Co-Tee TV Episode 13: X-Ray Goggles, Linty Fresh and Mack

In this episode I wear X-Ray Goggles Work by Tony Aguero from Threadless and review Mack Hated Mondays from Linty Fresh, a brand run entirely by Eric Terry out of his home in Marietta, Georgia, and specializing in character driven designs that are accompanied with a story or poem to match. As always, enjoy with tea and a comfy tee!

You can also watch this episode on Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube, blip.tv and download and sync all episodes to your iPod or iPhone by subscribing for free to Co-Tee TV in the iTunes Store.

Coty’s Thoughts:

Mack Hated Mondays by Linty Fresh. Good: Huge print, love the colors, the pink and yellow pop nicely against the black, printed on an American Apparel blank, screen printed in three different areas, tagless for itch free comfort, great presentation with custom packaging and lots of extra goodies included with package. Bad: If I am being honest, I had no complaints. Linty Fresh has excellent products and I am happy that I finally got to get my hands on them. Price: $22.00.

Mack Hated Mondays by Linty Fresh

X-Ray Goggles Work by Tony Aguero and available at Threadless. This is one of those shirts that scream look at me! I love it! And I still wish I had a pair of X-Ray Goggles. Price: $18.00 originally but no longer available for sale.

X-Ray Goggles Work by Tony Aguero

If you want to sent me a product to review, please feel free to do so. You can find my information in the contact menu above. Thanks!

Hairy Harry by Linty Fresh

Eric Terry is making collaborations a regular thing these days, and I’m not complaining because I think he’s found a way of freshening up his already fresh Linty Fresh line (is that enough fresh for you?). This time, Eric collaborated with Will Bryant who also goes by the nickname Mr. Fancy Pants. And like last months collaborator, Eric met Mr. Fancy Pants via the popular photo sharing site, Flickr. You can check out Will’s other work here on his Flickr Photostream. 

This month’s Linty Fresh tee is called Hairy Harry and it’s no April Fools joke. It really is that good! The line work is curvingly wonderful and I think the colors used are perfect. I really dig the green! If Linty Fresh had a pet wookiee I bet this is how he would look like. You can pick up Hairy Harry at Linty Fresh for $22 starting today.

Hairy Harry by Linty Fresh

Hairy Harry by Linty Fresh

And here’s the collaboration process as explained by Eric:

1. Will sent me his type work for Linty Fresh
2. I wrote a poem for it, fleshed out parts to go more with the concept, and picked a color scheme.
3. Tshirt!

Hairy Harry by Linty Fresh

Indie Tee Spotlight #21: Andy Bowness of Hide Your Arms

This weeks Indie Tee Spotlight, the 21st edition by the way, ushers in a whole new perspective. Up to this point, I’ve been interviewing owners of different indie clothing brands. In this Indie Tee Spotlight, I interview someone that has become an integral part of the indie clothing scene with his honest reviews. His name is Andy Bowness and he is the founder of the popular T-Shirt and hoodie blog, Hide Your Arms. 

Andy started Hide Your Arms way back in January of 2006, and, as the name implies, started off by focusing on hoodies and jackets but has since grown to cover tees as well. Since then Andy has hustled hard and is considered to be one of the top tier T-Shirt/clothing bloggers around. I’ve got to admit that I was pretty excited to chat with Andy since he has been an inspiration to me as a tee blogger. 

Andy Bowness of Hide Your Arms

Coty: You have one the more (some would argue most) succesful t-shirt blogs around. When and why did you decide to start a fashion blog? When did Hide Your Arms first really start picking up momentum in the blogosphere?

Andy: I know OMGTees gave me a #1 ranking a while back, but I still think that Karl (tcritic) has the top blog in terms of readers, and a lot of people in the tee-osphere (we need to think of a better name for that, by the way) are writing better stuff than me at the moment, but yeah, I think HYA is pretty successful. I decided to start writing HYA when I was in my last semester at university (January 2006), which is probably exactly the wrong time to start any kind of project, I didn’t like the clothes I was finding in the city I was in at the time and was scouring the internet for stuff I liked, I noticed what Jason was doing at Preshrunk (writing about clothes and being sent free clothes), and thought “hey, I could do that!”

At first things were pretty slow, I had to really hustle to get my name out there, every time I wrote about a hoodie or t-shirt I e-mailed the designer to let them know, sometimes they’d link to the review on their blog or e-mail back to say thanks, and I think that helped early on. I made sure I got involved with the other tee bloggers that were around at the time too, there was less than a dozen of us back then, so it was easier to keep track of who was doing what and what was popular. Things really started to pick up last year, I had a solid base of traffic from the ‘really long list’ articles that I’d put out every so often that helped me to reach a lot of people, and readership tripled last year to around 4000 readers, although it’s hard to verify those numbers. I think that kicking it up to 8 articles a day towards the end of 2008 helped me too, but it was a killer work schedule (I’d do a near full-time manual labour job, come home, then work till midnight on HYA), so I’ve cut back a bit.

