When I first started screen printing, I knew I wanted to work with eco-friendly water based inks. It didn’t take long for me to discover all the limitations and drawbacks of printing with water based inks, but I was determined to stick with the eco-friendly option.
The first time I washed one of my screen printed shirts, I was disappointed to see how much the ink had faded. After working so hard to get a crisp, dark print, my new t-shirt now looked old after one wash. With more practice and with better tools and techniques, I learned how to make better prints, but then, one day, as I was hanging a load of laundry out on the clothesline, I noticed how beautifully the ink had faded on one of the shirts I had made for my husband. The light black ink that said “BEER” in big block letters had blended with the heather grey cotton. The word still stood out but you could see the variegated flecks and bands of grey peeking out from underneath. It was at that moment that I had an idea: to stop fighting with the ink and instead embrace the vintage fade.
I looked for soft, worn-in feeling shirts with character for my fall season print and found the perfect, super soft t-shirts, with matching sweatshirts, in a woven three-tone plum colour. After one wash, the previously opaque ink fades to reveal the colourful character of the fabric beneath. What remains is the permanent, vintage fade look of the print, it won’t fade anymore with the next wash. (And don’t worry, you can wash the shirts regularly with your other clothes, they won’t damage your old favourites.)
I was so pleased with the results, I had to keep a sweatshirt for myself!
All photos by me.