August 15, 2018

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.

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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 eye patch Squig would be a dead ringer for the late Jack O’Neill. He is bearded like a muscle, tanned like familiar, comfortable old leather, he is taught, ready and aware, a big old Barracuda of a man. The picture is so complete that I catch myself trying to look up the back of his neck, behind the ear, to see if he has barnacles there. Squig is a long-standing member of the informal Admiralty around Dana Point and of the more than just ”Highly Regarded” apparel brand, Fishworks. He has been a waterman since before most of us were chewing crayons and his salty predisposition is unquestionably the driving force in his life. You need to understand that the brand name ”Fishworks” is not just another apparel label from the West coast, it is unequivocally the best possible characterization of a man who is most likely 3 parts fish himself, and who is probably keeping a secret set of gills stashed away beneath that luxurious beard of his. Lawrance Quigley is a force of nature, like a high tide, or the migration of whales, and the gear he’s building at Fishworks is just like him: Tough, proud, almost eternal, functional and just deadly cool enough. Welcome to Fishworks ye landlubbers!

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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 behind MNKR BRAND. Nestled secretly between Los Angeles’ Chinatown and Mission Junction, within an artist’s community in a reclaimed and re-purposed Pabst brewery lies the snug hidey hole of magical things where Matt Fellows’ cauldrons of creative genius never comes off the boil. MNKR (pronounced ”Mon-i-ker”) BRAND is the brainchild and first love of Matt Fellows, a truly humble, sharp-witted, determined and devastatingly creative artist living in LA. You might describe his work as unique, singular, distinctive, sui generis, one-of-a-kind, inimitable, instantly recognizable and clearly honed by the edges of time, practice and practice and practice and practice in perfecting his lines, mistakes and lessons learned, and that pervasive, unmistakable, enormous and obvious love for his craft. In short, Matt Fellows makes one king-hell of a t-shirt.

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#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 year for the protest tee, this one has got to be it for protest movements, social unrest, disgruntled folks around the world and a plethora of protest t-shirts to write it all down on. And, if you’ve been paying any attention to social media, you’ll know that the protest t-shirt slogan of our time is the one-word misogyny killer: #feminist.

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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 sports apparel company. The entire line of Fast As products are built to breathe, endure, take the strain and come back swinging. Their recent partnership with SpectraUSA introduced Fast As Fitness fans to Spectra’s proprietary bi-blend technology behind their range of 3050 Bi-blend t-shirts, the perfect compliment to Fast As’ enduring sports gear.

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The Super Tee vs Connoisseur Class T-shirts: What’s the difference?

We live in a time when the hype around something is often more important than the thing itself. From presidents on twitter to protest t-shirts on movie stars the media noise is relentless. Its hard to make sense of what has substance and what is just well”_ more of the same old noise. Another premium brand (guess which) is launching, yet another, overpriced t-shirt-a $65 t-shirt no less-and they seem to be accruing quite a waiting list in the process, according to some reports. No, there’s no clever print, no celebrity signature, not golden thread on these tees, just a plain cotton t-shirt. That’s right. It is starting to look like the steadily-growing waiting list is one hurdle fashion acolytes will have to deal with in their pursuit of the latest “Super Tee.”

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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 hit is inflexibility and the slow turnaround times for fashion production lines located outside of the Americas. Although this strategy was geared towards profitability, what has emerged from it is a market which values responsive production partners, giving retailers the ability to ”tune into” an emerging trend, allowing for both agile and rapid production.

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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 new stuff to life in studios, skate parks, line ups and backstreets across the State. Picking the perfect blank t-shirt is not as easy as you may first think, so we did the grunt work for you to make your search for a blank tshirt that much easier.

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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 world’s favorite garment, but t-shirt history also teaches that it is the world’s most democratic item of clothing in that, it can and is, worn by almost everyone, from every sector of society. Democratic t-shirts may be, but they have also attracted the interest and efforts of the icons of fashion design, as well as powerful social voices alike. From legendary British designers Vivian Westwood through Katharine Hamnett’s powerful protest tees of the 1980s, the t-shirt has done its duty as billboard, advertising platform, and fashion statement and the T-shirt: Cult- Culture-Subversion exhibition aims to pay tribute to this incredible printed, patterned and textured tshirt history.

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The Classic Cali Retro T-shirt and the Summer Color Explosion

The snowballs have been tossed, the snowmen built and”_ unbuilt. Logs burned, s’mores s’mored, carols sung, noses nipped by old Jack Frost and at the dirty tail-end of winter there’s not much more to say besides a hearty ”C’mon Summer!!” And not just any summer mind, a truly Spectralicious summer filled with short sleeve tees and tanks, glorious sunshine and and easy summer smiles all day long. To get you in the mood for our favorite season we have created three unique new colors for our retro t-shirt range of classic American t-shirts to help you ease out of those soggy, muddy boots and into something with a few more summer colors.
Spectra’s 2100 range of shirts is built around a traditional, historically American retro t-shirt specification. After all, the t-shirt was born and perfected here and our homage to this incredible fashion heritage is clear in ever inch of this North American designed and created masterpiece. From the American-made yarns, to the 20 singles ring-spinning process we use create this uniquely soft and durable garment ensures a great fit and the ultimate softness under the touch. Noticeable thicker than other weaker ”industry standard” t-shirts, the 2100 Retro ring-spun tee offers the wearer all the comfort of the t-shirt that was ”good enough for grandad” with all of the advances of modern technology which finish this garment in ways which we know grandad would applaud.

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