It’s been a while since I last wrote. That blog came from the beautiful co-working space in Ubud, Bali, called Hubud. I got back to London in April after 3 beautiful months in Bali. It was not a smooth landing. Cycling through south London made me aware of the anger here, something I hadn’t experienced in my time in Bali. And the weather has been appalling, cold and wet. And as I work outside, as a trader at Borough market, I am deeply affected by the weather. I didn’t expect to be wearing a puffer jacket in June. And the whole Brexit thing was a very strange experience indeed. So it was never going to be easy coming back but I did’t expect to feel quite so down.
Having said that, it didn’t take me too long to raise my mood and to slip back into London life. One of the first things I did though was to hire a business coach. I played Ultimate in Bali with Derek Loudermilk. He has a podcast called The Art of Adventure, in which he interviews people from all walks of life, who are in some way living life as an adventure. He does some really inspiring podcasts. So after an initial Skype call with him, he agreed to coach me, to help me produce a range of men’s organic casual shirts. Having never started a business before I figured I should find myself a guide. And Derek is really keen to help manifest these shirts. He loves his casual shirts, I think he has quite a few.
I then needed to find out how to make these shirts. Whilst in Bali I discovered Cock & Bull Menswear, an organic menswear company based in east London that make all their clothes in the UK. I had been thinking to make mine in India. Through the Ethical Fashion Forum, of which I am a member, I found a company in Mumbai. Unfortunately their minimum order is 1200 pieces. Making them in the Uk is appealing for several reasons. The production can be very small. It’s good to think big but it’s also good to start small. And I want to be able to meet the people who are going to produce my work.
I rang Phil from Cock & Bull for some advice on producing my shirts in the UK. Phil told me where he gets his fabric from, who his printers are and the tailor they use. He was very helpful and supportive, so thank you Phil.
Thankfully, the flat screen printers, Allan Williams Textile Printers, is in Deptford, south east London. That’s about a 20 minute cycle ride from my home. So one Monday morning I cycled there to see John Allan and Pete Williams in their railway arch. When I showed John my designs, he could see immediately that I hadn’t considered the print process and he advised me to expand the designs and also to consider the negative space. I am really grateful for that advice, it allowed me to open up the designs. With the flower of life one, I broke up the background structure which allows it to float. So the background is now the shirt’s base colour. This makes it much easier to print. I decided to go with 2 designs. The other is based on the structure of the flower of life but I use the negative space between the petals. I see it as a kind of cosmic sound system, with speakers floating in space, magnetically linked through the power of sacred geometry. I’m going to do 2 different colour versions of each design, so there will be four shirt designs in all.
I need to produce four pre-production samples that will show what the shirts will look like. They will have to be digitally printed and unfortunately they won’t be made from organic cotton. I will be funding this project through Kickstarter, so I will need them for the my video presentation.
This digital printing will be done in Edinburgh. I found BeFab Be Creative online. It is run by two sisters, Solii and Zoë. They have been very helpful to me and were the cheapest I could find. I am currently waiting for some samples to come from them.
I also found Atelier Kitoko via an online search. They produce pre-production samples as well as manufacturing. And they’re just a half hour bike ride from me. I went to meet Benjamin in his delightful studio in Woolwich. I was impressed by him and the place and I love his coffee table which showcased some of his work and includes an exquisitely carved wooded chess set. There is an air of quality about him and his work that really appeals. I know my shirts will be well made.
I am now in the process of designing my Kickstarter campaign. As well as the four organic casual shirts there will be other rewards such as an organic T-shirt, a mug and a sticker. I have written a script for the video and now I need to plan the video. I want to get a group together and video us having a party in different spots around London. If you want to be in the video or if you can help in anyway, please contact me.
Also, if you want to join me on this journey, please like Vinaka Clothing on Facebook.