I Made a T-Shirt Collection
Some time in the not-so-distant past, I decided to design a t-shirt collection. I’d heard about a factory called Teemill on the Isle of Wight where clothing was sustainably printed and distributed on demand, and where illustrators could create their own collections using eco-friendly materials and processes. The dream!
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And then for some reason - I suppose because I had a million other things to do - I decided to hold off. I wrote it on a Post-it note with the rest of my ‘future ideas’, which I then spent another few months side-eyeing before realising it would be a really long time (if ever) that I would have ‘enough time’ to do any of them. So should I forget all about them and accept the limitations of this mortal coil? Never! Instead, I planned out my first three designs, ready for their eventual day in the sun. And today, my friends, is that day - the longest day of the year, and the launch of my debut solstice collection with my new brand Papaver.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know I’m really into seasonal living. Amidst the chaos of life, tuning into the rhythms of nature has always been the most powerful way for me to slow everything down, de-stress, process thoughts and appreciate the magic in the everyday. I think seasonal living is so valuable that I’m writing my next book about it (due Sept 2024) so it made sense that this clothing collection would also follow the rhythms of the year. This first collection features three designs celebrating the heat and high energy of the summer solstice:
Lunar Satsuma - My most popular card and print design reimagined for your wardrobe, the phases of the moon in juicy satsuma slices.
Sand Lizard - One of the UK’s rarest reptiles and the ultimate sun worshipper, found basking on heathland and sand dunes.
Poppy Bloom - A cascade of unfurling poppies, my personal favourite flower and a bold, beautiful emblem of midsummer.
I worked hard on these designs and I’m really proud of them, but I’m also excited about the t-shirts themselves because they are made in a completely sustainable way. The brand is sold through Teemill, a factory based close to me, just over the water on the Isle of Wight. But unlike fast-fashion factories, Teemill are committed to putting people and planet before profit. Here’s how:
All orders are printed-on-demand, which means there is no excess stock and very little wastage.
All items are made from organic cotton. The cotton fields are grown in the North of India where moonsoon-filled reservoirs supply almost all the water needed. Instead of pesticides and fertilisers, farmers use co-planting, insect traps and cow poo to encourage biodiversity.
Both the factories on the Isle of Wight and in North India are powered by renewable energy.
Water used to dye the products is cleaned and recirculated in a closed loop system, rather than being expelled as pollution. 95% of the water is recirculated, and the leftover mulch is used for road markings.
Each item is designed to be sent back when worn out, and new products are made from the material that’s recovered. You’ll find a QR code in each t-shirt that tracks this.
All packaging is plastic-free and can be recycled or reused.
I’m so excited to finally launch these designs into the world, and thank you to everyone who has already picked one up since I posted about it yesterday! I chose to design t-shirts and tote bags because they are simple, useful items that will stand the test of time instead of being throwaway trends. Each equinox and solstice will bring a new seasonal collection with three new designs, and I’m already finalising the ones for autumn… Think pumpkins, moths and spooky hares! If you have any questions or enquiries, just send me a message, including if you like a design but fancy a different colour.
Thanks so much, as ever, for all the continued support - I’m wishing you all a magical solstice! ✨