Cotton Blog

t-shirts, fashion, stuff...

Archive for May 2011

FizzyT, May 31st, 2011

Finding sustainable fabrics and producing garments as ethically as possible is an ongoing challenge. Costs, materials and environmental impact are at the heart of every venture, and producers are constantly looking for new and innovative ideas to increase production and efficiency. New fabrics to replace the highly labour intensive cotton are  tried and tested, with varying degrees of success.

One of the most interesting ideas I have heard of in a long time has come out of the University of Arts in London, where they have been experimenting with growing fibres of cellulose from a mixture of green tea and sugar, and a few microbes thrown in for good measure.

Bacteria Jacket!

Researcher Suzanne Lee says “The bacteria are feeding on the sugar nutrients in the liquid, so they’re spinning these tiny nano-fibres of pure cellulose” What you end up with is a sheet of fibres which can be wrapped around and will adhere to itself as it dries.

One slight problem, however. The material dissolves in water, giving you perhaps a slightly unfair advantage if you happen to be entering a wet t-shirt competition.  Still, the success raises the possibilities for future innovations using bacteria to “grow” fabrics and fibres. Already a company in Australia are making fishing rods out of (really long?) carrots, and plans are afoot to grow your own furniture. For now,  I might stick to bunging my tea bags in the compost bin!

FizzyT, May 30th, 2011

Beads n' Bits!

A great thing to do to an old t-shirt is to chop it up. T-shirt fabric has a great habit of turning in  and hanging nicely down at the edges when it’s been chopped, and this ready rats-tailed number from Topshop is a fine example of what can happen when you get jiggy with the scissors. A great little piece in its own right with a lovely print featuring some very pretty beading, it also serves to show you how to update an old t-shirt and breathe new life into old clothes. This is a perfect piece of festival wear, but also a great source of inspiration. Find an old tee, and get snipping!

FizzyT, May 29th, 2011

Is that Bruce Springsteen?

The whisperings that surrounded President Obama’s birthplace prompted him eventually to publicise a copy of his birth certificate, stating that he was born in the U.S. state of Hawaii in 1961. The anti Obama campaigners had been branding his presidency illegal on the back of allegations that he is not a natural U.S. citizen. However, with the whisperings refusing to go away, an increasingly irritated Obama said there was no way he could walk around with his birth certificate plastered on his forehead. The solution, according to his deputy campaign manager was to have copies of the extended birth certificate printed onto mugs and t-shirts for his supporters to wear. The t-shirts feature the slogan “Born in the USA” and are a light-hearted response to a long spate of Obama bashing.

Cynics have branded it a PR exercise, asking why did he cover up his origins for so long, and why did he spend so much money refusing to let the certificate be seen in the first place.

As far as conspiracy theories go, it’s not really up there with the whole fake moon landings, is it? Still, it’s a great way to refute an allegation. T-shirt for Ryan Giggs, anyone?

FizzyT, May 28th, 2011

Gang leaders in Mexico are said to have inspired a new wave of  gangsta fashion. Polo shirts by Ralph Lauren are the drug traffikers garment of choice, and street kids are buying knock off imitations, desperate to emulate their villainous heroes.  The dubious trend was first spotted in 2010, and has followed the fortunes of various drug barons and their ups and downs. Iconic t-shirt moments have been  inspiring a generation, such as the arrest of ‘the capo Edgar Valdez Villarreal, aka La Barbie, who was brought before the press wearing an immovable smirk and one of the shirts in green‘.

Naturally the authorities are slightly worried about the sort of role models the youth are choosing. Wanting to grow up to be a crime lord is akin to aspiring to be a WAG but without the hair extensions. Whether the Ralph Lauren brand are concerned remains to be seen, although I would imagine even one hundred hardened Mexican criminals couldn’t cause as much damage as Daniella Westbrook single-handedly did at Burberry.

FizzyT, May 27th, 2011

The pioneer of slogan t-shirts is designer and campaigner Katharine Hamnett. Back in the 80’s, inspired by a Buddhist exhibition, Hamnett produced the first in what was to be a series of t-shirts promoting various ideas and messages. “Choose Life” quickly gained popularity as not only a statement, but also a fashion item, and the idea snowballed. Hamnett is keen to point out that although the slogan was appropriated by an anti abortion group in the States, this was not her intention at all. Choose Life was to do with freedom, peace and fluffy bunny rabbits. Hence the words were printed in big black letters, clear enough to be seen in photographs. And the idea has stuck ever since.