Hide Your Arms Banana

Coty: You’ve built a pretty strong and recognizable brand with the Hide Your Arms blog. Have you ever considered selling Hide Your Arms branded tees or hoodies?

Andy: I’ve been intending to sell HYA hoodies & tees pretty much since I started the blog, but I’ve never got around to going through with it, hell, I don’t even have a proper logo yet!

I think there’s a big risk with putting out my brand of goods, as soon as I have something to sell it means that I’m competing with all the people I write about, and something about that doesn’t seem quite right to me. I wouldn’t do any of the designing myself, there’s a reason why I write about t-shirts rather than design them, but I would love to release some designs that have been created for HYA on a specific theme, I think it could be really cool if I got it right.

Andy Bowness of Hide Your Arms

Coty: Currently, who are some of your favorite indie designers and why?

Andy: Oooh, this is a tough one, for a couple of reasons; first, I don’t really like to play favourites, and secondly, I’m pretty terrible at remembering names. At the moment I like Olly Moss, though more for the stuff he puts on his Flickr account than the tees he produces (not that they suck, they’re good too), I think that Linty Fresh/Eric Terry make some of the most wearable designs out there, it’s always good to see Sven Palmowski/a.mar.illo win in a design competition, Tony Aguero/aliadotony has designed loads of tee that are in my wardrobe, I love his style. I don’t really spend much time looking at art if it isn’t on a t-shirt, but I make a point of keeping tabs on Kozyndan, they’re a couple that make me wish I had more walls so that I could put their posters on them.

Coty: Other than Hide Your Arms, what do you do for your day job? Are you a designer by trade?

Andy: Well, it’s not really a job, but at the moment I’m an intern at the top advertising agency in Philadelphia. Back in England I fulfill a variety of roles at an interior design and project management business. Both sound more glamorous than they really are, I really wish I had some design skills, but I just haven’t got the chops to compete with most of the people I feature on Hide Your Arms, so I’m not going to embarass myself by doing so. I have learned a couple of things at my internship though, so hopefully in the future I’ll at least be able to make the infographics that go with featured posts (like the long lists I do every so often) look a bit better.

Coty: You recently moved from the UK to the states. How did the move go and how do you like Philly? What’s your favorite part of living in Philadelphia?

Andy: The move was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I got myself a great apartment in less than a week, and when you have to fit your entire life into a suitcase and backpack you don’t really have to do a lot to ‘move in’ to your new place. Philly is great, it seems to get a bit of a bad rep, but pretty much everyone I’ve met has been great, which has made moving to a city I’ve never been to before and don’t know anyone in a whole better.

Where I live in England is pretty rural, I have to drive if I want to go anywhere, so for me to be able to walk anywhere in the city I want to go is great (it’s a very walkable city), there’s loads of excellent restaurants here (and I’m not just talking about cheesesteaks), and there are always events going on to keep me busy when the internship and Hide Your Arms don’t.

Andy Bowness of Hide Your Arms

Coty: As a blogger, what tips do you have for creating and maintaining a successful blog?

Andy: Write about something you’re passionate about, otherwise you’ll get bored quickly. Keep posting regularly, try to post every day if you can. I usually write lots of posts ahead of time whenever I get the chance, and then set them to be robo-posted at some date in the future, that way there’s always something new going on my site, and it gives people a reason to keep coming back. It’s important to get your name out there and get involved with the rest of the blogging community in your niche; leave comments on other blogs, follow ‘teeple’ on Twitter, not only is it going to help you network and get mentioned on other sites, us tee bloggers are generally quite a nice bunch of people.

Coty: What other blogs (not just t-shirts) out there are your favorite to read?

Andy: I think I’d probably die if Notcot.org didn’t exist (note: slight exaggeration), it’s amazing. Phoodie.info, Phillyist and Philebrity have been a great help for me getting used to being in Philadelphia, so they’re some of the first blogs I check when I open up Google Reader after work. I read a lot of the usual suspects like Kottke, Boing Boing, Engadget, TechCrunch, Mashable, Lifehacker, and then there’s loads of tee blogs of course, but I’ve actually been trying to cut down on the amount of blogs I read recently because it was becoming information overload, even so, I’m still subscribed to about 150 feeds.

