It's true, it really is. Not that it's a bad thing. First things first, though, I'm not talking about owning a ready to wear or couture line, I'm talking about high fashion's younger sibling; a clothing line that focuses on graphic tee shirts and that category of clothing. Believe me, I'm not one to complain about trendy tee shirts or band tank tops since I sport these with high waisted shorts and wedges very, very often. Lately, though, it seems that everyone feels like they can get extra income if they throw together a "logo" on a tee shirt and sell it, claiming that they own a label, and that everyone should pick up a shirt. Some people do a good job of branding their shirts, making interesting logos with mass appeal that are both wearable and unique. These aren't the people I'm complaining about at all. Rather, I'm just ranting about those people who have five extra minutes and throw on some quote they made up on a ugly cotton tee shirt, claim that it's their summer line and sell it to people who don't realize how hard graphic design really is. There are some designers who have studied long and hard to be able to create their own line. Take Jac Vanek for example, her clothing line started with bracelets and has now expanded greatly; with hard work and a lot of effort. Jac, however, also received a degree in graphic design; she knows exactly what she is doing. I think it's awesome that more people, especially in the music industry, are getting into fashion. I think that they both go hand in hand and I love the idea of supporting some of my favorite bands by wearing their lines. My only problem is that if you're going to start a label, make it stand out, make it unique. Have a vision and run with it, full force, no matter what. My favorite (not ready to wear) label as of right now is probably Unif. You can go on their site and see immediately what they stand for. Unif has a clear theme of "screw the world, I worship Satan, only not really, and I don't give a crap about what anyone thinks. I like black, I like living with one foot in hell, and I like dressing well, thank you."
Here are some tips for people who want to start a line;
- If you have a vision, go for it full force.
If you want your label to sell, you need to separate yourself from everyone else. You want your label to scream, peace and love? Leave the peace signs at home, instead you could screen print a picture that sets the mood without coming right out and literally saying PEACE AND LOVE. Maybe it's a double exposure image of a field of daisies and a woman sitting near a window with her eyes closed, with a crown of daisies on her head and her long flowing hair covering her shoulders. Maybe, hopefully, it isn't eve something that cliché. Graphic Shirts don't all have to look the same; be original.
This can be hard to do once more and more people start buying your shirts, or whatever it is your selling. At first, however, customizing your shirts and clothing is a good way to make everything original. Whether it is hand dyed tank tops or cut up tee shirts, adding something hand done to a mass printed shirt is a fashionable way of making your clothing different. Adding studs and bleach or distressing is also a sure fire way to appeal to the masses without looking mass produced.
- Make sure you have a theme
Let's be honest. I love dreamcatchers, but if I see one more clothing line that has a dreamcatcher shirt and their label has nothing to do with Native American spirituality or anything that is related to the dreamcatcher, I will probably punch a baby. Again, look at Unif or Jac Vanek or even Wildfox Couture; these labels are all successful because they have a vision or theme and pull it off so, so, so well. Make an inspiration board; see what you like, what inspires you and USE IT. Don't design shirts for the hell of it; make something original that people want to wear, that you would want to wear. Most of all, make something you're proud to share.
- Don't be afraid to step out of the damn box!!
No one said your label or line has to only be shirts. Customize shorts and hoodies, make leggings or skirts. Be different.
All in all, this was way longer than I intended, but I guess it's good to put my anger to use! Anyway, here are some of my favorite looks from Unif.