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Dig Doug: Inside the Pacific Textile Archive

Doug Bunting is grinning at me like a man who knows the secret of Ali Baba’s cave of wondrous treasure. He is beaming as he carefully lifts and gently places each of these meticulously cared for and curated vintage textile prints he is allowing me a private audience with. He flips over another—a blast of shimmering blues, golds and reds, as wildly psychedelic as the day the were made—some 60 years ago—leap off the thick card they were hand painted on to as if it were yesterday. He flips another and he shoots me that look again, it’s the understated look of knowing cool—you gettin’ this buddy? How’s the transmission? Five-by-five? Are you feeling the enormity of what I’ve got going on here? Can you dig it? Well, damn you Doug. I can dig it. Truly, truly, I can dig it.

Fashion Profile: Fishworks

I’ll stop short of calling him Ishmael. Lawrance “Squig” Quigley is not a character from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. But he could be. Easily. Standing tall with that beard of his, those razor sharp hazel eyes and a ferocious, ever-present intensity which hums about him constantly, I wonder if he is a benign Ahab, or a punk-rock Ishmael. With an…

Fashion Profile: MNKR BRAND & Matt Fellows

There’s an old Nick Cave song which starts, “Take a little walk to the edge of town and go across the tracks, Where the viaduct looms like a bird of doom, As it shifts and cracks.” A great eerie tune and almost the exact directions you need to follow if you want to visit Matt Fellows, originator and creative powerhouse…

#Feminism and The Protest T-shirt

There can be no question that 2018 is the year of the protest t-shirt. There is much in the world that is making us grumpy and yes, that means we’re printing it on a tee and out into the world. Protest t-shirts are not new, SpectraUSA has charted this colored history extensively, but if you are looking for a banner…

Fast As Fitness X 3050 Bi-Blend T-shirts

Emergent North Carolina based fitness disruptor Fast As Fitness is bursting onto the sport apparel market with their unique fitness and gym wear, driven by a totally fresh approach to constructing these specialist garments. The principal design goal behind Fast As is “to create a sporting garment which works harder then you do,” comments Barry Wolins, CEO of this dynamic…

Responsive Production – The Trend for Retail and Producers

The bane of modern apparel manufacturers is usually the struggle to turn dedicated production systems on a dime and create compelling, fresh lines with real market appeal which are trend responsive for their partners. As brands and their manufacturing partners have chased profitability by outsourcing to China, India and elsewhere in the East, the operational snag they often seem to…

3 Steps to buying the perfect blank T-shirt

The blank black t-shirt is the de rigeur uniform of California. A trip down the streets and beaches of LA, San Diego or San Francisco will confirm any doubts you may have about this fact. Black is the perfect shade for any gritty, smoggy city but also for the abundant creative classes in the big towns making, breaking and bringing…

Exhibition: T-shirt History

More than 100 years after its emergence as a humble item of underclothing, the t-shirt is getting its own fashion retrospective at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London, England. Tshirt history it seems, is rich, layered and very much alive after a century of evolution and concomitant refinement of the world’s favorite garment. Not only is the t-shirt the…

The Political T-shirt Meets its Match in Big Fashion

The political t-shirt is back and badder than ever and we’ve seen more than a few political t-shirts sporting powerful slogans lately. From humorous attempts to poke fun at politicians to more serious and radical slogans the protest t-shirt is clearly back in fashion “bigly.” The roots of the protest shirt aren’t hard to trace, and the modern protest shirt…

Where’s Your KISS T-shirt?

Just how relevant is your t-shirt? Shock rockers KISS think a t-shirt is pretty darned relevant after it was reported that a 2012 interview, showing them asking a journalist to remove his Iron Maiden t-shirt, went viral. The famous 70s band first insisted that he turn the Iron Maiden t-shirt inside out, and then simply got him a freshly minted…

The Feminist T-shirt of 2017

We already know how political the t-shirt can be. It transforms its wearer into a rolling billboard of political opinion, humor, rants, graphics and just about anything else we can cram into the space on the front of a blank tee. After a year of giddy of politics like 2017, the politics of t-shirts have by no means subsided, they…

Beyoncé’s Balenciaga T-Shirt

When you think air travel you probably think, scruffy t-shirt, sweats and comfy shoes. Anything really, which will you cozy as you squish into your seat in and pretend you are not trapped inside a steel tube next to hundreds of complete strangers hurtling through the stratosphere on your way to… wherever. The t-shirt is the staple in this air-ordeal…