Coty: Finally, you’ve been blogging about tees and hoodies for a while now. How many freebie tees and hoodies do you think you’ve collected through the years? Has there been any one package that has really impressed you?

Andy: I don’t know the true figure because I don’t keep them all in the same place, but I’m pretty sure I’ve received about 180, of which 160 are my size, and then the rest have been given to friends and family as presents. When people find out that I get free t-shirts the next question they ask me is usually something to do with what I do with the ones that don’t fit me (people love a freebie). I don’t pay for them, but to call most of the tees I get ‘freebies’ is a little bit of a misconception. I take pictures of them, and then spend around thirty minutes to an hour writing a post, so there is quite a lot of effort that goes into each review, and clearly you put a lot of effort into your reviews as well Coty, so hopefully you see where I’m coming from. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining though, I still love it when I get a package through the mail and don’t know what’s going to be inside, it’s like Christmas all year round in the HYA house!

Hide Your Arms Shirts

I’ve got to give a big shout out to Andy for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s greatly appreciated. Keep up the great work you’re doing at Hide Your Arms!

The Petrol Kid + Sale at Linty Fresh

I love the first of the month. Why? Because the first of the month means a new tee from Linty Fresh! The Petrol Kid marks the first of many collaborations that Linty Fresh will be doing. Linty Fresh’ Eric Terry hooked up with South African based designer, Theory One, on The Petrol Kid design. 

The Petrol Kid

Eric came up with the concept, and from there, worked with Theory One on the details and final design. Check out the neat graphic pulled from Linty Fresh’s Flickr page showing the collaboration process! Pick up The Petrol Kid for $22.00 at Linty Fresh!

The Petrol Kid Collaboration

Step one: I provided the character design, color scheme, and poem
Step two: Dylan went nuts with details, type, and an awesome backdrop
Step three: I redrew the bandit character, tightened the design to the concept, and fleshed out some details in the train, conductor, and backdrop
Step four: printed to a tee!

And I almost forgot – sale! Linty Fresh is having a huge discount sale to get rid of some old inventory. A lot of his tees have been marked down to $15, some are even priced at $10. The sale ends on March 31. These will surely go fast so pick one up now if there’s a tee that catches your fancy!

Linty Fresh Sale

Indie Tee Spotlight #17: {miles to go}

This weeks Indie Tee Spotlight features one of the major players in the indie clothing and apparel industry. His name is Greg Kerr and he runs {miles to go} clothing, but he has made quite a name for himself producing cotton and clip metal buckle belts popular amongst the indie apparel and band merchandise scene. He has done belts for Johnny Cupcakes, Linty Fresh, Electric Zombie, Glamour Kills, and 410BC to name a few. Some of the bands that he has made belts for include Fall Out Boy, A Wilhelm Scream, Gym Class Heroes and Less Than Jake. He has an impressive list of clients that  you can see here. 

I was fortunate enough to talk a bit with Greg about {miles to go}, how he got started in the apparel business, his thoughts on Johnny Cupcakes and his plans for 2009 and beyond. And when you done reading this interview be sure to check out the {miles to go} online storeuse the code “friends” to get 20% off your order!

Greg Kerr

Coty: How long have you been running {miles to go} and how did you first get started?

Greg: I’ve been doing miles to go about 6 years now, starting with the belts and moving into doing clothing about a year and a half ago. The belts kind of happened in one of those back against the wall moments where I needed to find a way to pay my bills. I was playing keyboards for Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer at the time and when we would go on tour for a month, I still needed to pay my bills. Everyone else in the band lived with family but me, so if we left for a month, I still needed to find a way to pay rent. I had been using the product I use on the belts in my artwork at the time and just brainstormed about how I could use it to make merch for our band. Started off with selling zolof belts, making $50-60 a night and then bands would ask where we got them and it just kind of picked up from there. I was all word of mouth back then and I still am.

Sirens

Coty: Aside from {miles to go}, you clothing brand, you also run Miles To Go Belts, a custom belt making service in which you specializes in making custom heavy duty cotton belts with the classic sliding clip metal buckle. Which is more difficult, running your own clothing brand or providing a paid service?

Greg: At this point with the belts, I have it down so well that the challenges involved have for the most part passed. The merch industry has changed so much over the years and it has become harder to get belts made for bands. Before, I could contact a band, make a sample, they’d order some and we would start the business relationship. Now, its all fulfillment companies who handle a lot of bands and I’m sorry to say put less into looking for new products. Running the clothing line has been a challenge and a good learning experience. I’ve been printing shirts since I was 16 for my old bands and I was familiar enough with the general aspects of it from working in the industry for so long, but it takes a lot of ground work. There are a lot of new clothing companies popping up all of the time and I wish them all the best and hope they want belts too!

