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UK Tshirts - Gildan, Uneeq, Ranks, Euopeanwear, more?

3604 Views 16 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  microgirl
Hi all,

I'm currently ordering samples, trying to make a decision on what tshirt to go with to print my designs on. I'm still looking for the perfect T, so thought I would post my findings so far, and perhaps anyone can suggest some others I can try.

I'm looking for something good quality, not too stiff or scratchy, and not sized too small. Here's what I've found so far:

1) Continental N03
Love this. Great quality, lovely soft cotton. My only gripe is the sizing - I ordered XL and it's at least a size smaller than the other XLs I've bought. Does anyone know if there is anything like this out there that sizes bigger?
2) Continental N25 (ladies vintage)
Again, love this tshirt, and love the vintage wash. But the medium is too tight for me and I am a 10/12! What's with their sizing??
3) Ranks RK2 Super T
4) Ranks RK3 Premium T
Didn't really like either of the Ranks Ts. The stitching wasn't great, and although they are nice and soft, they bunched up around the neckline after one wash. These are off the list.
5) Gildan Ultra T
Great fit, good quality, but a tiny bit short? Or is that just my opinion? Also, it's not as soft as it could be.
6) Gildan Heavy T
Not as good as the ultra, so off the list.
7) Gildan SoftStyle
Lovely - soft, nice fit, decent sizing, the ONLY complaint I have about this one is that it is a little on the thin side... will people think it is cheap?
8)Uneeq Classic T (301)
All very soft, OK fit, but again I thought the stitching wasn't great. It wasn't finished off very nicely inside the neck. I also ordered a couple of ladies Ts (303,304), but again I just didn't think the stitching was that great.

I have a Hanes tagless on order, and was going to order some other Hanes Ts, but have read on here that the neck is tight - would you agree with this?

I should also say I've used UKL, Ralawise, polo-shirts.co.uk, Europeanwear and Ranks to order my tshirts from and the customer service has been excellent from all of them.

So.... more questions:

Do men like the softstyle tshirts?

I think the Gildan softstyle is my favourite so far, but is it too thin and delicate? I worry that it doesn't flatter the body as well as a thicker T.

Is there an alternative to Continental that comes in bigger sizes? I LOVE their tshirts, but the sizes are just too tiny!

I'll post more when I make a decision - or order more samples :(

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Oh - almost forgot: can anyone tell me where I can source Anvil tshirts from? The only wholesaler I can find online charges £15 handling for small orders - I just need a couple of samples.
Hi there
I would try the Skinnifit shirt, really soft, probable a bit expensive on some of of their range but a good quality shirt.:)
Thanks, but I've already ruled out Skinnifit as too slim in the body - if this wasn't an issue I'd use Continental...

Almost everyone I know worries about their waistline in what they wear, so it's important that whatever I choose doesn't highlight anything it shouldn't, else I'll never get a repeat purchase!
When purchasing t-shirts everyone these days seems to expect the best, but at the same time, paying very little. It really depends on the final price you are looking to sell your garments for and the kind of end customer/target market you will be aiming at.

If you are looking to sell say retro print designs or funny slogan prints, then the standard price is usually £8.99-£10.99 for an unknown brand/label, and purchasing a shirt for no more than £2.00 is adequate. No customer would expect a fantastic shirt made of the finest material and perfect fit at this price...It just wouldn't happen unless you were having these manufactured bespoke and ordering in large units, whereby you would have a say in the production process and these would be made according to you specifications! No t-shirt out there on the market is ever going to tick every box!!!

Like you say...continental are by far the best, but they have real issues with sizing and it would be very difficult to sell these online. You would have to state that for a decent fit it would be wise to purchase an above size otherwise you would have a great deal if returns/exchanges, and this just isn't feasable...Secondly for a t-shirt that you would be selling at around £8.99-£10.99, a continental t-shirt probably does eat into the profit slightly & if you selling at a low price then is it really going to make that much of a difference. But again, it depends on your final price...if you were to attach your own neck labels into these shirts, which is what they are designed for, then you could expect to sell them for more.

