Don't you just love it when you're rocking a new shirt and people keep asking where you got it? We do too. But do you really know where your shirt came from? For just over five years now, Nothing Too Fancy has been putting locally designed art on t-shirts and offering something a little different to the East Tennessee community – shirts that reflect the “Scruffy Little City” we love and what it’s like to be a local, even if you’re not. When our customers visit the store, the t-shirts are all (hopefully!) folded in neat stacks along rows of tables, but each of those shirts has already been on quite a journey to reach this point. Our awesome customers are always asking lots of questions about our t-shirts and how they come to be, and since we’ve recently seen some exciting changes, now feels like the right time to tell you a little bit about where your favorite t-shirt comes from.
In the last year, it’s been our privilege to finally begin printing on Allmade t-shirts – they’re still that soft, vintage feeling t-shirt that you’ve come to know and love from us, but with something extra. The Allmade brand was founded through the collective effort of a screen print supply company and ten screen printing businesses across the United States – and we’re proud to say that group includes us! After a trip to Haiti, the founding members of Allmade decided that this was the opportunity to make a difference in an industry that is harsh on both the people that work within it and the environment. You can read the stats on their site about causes being addressed by Allmade – they really set out to make a difference, and they’re doing it in more ways than one. Organic cotton grown in the USA, polyester made of plastic bottles from landfills, and modal sourced from sustainably harvested beech trees make up the fabric that is then cut and sewn for ethical, living wages in Haiti.
Meanwhile in Knoxville, we’re working with over a dozen local designers to dream up the perfect t-shirt designs. Sometimes a design starts with a specific request or idea from us, and sometimes our designers send us something completely their own – from there, we decide on exactly the right color combinations of ink and fabric. After all that is decided, shirts are ordered and sent to The Nothing Too Fancy Print Shop. There, water-based inks are mixed by hand to achieve just the right color and designs are burned onto screens.
Shirts are carefully placed on the press for printing and then sent through a dryer to cure the ink before finally being folded up and brought to our little store on Union Avenue. After that comes the best part: you come in and find your new favorite wear-it-to-death t-shirt. There’s nothing better than seeing people out and about loving Knoxville and wearing our shirts!
Do you love East Tennessee? Stop in and see us on Union Avenue if you’re in town – and if not, no worries, you can order your favorite t-shirt right here on our website. Thanks for shopping local, y’all!