Miles To Go Belts

Coty: If you had to choose one, {miles to go} the clothing brand or Miles To Go the custom belt service, which would you stick with and why? Which is more fun for you, designing your own tees and belts or making belts designed by others?

Greg: To be honest, the belts are how I pay my bills and I’ve been fortunate enough to have it be that way for about 3/4 years. The clothing has a little bit more excitement involved with planning designs and concepts, executing it, etc. If one had to go, it would be the clothing, but I dont plan on disappearing anytime soon. I do really enjoy making belts too and seeing the designs. Sometimes people send me great designs that keep me inspired.

Medusa

Coty: One of your major customers in the past was Johnny Cupcakes. Johnny has been noted as saying: “Miletogobelts; Great guy, awesome business man, has helped me out tons over the years! I decided to part ways because I’m working on a bunch of custom belts overseas. There’s too many clothing lines doing those belts. It is def awesome for Greg, however – I want people to look at my products and be like, “How the heck did he get that made?!” But that’s just me & I’m a weirdo. I’m even losing money because I decided not to make any/many more of those type of belts! I gotta stick with my gut instinct though, it’s what got me to where I am today.” What are your thoughts on losing a major customer because of your increased popularity?

Greg: Johnny is a great guy and it’s one of those situations where the ride has to end at some point. He was getting belts from me for at least 4 years and to carry an accessory for that long is really rare. I was fortunate enough to be along for the ride as he grew into the monster he is today. There were no hard feelings and it wasnt anything that caught me off guard by any means. When your company is evolving, you need to keep moving forward with new products. I forget how I met Johnny. It was maybe either through Vinnie/Less ThanJake or he found me then Vinnie. It’s been a while. It was great to see the progression in his company. The first order I did was I think for 12 each of 3 designs and when we ended it was sometimes a few hundred of each of 6/7 designs. When companies email me saying they want 10 belts, I treat them the same I do as a company who gets 500. We all start somewhere. I have a small company myself, have been on tour sleeping in shady places, broke and I have a ton of respect for people just starting up.

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Dr. K’s Chemistry – New Linty Fresh Tee

It’s February already, and with every new month comes a new Linty Fresh tee. This month, Eric Terry released the very purple Dr. K’s Chemistry and it glows in the dark! It’s a cool tee and marks Linty Fresh’s first foray into glow in the dark ink. Eric has provided some cool pics showing the tee in light and what it looks like in the dark and as you can see from the images, the design changes which is pretty neat. The tee is available now at Linty Fresh for $22. To get the scoop on Eric’s inspiration for this tee, check out his blog – it’s a good read!

Dr. K's Chemistry

Dr. K's Chemistry

Linty Fresh Live Show #3 Review

This evening Eric Terry of Linty Fresh hosted his 3rd Linty Fresh ustream chat. He had a special guest this time around, Vincent Maglione. Eric, as usual, answered questions regarding Linty Fresh and Vincent was there to talk about search engine optimization (SEO), web design and coding. Here are my notes from the show for those of you that would rather read then watch. A ton of questions were asked so click on to read them all!

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Indie Tee Spotlight #15: Prestigious Clothing

In this weeks Indie Tee Spotlight I highlight an indie brand, Prestigious Clothing, from West Springfield, Massachusetts. I had the opportunity to chat a little with William Matte, Jr., the founder of Prestigious Clothing. William has been running his own line for some time now and has built up an impressive catalog of tees within the past year. He has definitely focused on branding and has made his brands name a focal point of many of his tees. 

Prestigious Clothing is gearing up to release a brand new fall line of tees which William has been promoting heavily and which has got the tee community excited. William talks a little about his upcoming line, some of his thoughts behind the Prestigious brand, as well as how music has influenced his design style!

“The identity, personality and collective attributes of my brand are nothing short of what time, frugality, devotion and hard work can produce. Prestigious means the world to me.” William Matte, Jr. 

William of Prestigious Clothing

Coty: The name Prestigious Clothing sounds pretty grand – how did you come up with it and what does Prestigious mean to you? How would you describe the identity of Prestigious Clothing?

William: Prestigious is more of a description than a name. The primary reason for the choice was the overall timing of my brand’s inception coupled with the limitless path it produced ahead of me. The opportunity for me to start a line of my own was almost like a dream come true. So many amazing artists and the brands they own/design for inspired feelings of hope and willingness to start something of my own. I was busy as it was- school, my old job, my relationships and related commitments- “Prestigious” was an escape and an outlet. It’s become such a huge part of my life, and I devote every resource I can possibly tap into this project. It’s such an amazing and beautiful thing to be at the helm of a boundless and opportunistic endeavor. The identity, personality and collective attributes of my brand are nothing short of what time, frugality, devotion and hard work can produce. Prestigious means the world to me.

