February 27, 2019
I guess it’s really no surprise how I have gotten into making vintage-looking, retro graphic tees when I really think about it. I have been a t-shirt phanatic for, well, my whole life as far as I can remember. There was a cool gal in my hometown of Athens, Alabama, Jennifer Bridges, who worked at PJ’s Top Shop heat printing those vinyl letters on shirts of all kinds. My twin sister Carole and good friend Kathy used to hang out in downtown Athens almost every Saturday when we were in middle school and go to PJ’s and hang out with Jennifer while she heat-pressed letters onto shirt after shirt for ball teams and such. So fascinating! She reminded me today that when no one else was in the shop, we would turn up the music super loud and have us a little dance party! :))) Jennifer was one of the coolest gals (you know, a high schooler when we were middle schoolers) who was a trail blazer for girls. She was the first girl to play on my brother’s basketball team and schooled just about all of them at one time or another. She was AWESOME and COOL and still trail blazing! She started her own project management company about 10 years about called PDUs2Go.com. A great woman entrepreneur slaying the project managing world with incredible tools. Check it out. Way to go, Jennifer!
Jennifer Bridges, PMP
Fast forward a few years to my going off the college when I decided on Auburn University after being an Alabama fan. I had a white sweatshirt with BAMA in crimson across the front. After my decision, I asked my homemaker Mom if she could sew a tiger paw across the BAMA letters showing that I was now an Auburn girl. We found some burnt orange cotton fabric at the local fabric store, cut pieces to make a tiger paw, and my Mom sewed them onto the sweatshirt. I LOVED IT! (Wish I had a digital pic, but, sadly, I don’t.) At Auburn during football season my freshman year (1985) and with the Iron Bowl approaching, I got 100 t-shirts printed with the same logo – tiger paw over the word Bama – and sold them like HOTCAKES out of my dorm room right before the game! I saved a few and handed one nervously to Bo Jackson who always was hanging out at the side entrance of Spidle Hall (School of Human Sciences) when I was going to my 8:00 am class. I said, “I made these shirts and thought you might want one.” He said, “Cool, thank you.” and I went on inside SO GIDDY and stupid excited!!!! BTW, there’s no question that Bo is the GOAT (Greatest of all time). Absolute GOAT. PERIOD.
Bo Jackson – professional baseball and football (GOAT)
Being an artist and having an interior design degree, there was heavy emphasis on design and lettering in my curriculum. We had a class dedicated solely to architectural lettering creating a style and appreciation for the beauty and art in lettering alone. Seemed tedious at the time, but very much appreciated since, and it’s completely useful in the hand-painting process of my shirts. I LOVE art, fashion and design, and like to create things on my own if possible. When I got the idea to make my own graphic t-shirts, I just dove right in to putting paint to cotton tees and absolutely LOVED the effect. I thought, “I can make letters the look like old, peeling-off, vinyl letters” like what Jennifer printed back in the day. I am able to letter easily by hand and change the style (font, in computer terms) to create fun graphic tees. “This is a way to speak messages of love, positivity, and empowerment which is what I like to do in my presence on social media.” There’s plenty of negativity and hate swirling around us these days, and I believe that LOVE WINS and that we need to spread love in any way we can. Smile at people when you’re out, give an unsolicited compliment, see the beauty around you, use your gifts for good. That’s where I come from. My most popular shirt (other than custom-made ones) has been “LOVE IS THE ANSWER”. This is my LOVE CAMPAIGN! It’s just taking off, and I’m enjoying every bit of it! I’m so grateful that it’s resonating with people who also want something original, a one-of-a kind wearable art. Thanks to you! Who doesn’t love the feel of all natural, 100% cotton with a great message of love on it???
This was my original prototype above with the words “LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO ‘ROUND.”
This shows a smaller scale font creating a simpler, minimalist look with the words (a mantra of mine) “LIVE ARTFULLY.”
We all find ourselves in our most loved, comfy t-shirts at some point in the day. These are great for a bit of an edgy look for going out, for street wear, athleisure, night shirt, cover-up – however and whatever ways you want to style it, you can! See ideas below and here. I’ve always been a fan of the Jennifer Beals cut sweatshirt in Flashdance. My shirts can be left with full sleeves and uncut length as they come, OR I can create raw cut necks, sleeves and bottom – any or all of those cut. Raw edging is hugely popular right now, but personally, I’ve always loved the look. Adds a feminine edge. I’m also adding tanks and sweatshirts, too. Keep up with it all on my Instagram and message me if you’re interested in something I’ve created or if you have your own ideas. I do custom ones! These would be great for parties, get-togethers, reunions…
Join me in this LOVE CAMPAIGN! Spread the love! Love fiercely! #speakingINALLCAPS