Before discovering the wonders of the slow fashion movement, I browsed the racks of mainstream clothing stores in overcrowded suburban shopping malls. I loaded my arms with as much product as I could carry and marched the whole pile to a dressing room. After a few minutes of wiggling, zipping and fastening, I chose my favorites. Then I moseyed home with my polyester blends stuffed in a massive logo-adorned plastic bag.
Oh, how the times have changed!
Over the past few years, as I educated myself on the environmental, social and economic impacts of our global fashion system, I changed my shopping habits to align with my values. These days, when I find myself in need of a garment, I do not rush to my nearest shopping center.
With a bit of knowledge and forethought, I find ethical alternatives to better suit my needs and my values!
So when I found myself in need of a logo and screen-printed gear, I trusted this “slow fashion” process. I am fortunate to have some talented friends willing to share their expertise with me, which I will share with you!
CREATING A LOGO
WITH GRAPHIC DESIGNER STEFANIE PASSO
First, I sat down with my graphic designer friend Stefanie Passo of Stefanie Passo Designs. I walked her through the mission and vision for Una Voce Equa and a few weeks later she sent me six options. I was blown away by Stefanie’s professionalism and creative interpretation of my brand. The description of my favorite design read:
“The key is advocacy and having a voice… reclaiming your power. This first option combines those qualities with the fashion/textile industry, depicting a spool of thread, with a closed fist reaching upward as the thread on the spool. A powerful forced perspective.”
Before finalizing the logo, I asked friends and family for their thoughts. Some saw a fist, while others saw a spool of thread. Everyone was delighted and surprised when I revealed the double image. The consensus was in: the logo was bold, evocative and unexpected. After the addition of a secondary color, the logo was complete!
Being Stefanie’s client gave me a deeper appreciation for the work of independent graphic designers. She empowered me to feel ownership over this budding brand.
With the logo finished, I was ready to move on to the second phase: custom screen printing. I had seen the work of another graphic designer friend on Instagram, and reached out to see if she would show me how to screen print. Christine Chapman was all game to show me how it’s done!
WITH GRAPHIC DESIGNER CHRISTINE CHAPMAN
First, I sent graphic designer Christine Chapman the finalized logo, confirmed colors and described how I wanted to use the screen print. She went ahead and covered a screen in photo sensitive emulsion and let it dry in a dark place.
Christine also created a transparency with the logo I sent her. She deconstructed the logo, separating the blue components from the yellow. Since screen printing is done one color at a time, separating the components by color is a best practice. Once the screen was dry, she attached the transparency and placed the entire thing on a glass table over a bright light source to set.
The light acts as a catalyst for a chemical reaction, setting the photo emulsion only in the places exposed to it. The part of the screen covered by the logo transparency did not react to the light because of the opaque ink of the logo.
I stopped by Christine’s house once the screen was set. Christine removed the transparency from screen and revealed the resulting image by washing away the excess emulsion.
The result was a custom screen! It was time to break out the ink and get printing! Christine showed me the entire printing process from beginning to end, which I followed on my own at home. Here’s how I did it!
HOW TO SCREEN PRINT A TEE SHIRT
- Completed screen for printing
- Tee shirt (try using thrifted shirts!)
- Ink (I used two for my logo)
- Pallet or butter knife
- Fan, if needed
- Insert a piece of cardboard into the shirt to ensure no ink seeps through. Shirt-shaped cardboard is available for purchase at craft stores, but I opted to use a piece of cardboard from a moving box. Using a pallet or butter knife, add a dollop of ink onto the screen above the logo.
2. Orient the logo portion of the screen onto the tee as desired. Ensure the tee beneath is taught.
3. Using a pallet or butter knife, add a dollop of ink onto the screen above the logo.
4. In one firm swipe, pull the ink down over the screen with a squeegee. Ensure the ink has completely covered the logo.
5. Carefully lift the screen off the tee. Voilà! The ink will have transferred through the screen and onto the shirt!
6. Between each use, gently wash away excess ink from the screen. Allow the screen to dry before using it again. To speed up the process, place the screen in front of a fan.
Once shirt and screen are both dry, repeat steps 1 through 6 for any additional colors.
Thank you to Stefanie Passo and Christine Chapman for sharing their expertise with me. After printing my first set of tees, I began thrifting shirts to use specifically for screen printing. The tees are piling up and soon I will be breaking out the screen printing supplies again!