In today’s world everything is comfortably connected, anything available within seconds – at least we would think so. When we started our search for a responsible and competent vendor for the supply, processing and printing of t-shirts, things turned out to be a bit different.
Research – wear, wash, feel
There is, indeed, an abundance of suppliers, but there are considerable differences in the details. The following aspects were important to us during our research:
- Premium quality fabrics with pleasant wearing comfort and classically tailored cuts
- Large prints, colorfast and detailed, processed expertly
- Sustainability, as well as ecological and ethical harmlessness
It is pretty much impossible to make an educated decision, based on the pictures and descriptions in the respective catalogs. Therefore, we went about it as pragmatic as possible and simply ordered a broad selection of t-shirts that fit our initial requirements.
Next was the “feel test”. How do the shirts fit? How do the different fabrics feel to the touch, on the skin?
Naturally, nobody likes to wear new clothes unwashed, however the first wash is usually also “the moment of truth” to see whether the fabrics keep their fit and look. To ensure that our shirts will not lose their fit and feel, they were subject to a stress test as we washed them – oh dear! – without observing the care instructions (we washed them too hot and even put them in the dryer!). We wanted to know how much the fabric can take, how much shrinkage occurs and which printing technique survives the ordeal best.
The results were partly very surprising, sometimes completely understandable (care instructions DO MAKE SENSE! Please observe :)) and extremely helpful during the selection process. Finally we knew which shirts we wanted to us and thus also had a pre-selection of possible suppliers.
With that, off to the next step…
The best printing technique – a subjective assessment
Flex-, flock-, sublimation-, silk screen- or DTG (Direct-to-Garment)-printing – the list of options is as diverse as the expert opinions and recommendations regarding usage and quality. Again, the practicable approach paid off here. After stress tests, sample prints and process of elimination based on feasibility, in the end, screen print turned out to be our favorite printing technique.
As our motives are intricate and multicolored, preparations for (silk) screen print are a bit more elaborate (creation of individual stencils / screens per color is necessary), but by printing directly on and into the fabric, the resulting print is very delicate. Additionally, resistance to color loss during washing and preservation of color brilliance are excellent. The whole process might sound tedious and we probably could have done it differently or faster, but the efforts helped us gain further experience – totally worth it!We are very happy with our tees – and we very much hope you will love them too!