I to like yourself have tested most shirts on the market and still yet have found the perfect t-shirt...but there are shirts ideal for what i require them for, and i think everyone gets by with one of the shirts you have mentioned! With regards to stitching issues, you will never have a perfect shirt with perfect stitching...i have had several packs of continental t-shirts were out of 10 in a pack, there's usually a couple that have had slightly dodgy stitching issues!

Just out of interest, what designs and what kind of target market were you aiming for?

& what did you purchase from europeanwear?
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Also, just to add to your original post, i find continental t-shirts are mostly suited to fitted tees, hency why they come up very close to the body, and are not loose!

I think a general assumption is that most people prefer slightly loose/baggy t-shirts but it really depends what your printing and the target market. For promotional tees and designs aimed at a wide audience loose tees are always going to be a winner. standard T-Shirts are in effect unisex, hence again a wider customer base for your designs, but continental and other fitted tees would be just aimed at men...so take this into account with the kind of designs your printing.

With many of my designs, although aimed at men, i find women also purchase a vast number, and this wouldn't happen if they were fitted mens t-shirts.

Would your prints work unisex or are they just aimed at men? I find fitted tees work if you have a half decent body and arms to show off. I prefer my tees loose and the sleeve to come down to near elbow. The sleeves on most continetal shirts are pretty short and tight...
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I am happy to pay more for decent quality, but it does seem like the choice is quite limited. And you are totally right about the Continental sizing - the returns etc. would be too much of a headache. Europeanwear sell Continental, so that is where I purchased the N03 and the ladies vintage T.

Today I've ordered a couple of Hanes and Anvil, plus some ladies tees from Bella - these are my last samples, so I'm going to make a decision after they arrive. Like you say, I could be doing this forever trying to find the perfect garment, and it may not necessarily be out there.

At the mo I'm erring toward the Gildan SoftStyle, but am going to give several tshirts a few more washes to see how they weather.

My designs are computer-humour, so I'm aiming at all those who work directly with technology (programming, tech support, that kind of thing). I'm a software engineer myself. I have 11 designs completed so far, one more to go as I want to open shop with 12. Looked into selling them on Spreadshirt, but the prices for consumers are atrocious and the commission for designs tiny. Not really looking to make loads of cash - I'm more interested in people liking my ideas - however, I do want people to feel that they are buying something half decent and not some cheap tshirt that will disintegrate after a few months of wash and wear.

I'll update when the remaining samples come in - one delivery due tomorrow, and a lone Hanes tagless that probably won't arrive before the weekend.

All good fun though!

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I'm planning on buying separate tees for women and men. Do you think that's a good plan? I would estimate the female percentage of sales to be 5-10% of total (maybe less). Not many ladies work in IT - I know, as for most of my career I've been the only female in the department!

Baggier fit is better - programmers aren't usually lean and muscular - too much time spent in front of a computer. Although as with every rule, there are occasional exceptions :D
Yes defo too much time infront of the computer means very little excess muscle...i can vouche for that lol!

I havn't tried the hanes tagless yet...would like to know whats it's like. Are you looking for tagless t-shirts or don't really mind? I think tagless tees work best since it gives you the option of printing/stitching your own labels and this therefore differenciates your tees from others on the market, and so allows you to build a brand...

With regards to your designs, are they all simple text based with little/no illustration involved? If so...i would say forget about finding the most superior quanity shirt. If you have a good but simple enough idea like a funny slogan that hasn't been used, your design will be copies within no time...it's like DVD's. You have a certain amount of shelf time with slogan t-shirts before others come out competing with the same shirt, but for cheaper, then it really makes no difference that your using a better 'quality' shirt, because it's cheaper to purchase elswhere on a cheaper t-shirt...I've had a few designs taken during my time of printing but you have to expect this if your slogans/designs are not trademarked...but on the other hand i've pinched a few slogan idea myself that i've seen around...at the end of the day it's a dog eat dog world and your in the most bootlegged industry of them all....

With regards to Continental clothing...continental have a website and are cheapest to purchase from directly. They are just down the road from me, and if dealt with over the phone then i think they prefer it...can't remember if you can buy directly on the website...But you are only paying extra by going to an outside website!!!
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Ahh - I thought Europeanwear were Continental (I thought it was odd that they were using a different name). Won't make that mistake again! You can tell I'm new to all this.

