The SS19 Core Collection is a range of staples created with familiarity, simplicity and timelessness in mind. The collection’s minimalism is intended to provide some contrast against the brand’s heavy graphics-based approach to design. Each new collection presents a different set of challenges, and this one was no different. As with any sizeable project, there’s always plenty of setbacks lurking in the dark, awaiting the most inconvenient moment to rear up and throw you off course. This is the first time I’ve worked with shorts and caps, and I enjoyed the challenge of bringing it all together. I’ve realised that no matter how much research you do, there will always be some stabbing in the dark.
One of the main problems I encountered was elastane. The shorts contain 4% of this stretchy material, and it was only after I had ordered them that I discovered they’re much more challenging to print on than cotton. Regular fabric ink doesn’t age well on stretchy material, so I had to seek help from a print shop. Some places won’t touch elastane jobs under certain quantities due to the different process of printing, and others simply don’t have the means to do it. I was pretty annoyed for not thinking to research this beforehand, but I guess that’s how some lessons are learned. Another option was the embroidery route, however it didn’t quite align with how I envisioned the original design concept. I considered ordering a new bunch of cotton shorts just to get the damn things printed with regular fabric ink, but I told myself to be patient A little digging around eventually led me to a place that printed vinyl heat transfers. It was a nice reminder that refusing to compromise on your initial vision can pay dividends in the end, even if it feels hopeless at the time.
As someone who hasn’t been screenprinting all that long, there’s always a handful of issues that crop up now and again, most of which are fixed relatively easily, but nonetheless, still very frustrating. I smudged several of the logo tees, none of which are sellable. Not only that, but, I accidentally ended up burning several printed shirts with the iron. New prints need to be heat-pressed in order to fasten them to the fabric so they survive repeated washings. It’s the home stretch of the entire process, but I got careless with my timing, and ended up scorching a handful of white tees. There was nothing I could do but order more shirts, pushing the entire process back a couple of weeks. To see new stock instantly become unusable right before your eyes is absolutely infuriating. Just when you think you’re getting better at something, the world gives you a harsh reminder that if you’re not paying attention, you’ll trip up. I have to constantly remind myself that no significant journey is without difficulty. From the outside, it’s easy to see the progress of a small brand without realising how much struggle goes on behind the scenes just to keep things running. The process is very ugly at times, and accepting this is the key to stomaching setbacks. Going into any venture with the expectation of smooth sailing is the surest way to run yourself into the ground with disappointment. You’ll need to grind away every single day, and I don’t say grind in an affectionate or loving way. Grinding is anger, frustration, and exhaustion and it’s imperative that you find ways of leveraging these emotions to motivate you.
Despite all these headaches, the feeling of solving problems is what makes the finished product so rewarding to behold. Without hurdles, there is no real appreciation of the effort spent. Embracing the bitterness of the struggle means the ripened fruit tastes sweeter. There were many moments where the self-doubt threatened to envelop me but I forced myself to stick to the plan, and focus on the end-goal. You must listen to your rational mind, even though it’s voice can be very soft and timid compared to the bellowing of your emotions. This collection was definitely more challenging than the last, but each release teaches you something new. This hard-won knowledge can then be applied in more unique and exciting ways in the future. That’s the beauty of continual growth.
It’s with great pleasure that I present to you Clouds & Cups’ SS19 Core Collection. Despite all the setbacks, it all came together in a timely fashion, and it feels good to have another one under the belt. I hope this collection reminds you that no matter what it is you’re doing, you can always find a way if you apply yourself. Trust me in saying that if I can do this, then you can do it too. Thank you for your continued support, and I hope you enjoy wearing this collection as much as I did creating it.
To browse the collection, click here.