How did you begin 2022? Perhaps you made some well-meaning New Year’s Resolutions, or set a few solid intentions for the months to come. Here at Browns, we wanted to focus on the theme of gratitude, starting the year with a celebration of the designers we love and the things they care about. Still, we’re not ones for gratitude journaling, preferring instead to wear our hearts on our sleeves - or rather, our gratitude on our chests. Thus “Gra-T-tude” was born, a collection of tees created in collaboration with JW Anderson, Martine Rose, Bethany Williams, Robyn Lynch and Spencer Phipps. Below, the designers tell us more.
Can you tell us about the t-shirt you’ve designed for the capsule?
Martine Rose: My son coloured in a motif from an old season print we did for the label, and his name on the tee is written below by my daughter. We customised existing classic Martine Rose scribble logo t-shirts by printing the new artwork on the inside. Rather than producing more, instead we reinvented stock we already had.
Robyn Lynch: My tee is adapted from a t-shirt my mum got in Mallorca on her first holiday in 1981. We were asked to focus on the idea of sustainability and gratitude when designing our Gra-T-tude tee, and one of the best ways to achieve sustainability in fashion is to give your clothes a good life and hold onto them. This T-shirt embodies all that. It was handed down to me and my sisters, and we still wear to this day.
I drew over the artwork from the original T-shirt and re-coloured it in the tones of the Irish flag. I then crossed out Mallorca and wrote Ireland in my own handwriting. It’s a celebration of hand-me-downs, memories and, of course, Ireland. The T-shirt is silkscreen printed in Peckham, and the cotton is enzyme-washed to give it a worn feel. It’s also responsibly sourced and made in a living-wage factory.
Jonathan Anderson: My kind of mantra [during lockdown] was “Keep looking up”. That’s the message I wanted to pass along.
Who or what are you grateful for?
Robyn Lynch: For my housemate! For allowing me to run the brand from our flat for the last few years… I am also grateful to be moving into a studio in 2022!
Martine Rose: My children. This was the starting point for the design idea. When thinking about the theme of gratitude, our team’s thoughts immediately turned to family, especially as we completed this project during lockdown.
Jonathan Anderson: During lockdown in London, work was always quite busy, but with less travel I had a bit more time to just reflect.
Spencer Phipps: There is so much I am grateful for that it would be impossible to focus one just one thing. This shirt is a sort of overview - science, the earth, my California roots, love, joy, peace, the general good vibes of the universe and of course… trees.
Bethany Williams: We are grateful for the members of the Bethany Williams family, our network of makers, and the social projects we support. Each organization represents an incredible support system and we're grateful for the work they do to tackle social issues, promote craft and foster an equitable and nurturing working environment.
What’s the best way to express gratitude?
Bethany Williams: However small or large the gesture may be, the acknowledgement should be selfless, honest and heartfelt, showing support and solidarity for something or someone you respect.
Spencer Phipps: Saying thank you and meaning it can go a long way.
Robyn Lynch: It doesn’t always have to be financial - giving back by sharing knowledge and skills can be just as impactful.
What’s one way you’d like to give back this year?
Bethany Williams: We give 20% of our profits back to charity in the hope of making a material change in the community. Our efforts over the past few seasons have been focused on The Magpie Project and the incredible work they are doing to support mothers and children living in temporary accommodation in Newham.
Spencer Phipps: A very simple thing I am working on is to try and not only express my gratitude better to everyone and everything in my life, but to openly seek out opportunities where I am able to give back or help others to be their best selves.
Robyn Lynch: I have been applying to volunteer at the London Irish Center. Giving back whilst also getting a little slice of home!
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