What is Surfing #32: It’s NOT t-shirts ( a DIY perspective)
For a long time now I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a post titled “Surfing is not a T-shirt” and I’ve wavered back and forth in the approach. Our philosophy in choosing subject matter has always been to be optimistic. Put simply, surfing is the act of riding waves. Fashion, specifically the surf t-shirt that has become a de-facto aspect of our identity as surfers, is NOT surfing. We do not have to purchase the latest t-shirt from the current hip label to feel like surfers. And if we avoid that single purchase we will not be contributing to poor labour practices, single bottom line business policies, and the over enrichment of the multi-national shareholders of said “surfing” conglomerates.
We have tried to cover gear that strives to be more socially and environmentally responsible -items such as boards, blanks, wax, wetsuits, etc. The sad reality is that the surf apparel industry plays an exponentially larger role as far as negative impact goes than all of those product categories combined. Some of the worst working conditions for workers in developing countries are in the apparel industry, better known as sweat shops.
It is fairly easy to source blank fair trade and/or organic t-shirts to rock your own designs, so in the spirit of the do it yourself traditions and with a middle finger extended to the surfing t-shirt I decided to make my own surf t-shirt. All it took was a little work to make a stencil and a few simple supplies, which I’ll be able to use for several designs. I purchased a plain v-neck from American Apparel for this project as they offer consumers a product made with fair labour. The subject is a spot that I surfed a few years ago on the Big Island. I realize that the design is not particularly of artistic merit, however those of you with more artistic inclinations than me will have no problem in doing much better.
- t-shirt (made in the USA and socially responsible)
- a small bottle of black fabric ink (it also comes in spray can)
- clear plastic for stenciling
- a paper image for cutting out the stencil
- some sort of adhesive spray to stick the stencil on the fabric while painting
- scissors, paint brush, tape, razor or razor knife
So get out there and make your own art. And don’t be a walking billboard for some company who could care less about your surfing existence.