So what has sushi got to do with t shirts? Well, I’m a connoisseur of both and believe it or not, I can draw some similarities between the two. But in all honesty, I’m hungry at the moment and I need to write a blog post.
So here are 3 tips on how to create a great t shirt label, derived from the art of making sushi:
1. Only use the best ingredients
Sushi : Ask anyone who loves Sushi like I do -when its fresh, it’s the best. Unless you’re trying to poison someone, sushi must be made with the freshest ingredients. You need to get your seafood from a trustworthy supplier . Make sure that anything fresher… is still in the ocean.
T shirts : Great tees in terms of quality also has the best ingredients. The fabric chosen has to be from a supplier that has a great reputation for delivering quality.
Everyone has a t shirt that has become an “old faithful” – it’s most likely that your favourite tee is made from 100% combed cotton, preshrunk and has minimal dye-loss. The characteristics that makes these t shirts so favourable have been planned through fabric engineering and has undergone testing to predict the dimensional stability and comfort.
NB. To determine the fabric quality, do a few wash tests. Here are some guidelines:
- there shouldn’t be more than 3 % shrinkage for natural fabrics such as cotton (no shrinkage for man-made fabrics such as polyester)
- the colour should not run or fade
- the garment should not become thinner or lose fibres
- the garment should not twist (the side-seams should remain on the side of the garments and parallel to each other)
2. Preparation should by done by a trained professional
Sushi : Chefs from China and Japan roll and arrange there sushi according to their own styles, and they spend years learning the craft of sushi-making. The fact is that sushi prepared by a professional, tastes better and is more satisfying.
T shirts : Stating the obvious – you’re more likely to create a successful brand when something is made professionally and according to certain standards . A good clothing manufacturer must have employees that are educated and skilled to ensure good appearance/hanger appeal of the end product. There must be a quality system in place to ensure that the products are constructed according to benchmarks. So if you’re outsourcing your clothing production in South Africa, ask if your CMT is Woolworths, Truworths or Edcon approved.
NB. Problems that may occur when no production quality system is in place:
- skew stitching
- loose threads
- seam puckering / ripples around the fussy areas like the collars or zips
- wrong size numerals in wrong garments
- different colours on different panels of the garments / shading
- loose buttons
3. Presentation can count in your flavour
Sushi : In Japanese culture, sushi is considered to be an art form because its appearance is just as important as how it tastes. If they wanted, they could have just chucked some raw fish, seaweed, rice and other ingredients on your plate and you would need to figure it out. Instead, each piece of sushi is like a little gift, neatly wrapped. Its a food that looks interesting and that has to be eaten in a certain way; dipped in soy with a bit of wasabi.. for those who’d like some heat. The fact that it’s presented so well, allows it to be retailed at enormous profit margins.
T shirts : T shirts can also be dollied-up to give them a higher sense of value. Clever finishing in forms of printing, labelling, embroidery and packaging can add lots of value to a t shirt. A R20 spent on these extra processes can add up to a R100 in perceived value to your product. So if you’re planning to create a successful t shirt line, you must put careful consideration into the presentation. Even a t shirt of the highest quality can appear to be cheap if not presented properly.
NB. Here are a few ways to increase the perceived value of your t shirts:
- use swing-tags that tells the story of your brand
- use good labelling, preferably woven but printed will do as well
- have washing instructions, either printed or labelled
- unless for promotional purposes, NEVER print your website address on the garment where it’s visible. Your t shirt shouldn’t be a billboard after you’ve sold it as a fashion product
- Embroidery when done properly and on a suitable product, always gives a quality appearance