Perhaps the most famous wearers of the first Hamnett t-shirts were Wham! Who can forget them jumping around on stage with their tees, trousers rolled up and incredible hi-lights? Hamnett’s tees have a certain retro feel to them these days, but her messages are as contemporary as ever.

FizzyT, May 26th, 2011

A lovely little t-shirt here today, from the hilarious Snorgtees. One of those cutesome but funny numbers that will keep the chuckles going a long time.

When it comes to choosing t-shirt slogans, you can go from the bizarre to the out and out ridiculous. I find the ones which work best are often the simplest, like this one.

Aw, how cute and spikey!

Although, you can die laughing with something like this, again kind of simple but cracks me up every time.

Spanish Lesson?

And finally, if all else fails, just go for a good, old fashioned zombie t-shirt!

Zombie-tastic!

FizzyT, May 25th, 2011

Mintees is a brilliant design forum, where you can rate, share and buy various t-shirt designs. It’s one of those sites you have to keep going back to for inspiration and to check out the newest designs, as well as rate the ones you like the best. There are some amazing pieces of artwork, and also some simple, yet clever motifs and images. I love this one, entitled “Papernauts“, posted at the weekend by Moulin Bleu, a classic and brilliantly thought out t-shirt design. Take a look, you’ll keep on going back again and again.

FizzyT, May 24th, 2011

Super (injunction) Man!

Until approximately a month ago, I don’t think anyone really cared what Ryan Giggs got up to in his own time. However, following yesterday’s grand unveiling of what is being touted as Britains’ worst kept secret, we are all allowed to snigger and say “I told you so”. A lot. Had the threads of secrecy not been pulled so tightly around the lurid allegations that Giggsy got  jiggy with a Big Brother contestant, it would have garnered a little paragraph in the tabloids and then disappeared, just another footballer  and his over excitable tackle. Not exactly anything new there, move along people.

But the most super of injunctions has led to an internet uprising. How dare the rich be able to get away with whatever they like? Thus followed the biggest cyber man hunt ever; to be fair, we haven’t got much going on in our little lives now the Royal Wedding is over, and the whisperings of who it might be is the most fun we’ve had in ages. Of course, now it’s a bit of an anti-climax; Giggs has shot himself in the foot by trying to prevent what is already common knowledge. His lawyers have potentially lost themselves a glut of celebrity clients, all seeking to cover up their indiscretions, and the boss is free to let his creative self go and make a wonderful t-shirt of it all.

Maybe the saddest thing, however, is that nobody comes out of it looking very good. Not Giggs, nor his alleged bit on the side, not the lawyers nor the people sniping over the social networking sites to see who it is. Maybe if we were a bit more like the French, and oh so discreetly turned a blind eye, it wouldn’t even be news at all. But then we wouldn’t be able to make wonderful t-shirts about it, would we. And where’s the fun in that!

FizzyT, May 23rd, 2011

Once upon a time, there was a Royal Wedding, where a beautiful but lowly girl married a handsome (ish) prince, who luckily hadn’t inherited his fathers ears. But no-one really cared about the happy couple very much, so they went to Wales. All that everybody ever remembered about the big day was the shapely bottom of the brides’ sister and this incredible hat worn by a princess with absolutely no taste…….

……….Luckily, the princess had a highly developed sense of humour, and a heart almost as big as the hat itself. So she sole her hat on ebay for a massive eighty thousand pounds, and gave all the money to little children.

And they all lived happily ever after. Well, apart from the poor sucker who bought that revolting hat. Turns out it was cursed you see, and whoever sets it on their head, is doomed to look a total nutter.

FizzyT, May 22nd, 2011

Of course on of the easiest ways to revitalise your old t-shirts is to chop the bottom off and make it into a crop top. I say easiest, but there’s a lot of preparation involved before you dig out your scissors. Lots of sit ups, healthy food, ejecting of crisps and an all painful fitness regime, lasting several weeks are an essential part of the preparation for your crop top. Otherwise you just look tubby, and like your t-shirt’s shrunk. Digging out an old tee and chopping off the bottom takes all of a minute.

Take a look at Girl’s Aloud member, Sarah Harding, who shows you how it should be done. In an old Run DMC tee she looks toned and fit and marvellous. But remember, only go for the snip if you are ab fab NOT ab flab!