Prestigious Clothing

2. How would you define the target audience of Prestigious Clothing?

William: The target audience of my brand is something that I recently discovered, as typical as that sounds from a company owner’s point of view; it takes some time to figure out who you want to market to and why on earth they’d want to spend money your product. My target audience is not one that can be pigeon holed or summed up in a nutshell, but overall my customers are members of what one could simply call an “indie” culture- I promote my Vegan ethics openly and my customers appreciate that. The integration of my growth as the owner of a young brand along with the happenings of my brand’s development substantiate the reality that fans, followers and otherwise potential customers like an involved and personable owner; a face to go with a name. This year, Prestigious will take on more of an activist feel in terms of charitable contribution and communal involvement, setting the stage for what will come.

Coty: The indie T-Shirt scene is increasingly becoming a crowded space. What are you doing to make sure Prestigious stands out amongst the crowd? What things have you done differently?

William: It is far too easy to fall into the anonymous void of a crowed or oversaturated market. The most important aspect of staying afloat is maintaining and preaching the mission of your brand. Customer service, unique and gracious offerings with every packed order, a personable experience that will last longer than the shirt material itself; these are a few things that brands should strive for. In terms of product identity, it’s been said time and time again- offer something that can’t be found anywhere else. This is one of the hardest things to do- offering new products that aren’t like any other line requires discovering who you’re marketing your product to in the first place; once you’ve done this, start planning on ways of supplying the demand that is out there.

Prestigious Clothing

Coty: You’re preparing to release a new line of tees. What about the new line has got you excited? Did you collaborate with any artists on any of the designs? When should we expect to see the new line and why are they not available for presale?

William: Ah yes, the long awaited early February release! This has got me extremely excited and anxious at the same time. This will be a three-design release, and it is largely significant because it marks the first “line” ever released by Prestigious- prior to now, new designs would come out one at a time, sporadically and without notice. This has been promoted and has the community excited and wanting to see what’s coming- but only a handful of people very close to me have seen it- myself and the designer/printer included. Jimmy Heartcore, of Heartcore Clothing and printmytees.com fame, designed this line and will be performing the printing of each piece. This line will be for sale in bundle and individual design form (the bundle, or course, will provide substantial savings). By the 10th of February, this design will be unveiled in full form, all for sale and ready to ship. I decided against a preorder for a number of reasons, one of which was that I did not want to sneak peak the line publicly until the day of the release- it is somewhat of an experiment since I’ve done preorders in the past. I want to see how this line takes to everyone since after ordering; each customer will actually have his or her merchandise within 3 business days in hand. Preorders are not history for Prestigious, but this line will not be available for preorder sale whatsoever.

Prestigious Clothing

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Linty Fresh Live Chat #3

Linty Fresh’s Eric Terry announced the date for the 3rd of his Linty Fresh live chats. He’ll be available once more, Sunday January 25, to answer any questions you might have live via ustream. He’ll also have a special guest this time around, a friend and SEO specialist. This should be great for those of you wondering how you can best optimize your blog or online store for search engines like Google. It’s a two hour live show, so come ready with questions to ask, bring some snacks and get ready to gain some knowledge!

Linty Fresh Live Chat #3

Linty Fresh Live Show #2 Review

Online video chat by Ustream

Eric did a great job with his second Linty Fresh live show! There were about 40-50 viewers watching the live feed the entire time which is a great turn out. For those of you who missed the show and want to watch it check out the embed above. I’ve also provided a transcript of the show below, for those of you who rather not watch the full 2 hours, or just missed a few questions, or just like text better. Thanks again, Eric!

The following Q&A was taken from the Linty Fresh Live Show #2. I had to type really fast so they are not direct quotes. But it’s as close as I could get. Enjoy with tea and a comfy tee!

Is it a good idea to use models for product shots or not?

Difficult to use models every month so very hectic. Can be flexible, time wise, if you don’t use models. More professional to use models and people may be more likely to purchase your product.

What do you use for your newsletters?

I use campaignmonitor.com to keep people in touch. Don’t over do it or it will be ignored like SPAM.

Do you change your style when doing commission work?

Yes, like to keep the LINTY FRESH style for LINTY FRESH.

How do I define LINTY FRESH’s target demographic?

Online: Guys 15 to mid to late 30’s. In person I sell more to the ladies, between tweens and 30’s. Girls less likely to buy things online vs. guys. Hipster scene if I needed to classify it, though a lot of people enjoy it.

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