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I've been actively trying to create shirts of the quality. While I'm less concerned with the technical aspects of creating a vintage/fatigued looked -- how does one go through the initial stages of design? (What program is best to design in, how should I approach the silkscreener, fabric acquisition...)

Where would be the best place to get the luxurious cotton used in the t-shirts made by Grail, Rebel Yell, Paper Cloth & Denim... I'm really frusterated as I cannot find anything to match the lightweight cotton fabric used among these. Do such companies travel to overseas sufficient?

What would be the best format to bring to a silkscreener? Right now I have a virtual replication of the t-shirt in Photoshop to scale, the design is somewhat complicated and I'd like to ease any technical problems before they start. I can easily redo my designs in Illustrator if that's easier to work with.

I'm convinced there's some sort of standard process for this designer casual wear, as everyone and their brother seems to have a company. I'm just out of the loop. I've talked to people in the apparell industry but my contacts are unfortunately within large multinationals geared toward totally different markets.

If someone in the know is reading this and is aghast and tells me "I have no idea what I'm in for", please feel free to say it.
 

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For me, when I design something I usually browse the web or magazines. Then sketch the design. If I like it I'll do a comp on the computer (Photoshop/Illustrator), you can do pretty much everything with those 2 programs.

Maybe the quality you're looking for is Brushed cotton or maybe it's a cotton blend? It should say right on the neck label. If not You can send a swatch sample of the fabric you're looking for to a shirt manufacturer or wholesaler & they should be able to tell you what it is & if they make it.

As far as the screenprinter, if they are up to date, you can give them a CD of your artwork. But you should ask the contact person there who will be working with the digital file. They may need you to save the work a certain way i.e. .PSD, .EPS, .Tiff or they may want you to have your artwork saved at a particular resolution. You say your design is complicated so make sure you & the printer are "on the same page!" Make sure to ask printer run a sample of the design so you can work out any problems before printing all your shirts.


There are many experienced people in this forum, so take the time to read other posts & do the research! This business can be very lucrative to those that take time to learn the business!

You gotta love it or leave it alone!!!

Hope this helps...
 

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Here's one hint: "vintage" and "fatigued" looks are done in two ways. Some companies use machines similar to the one used for stone-washed jeans, although much more gentle....literally stuck in a rolling drum with rocks (well, not quite that simple...). However, 95% of shirt prints fake it: the "fatigued" look is nothing more than filtering the design in Photoshop. The cracking and wear is all part of the design. Large volumes of retatrder thin the ink. All faked.


I also advise reading the whole of these forums from beginning to end.....lots of great stuff, and many good links. Glad to have another screen-printer on board! I always feel lonely with so many transfer pressers about :) (but I love those people too, of course...)
 
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