Beyond the Basic Cotton T-shirt

  • Jul 9, 2019

Summer means T-shirt season is here. 100% cotton has been the traditional go-to fabric for festivals, walks, and company events of all types. But that is changing. Specialty fabrics and decoration techniques are increasingly being seen, because they offer so much more, and thus give that advertising exposure a much longer life.

Eco-friendly fibers, offering a softer touch, such as hemp viscose, RPET/organic cotton blends, and eco tri-blends are increasing in popularity. Hemp viscose has superior breathability and comfort, along with the benefit of being sustainable. Tri-blends have a looser knit and are very comfortable. As we look at the variety of fabrics gaining popularity, sustainability continues to be a major factor. More and more organizations are incorporating that into their brand image. Lenzing modal stays in line here as it is derived from sustainably grown beech trees and processed through energy-efficient systems. And let’s not overlook bamboo—one of the softest fabrics you’ll ever touch. Bamboo grows faster than any tree and certainly much faster than cotton. Thus resources will continue to be plentiful. In addition to all of these natural fibers, recycled plastic (think soda bottles) are the main component in an increasing number of polyester blends.

Beyond the fabrics themselves, we’re seeing a lot of variations in textures and wash treatments. This is before the decoration. Some popular options are:

  • pigment dyes
  • burnouts
  • garment dyes
  • tie-dyes
  • camo

You’ll notice some of this list reflects the strength of the retro trend. Everything old is new again.

Patterned T shirt blends with branding

Here are some examples of specialty looks. Or should we say Special T?

Knot-front T
Pre-tied knot is sewn into this shirt for a cool look
Textured T
Textured T with 60/40 ring-spun blend
Speckled T
White speckled pattern adds interest to 90/10 blend T

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“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”

~ Mark Twain

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