Fashion Profile: Mexicool & Robby Vient Alcaraz

“It doesn’t have to be profound,” quips Robby Vient Alcaraz, the design powerhouse behind the Mexi/Cali lifestyle brand Mexicool, “But it’s got to be clever.” And clever it is with Robby’s often biting humor shining through a truly original and handsomely crafted range of sassy apparel and accessories, teasing us from the cultural intersection where tongue-in-cheek Mexican humor slams headfirst…

Grab Winter by the… Long Sleeve T-shirt

Are you looking for Fall and Winter options for your layered look? Sleeve it to SpectraUSA. The most under-rated garment in your closet is, without question, the long sleeve t-shirt. Given any summer day it’s probably not going to get a second look but come fall and winter this little wonder becomes the centerpiece for the perfect layered look and…

The Legend of Baron Raglan

Have you thanked your lucky starts for Field Marshal FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, the First Baron Raglan today? If you haven’t you probably should. Just stop whatever you are doing and take a moment, possibly even a knee if you feel it necessary. The debt of gratitude you owe him is enormous, the moment you take should be solemn yet…

Head-to-Head at the 2017 SGIA Expo: Anajet & Bi-Blend

The 2017 SIGA Expo is being held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention center in beautiful New Orleans, Louisiana. The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association or SIGA, is a global non-profit organization with the primary goal of assisting imaging professionals with the know-how and tools to succeed in their craft. Always a feature at these exhibitions, the knowledgeable team from Anajet…

3100 Cotton Perfection Profile

The SpectraTees 3100 Cotton Perfection is the ultimate in cotton t-shirt design, period. There is no room for improvement in any aspect of the garment and any claim to the contrary is an excursion into over-design, whimsy and Lilly-gilding. But there are a million different kinds of t-shirts out there, appealing to ever shape, size, taste and distraction one can…

A Journey into SpectraUSA’s Premium Private Label

Custom made. Private label. Bespoke. Made to order. Tailor-made. The apparel industry hails its abundance of customization services and fulfillment practices by many different names, unsurprisingly, they don’t always mean the same thing. By and large, private label manufacturing involves the creation of a singular range of specialty garments, made to order for a particular brand or label and, crucially,…

Factoring a Factoring Company into Your Business

A common practice for many apparel and printing concerns, factoring is the process of selling-on receivable invoices to a third party — usually a factoring company. The factoring company then collects the monies owed from the apparel company’s customers.   Why Would you use a Factoring Company? There are two advantages to this kind of financing. Firstly, customers can be…

White House Will Not Scrap NAFTA

What began as a scare for NAFTA adherents earlier this year when the Trump administration threatened to scrap the entire agreement seems to have abated recently. As some in the textile industry are breathing a sigh of relief, the current message from the White House seems to indicate that it will not scrap NAFTA, with the administration’s new direction offering…

Profile: The Bi-blend t-shirt

The much vaunted Bi-blend t-shirt or, for those in the know–the SpectraUSA 3050 Bi-blend–is a benchmark t-shirt design from Spectra’s range of apparel and easily a “favorite t-shirt,” from the novice to the connoisseur t-shirt collector. But why the “no-brainer,” “go-to” quality of this garment? What makes it so special? In a word, it’s the hardest working t-shirt in fashion,…

Profile: The Roughneck 2001

The Roughneck is singular in the Spectra Apparel lineup, they do not make another t-shirt quite like it. In fact, I’d take a guess that nobody does. This is a t-shirt which hearkens back through the murky history of t-shirt design’s roots; when a fledgling print and promotions industry was first finding its feet in America and the only thing…

The History of T-shirts 3: The T-Shirt Revolution

From the earliest time, the T-shirt has been the world’s favorite and most practical intimate garment. We’ve watched as our favorite item of underclothing has grown up, shed both buttons and Victorian sensibilities, gone swimming, joined the army, headed off to work and helped to open a few cold ones on the weekend. It has clothed kings, criminals, astronauts, presidents…

What’s Your T-Shirt’s Carbon-Karma?

For all of the amazing utility of the cotton t-shirt, it is still a knitted cotton garment subject to the forces which define the modern global economy. Importantly, there are real sustainability concerns with cotton production and farming, with the bulk of the world’s cotton coming from China and, although the crop doesn’t fly first class, it does still need…

The Nerd Pocket T-shirt: Homage and Design

What’s a Nerd Pocket T-Shirt? What is a Nerd Pocket T-shirt and why should you have one? To start with, when you wear a nerd pocket t-shirt you are not just putting on a t-shirt, you are taking on an ethos and making a political statement. Too heavy for fashion you say? Too much of a commitment? Read on dear…