month our spotlight focuses on the amazing Max Mason and his fabulous restaurant, The Big Bang.

The Big Bang Restaurant is one of Oxford's most renowned feasteries, and boasts a true gastronomic experience in the heart of the City. After a decade of successful bangers and mash, this charming and unique dining experience is celebrated by locals and tourists alike.

Originally located in Jericho, The Big Bang Restaurant moved to a central location at the Oxford Castle Quarter in late 2012, enabling eccentric proprietor Max Mason to produce an array of publicity stunts, including the widely celebrated 'Oxford Beach' that appeared inland over the summer months.

Max is almost as passionate about jazz music as he is with sausages, and invites artists and trios to perform on a weekly basis at the restaurant. Max plays the welcoming host to perfection and may even regale you with a tale or two from his Navy days - apparently they still keelhaul!

Bangin' Uniforms

Max has been a customer of Shirtworks since 2005 and was quick to realise that his staff needed to stand apart from the customers by wearing some sort of uniform.

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