Not content with just designing greeting cards as my creative outlet, I have always had designing clothes in the back of my mind. It makes sense, right? I’m constantly complaining about how the best clothing doesn’t seem to have been made in fat sizes, so as the old advert would say: “hate something, change something, make something better” – and the first step is starting a clothing brand. I’ve come up with concepts and designs, filled notebook with slogans and prints and even gone as far as researching manufacturers. It never pans out, because there are always one of my ‘rules’ that I have set myself that I can’t seem to fulfil – and if you can’t do something properly, then why do it at all? I spent week after week trawling through manufacturers, and it was so disheartening to put so much effort into sourcing a brand to then find out that their sizes were too small, or they couldn’t accommodate another of my requests. I decided to put together a list that I would send to manufacturers from the beginning, so that they knew exactly what I required of them and we didn’t waste any time going back and forth before finding out that they weren’t willing to work with me on one of my deal breakers. Here is my list – its short, but vital!
Of course, this is a given. In my advert I specified “if you do not do plus sizes, I do not want to work with you” because realistically – what’s the point in making something awesome if everybody can’t enjoy it? It is vital that any brand who works with me is just as ready to sell to a size 6 as they are to sell to a size 36.
I do not want my clothes to be made in a sweat shop. I made it clear to manufacturers that I want a proven record of the ethical treatment of all workers in their clothing factories including fair wages and appropriate rest time.
Mindful of sensory issues
Another big one to me is flat seams, to make things easier for my customers who have sensory issues. This means having no raised seams inside the clothing, and also I would want the label information printed inside the t-shirt rather than on a sewn-in label. I also want my manufacturer to be adaptive and offer wide necks on t-shirts and not use any buttons.
I know existing clothing manufacturers and people who work in designing clothes already will be rolling their eyes as they read this list – because everybody wants the perfect brand, right? And this list probably seems so unrealistic and naive. But the way I see it, if I cannot do something properly, I am not going to do it at all. Manufacturers – the ball is in your court! Time to step up your game and make some awesome clothing.