I like the idea of tagless, but am not that concerned about it - maybe labeling is something for the future if things go well.

My designs are graphics - with words underneath. You need both the words and the picture to get the point. All original work. I am a little concerned about people copying them actually - maybe I should look into protecting them somehow... something to do tomorrow. More time in front of the computer!

Will let you know what I make of the Hanes when it turns up in comparison to the others.
Hi all,

First of all I would say I tend to agree with qualit-tee (well, great minds and all that:D)

The ladies long sleeve continental (which I am wearing right now) really are fab quality. The amount of people that like to feel these tees when I am wearing them, because you can see the quality from a great distance but can not necessarily be seen online.

They are a lovely comfortable fit and I have printed them for a customer for a group of ladies to wear at a promotional event and really would only recommend up to XL.

Have you looked at Mantis World Tees? They are brilliant quality.

I personally would say start your range at Unisex and see how they sell and build up from there. I started off 8 yrs ago with a t-shirt for boys and as people asked for different designs and colours I built up. It is the cheapest way of finding what is wanted by the customers.

Are you purchasing or getting your samples from one distributor to save yourself costs?

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I purchased from several different distributors deliberately - I wanted to see what the customer service, prices, and whole ordering process was like from each. It cost me more in postage, but not all distributors carried everything I wanted to check, so I couldn't have done it all from one anyway.

Although to be honest, as I said before the customer service from all of them has been excellent. I will settle on one before ordering in bulk. Of course, when I say bulk, I mean just enough to get started, not 1000s :eek:

I think you are right in that you start small, and you can build up according to customers comments and what they ask for. I guess it's only when you get out there and start selling that you appreciate what it is people are looking for.

Right I'm done for - 6am start this morning means bed is calling.

Night all - and good to meet you!

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Hi all,

First of all I would say I tend to agree with qualit-tee (well, great minds and all that:D)

Indeed they do lol...

Do you go straight to continental for your tees or get them from elsewhere...as far as i know, all UK distributors for continental charge well over the odds per single t-shirt...very rarely can you go straight to the brand directly, as i know FOTL/Gildan etc all expect you to go to distributors, but continetal allow you to go directly to them, which therefor means a better price, although i think this only works out if you are purchasing pack (10 units) and case (50 units) quantities, and not a single pieces...
Yes, I do go direct to Continental. I have gone to Continental direct just for a couple of their hoodies for a customer because it was cheaper.

In case you, or anyone else, is not aware, you can also go direct to Mantis World and they are absolutely great for customer service too.


I've found your posts and comments very helpful. I'm currently looking for good quality tees. I aim at a bit loose/baggy style (skateboarders, snowboarders, surfers etc, if you know what I mean) however I don't want it to be too baggy like those American tees for big fat heavy guys.
Can you suggest anything form what you've seen and touched so far?

don't go on suggestions, go on samples. Purchase a sample from each, and go from there. You need to test print aswell. Just because a tee looks and feels great, doesn't always mean it's going to be effective when printed. Some transfers work better on certain shirts + also test wash garments, since some shrink/lose fit after minimal washes...

Some people (and a limited few at that) on here unfortuntely are biased when it comes to t-shirts, and you will find that they actually work for a t-shirt supplier/manufacturer and leave positive comments as if they are just a standard user, in the hope naive people will purchase their garments...don't be fooled when things are praised to highly!!!

Remember, many people are in competition with regards to custom printing, so why would they want others purchasing the same tees they use. It's like giving away your best supplier!!! (Thats not reflective of everyone, but it's worth taking into consideration).
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For a larger fit, Hanes are quite good - they are longer in the body than Gildan too (which are also sized larger, but quite boxy in shape). Out of all the t-shirts I sampled, Hanes were decent for both quality and fit. The "beefy tee" is good, if a little extra cost-wise.

Continental and AA are lovely (and I opted for AA in the end), but they are not loose fit at all - probably better a size up from your regular size, which is probably not ideal for what you are looking for.

However, I am not a boarder of any description, so you might want to order a couple of Hanes samples and then give them to someone from your target market to wash and wear, for feedback :)
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