Connecting People and Planet with a T-Shirt? It can be done!
At Greenheart, we recently re-designed our shirts. Here are six steps we used to create the ultimate t-shirt!
1. Start with the why
One of the first things you’ll want to do in creating the ultimate shirt is to reflect on why you want to create a shirt in the first place! It seems like a no-brainer, but this question will help define the scope of your project. At Greenheart, our mission is to connect people and planet to create conscious global leaders. We wanted to convey this through the redesign of our shirts in both the look and production. Whether you want to sell your shirt or give it away for free as swag, you’ll want to make sure that you first know why you want to create your shirt–this will guide your next moves.
2. Tell your story in Design
You’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but when people look at your shirt, that’s the first thing they see. With Greenheart’s shirt, we wanted to tell our story through design. We invited our Greenheart community to submit designs with the prompt of illustrating a connection between people and planet. After receiving over 100 designs and completing two rounds of judging, we selected a design by our talented Greenheart alumnus, Ahmed, of Jordan. He created a design that perfectly captured our mission visually.
3. Tell your story in production
How and where the Greenheart shirt was made was just as important to us as what was on it– we wanted to reflect our mission in both design and principle. Although we were able to find organic cotton shirts and fair-trade v-neck shirts through previous manufactures we had worked with, we were unable to find a shirt that was both v-neck, fair trade, and organic! Through our partnership with Chicago Fair Trade, we were recommended Work + Shelter, a fair trade company that economically empowers Indian women by providing them with fair wages and job training. Through this partnership, Work + Shelter committed to fabric sourcing, graphic printing, and manufacturing of the entire order. This ensured we would be able to maintain our commitment to fair trade and sustainable practices.
“Because of this order from Greenheart, we were able to bring on more women to our fabulous lady family in India! At WORK+SHELTER nothing makes us happier than fulfilling our mission, and working with partners like Greenheart that share our values binds us to a cause that’s even bigger than the distance between the U.S. and India. Thank you!”
— Theresa VanderMeer, Work + Shelter Founder
4. Embrace trial and error
In staying aligned with our shirt designer, we wanted the globe graphics to extend the width of the shirt so that when two or more people came together while wearing the garment, it would portray the connection of people and planet. (See what he did there?) Most printers use a screenprint of a standard width on a shirt. Through Work + Shelter, we were able to custom print to the edges of the fabric because they were cutting the fabric themselves. After many test rounds we were able to get the globes in the most flattering position. It took some time to get it right, and we are glad we worked it out!
5. Practice patience and Flexibility
As having the entire shirt manufactured from start to finish is a first for Greenheart, we had to make a lot of adjustments to make sure our shirts turned out just right. Timelines were pushed back, and we had to troubleshoot for departments in need. Be sure to factor space for the unexpected into your production timeline, and be ready to flex your adaptability muscles on the road to making your mission-driven shirt.
6. Rock it with Pride
After everything’s said and done and your story has been told, you can rock your shirt with pride! Check out our t-shirt Designer, Ahmed, rocking his shirt!