Who are you?
I'm Beatrice Duncan, an independent designer from New Zealand living in Toronto. I have a background teaching children and am a recent fashion school graduate.
What's the deal with made to order apparel?
As an entry level designer, I use a POD (print on demand) partner. I design the graphics that you see and choose what items to print on and how they are printed. Then you place your order and each item is made exactly to your specifications.
A lot of consideration went into selecting the POD partner I wanted to use. My top priorities are choosing an ethical and eco-friendly partner, and providing high quality and long lasting prints. I chose to use Printful as my POD supplier. Read more about Printful below.
What about sustainability?
Sustainable fashion is at the tippity top of my proirity list as a fashion designer. As an entry level independent designer I am limited to what I can produce at this time. I am committed to constant research and adapting designs to find the most sustainable options. This can be difficult because it's so hard to find transparency in suppliers. Many companies are very evasive and gloss over unethical practises with broad statements and equivocal language. But if you have any information regarding any of the suppliers that I use, especially if you know of any malpractice, please let me know via the contact page.
MADE TO ORDER
All products are made to order using Printful - a POD (print on demand) partner. A huge environmental benefit of buying made to order is the reduction of waste:
One of the choices I make as a designer using a POD partner is which service to use and which of their clothing suppliers to select. After reading and researching which POD & supplier options were the most sustainable, I carefully chose the following suppliers:
There is no wasted overstock. Larger manufacturers produce enormous orders of one product in multiple colours and sizes. Although manufacturing in bulk makes things cheaper to buy, the unsold stock creates enormous amounts of waste.
Only the fabric required for the item you chose is printed on and used to make your order. This reduces unecessary printing and fabric cut-offs.
Printful's statement on packaging:
"We try to do our best to minimize waste in packaging and source eco-friendly packaging materials. Many of our packaging materials are either recyclable or biodegradable. Bubble wraps are made from a minimum of 15% recycled plastic and 10% post-consumer content. Our kraft tubes are made from 70-100% post-consumer recycled content and 0-30% secondary recycled content."
DTG and sumlimation printing are the most eco friendly techniques for surface textile design. Read more about the techniques and their benifits in the printing FAQ above.
I chose to use Printful as my POD partner for their sustainability efforts and the high
quality of their printing. Read more about Printful's commitment to sustainability
here. Printful also makes all cut & sew items (items with and all over print) in house using sublimation printing technique.
For all items with a closed area of print on them I have carefully selected Bella + Canvas eco products. Read more about Bella + Canvas sustainability practices
Why are your things more expensive than bigger manufacturers?
As an entry level independent designer I don't (yet!) have access to wholesale manufacturing partners, premesis to store stock etc. To dip my toes in independent fashion design, I have decided to first start by using a POD (print on demand) partner. POD items are made to order, they are not made in bulk. Although it is much cheaper to manufacture clothing in bulk, it creates a lot of waste and requires a very different business model. Made to order items cost a little more because items are only created for a known buyer, one item at a time.
Why can't I get my items overnight?
All items are made to order. Once you have selected what you want, your order is then sent to my POD (print on demand) partner who then prints and makes only what you ordered. This takes more time than larger businesses who manufacture in bulk and can simply select your size from a pile and post it to you right away. The payoff for your waiting is that you are supporting a new and independent designer. You are also supporting the made to order model which is a much less wasteful method of apparel manufacturing. Read more in the sustainability FAQ above.
How do I take care of my lovely new things?
Items with an all-over printed can be machine-washed cold with similar colors, but don't use bleach. You can tumble-dry on low heat. It can't be ironed or dry-cleaned.
The all-over printed sweatshirts have a slightly different fabric. So while they can be machine-washed cold with similar colors without bleach and ironed on low heat, they can't be tumble-dried or dry-cleaned.
Items with a focussed print can be machine-washed cold, inside-out on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent and similar colors. Use non-chlorine bleach only when necessary. You shouldn't use any fabric softeners, or dry-clean the items. You can tumble-dry on a low cycle, but hang dry works best. When it comes to ironing, use cool iron inside-out. Do not iron the print.
Why does it smell like vinegar?
You might notice a faint vinegar-like smell or an off-white residue. Don't worry, that's not unusual - it's from a fixation agent applied during the printing process and it's not permanent. Fixation agent (sometimes known as pre-treatment) is used for all DTG prints across the industry. It helps the ink bond with the fabric, and without it, the ink would flake off the garment. The solution is simply to wash the garment! Neither the residue nor the smell is permanent and both should go away after one wash.
How are the designs printed onto the clothes?
DIRECT TO GARMENT
DTG (direct-to-garment) printing is more sustainable than older apparel printing methods, such as screen printing. Not only does screen printing use a lot of water and plastisol inks that don’t biodegrade, but it’s also tended towards bulk orders which can lead to overproduction. DTG printing is more eco-friendly because items get printed only when there’s already a customer for them. Printful is partnered with the specialists of DTG printing, Kornit. Kornit printers use water-based inks that are free of harmful chemicals and produce almost zero wastewater. See what Kornit has to say by watching their promo video
Items with an all over print are made using a technique called sublimation printing. Graphics are printed onto sublimation paper using specialty biodegradable and CPSIA compliant inks. Fabric is placed between two sheets of sublimation paper and goes through a heat press. The heat then transforms the sublimation ink into a gas that gets absorbed into the fabric. After a graphic is printed onto the fabric, the shape of the garment is precision-cut and hand-sewn with industrial sewing machines. This ensures a consistent all-over print and durable construction.