Apparel and Custom Clothing Information

Tara Zanzig

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How Screen Print Companies Can Change The World

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Tue, Aug, 21, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

Not to get all Whitney on you, but “I believe the children are the future.” As babies are born and kids grow up, new generations take their turn at running our planet. Future innovation and invention in every industry belongs to the youth of today. For this reason, it’s the adults of today that are responsible for giving kids as much opportunity to explore, grow, and experience as we possibly can.

You may have picked up on some of the excited chatter about our summer t-shirt design and print class. In case you didn’t, here’s the skinny: Marwen, Sharprint, and M&R partnered up to bring screen printing to a group of 13 high school students. Marwen is a center offering free visual art classes and college and career support for students in grades 6-12. M&R is the world’s foremost manufacturer of screen printing equipment for the graphic and textile industries, and we are the screen printers.

I developed a course to teach students how to design and print t-shirts from concept to production. The first 8 days were spent at Marwen learning the basics of industry standard design software, textile specific design considerations, and color separation. Marwen is amazing in it’s mission to provide young people with art education despite race, gender, or economic factors and the facilities are incredible. The classroom was ideal to teach the Adobe programs and design principles. The last two days were at Sharprint where the students experienced the printing process - hands-on. Big thanks to M&R for helping us set up our classroom, complete with press for the students to print their shirts.

I have to say the last two days in the shop were the most fun. All of the theory, talk, and computer work came together. Seeing the screens being made, coating screens, visiting the ink room. The puzzle pieces were put together one by one and there were a lot of ah-hah moments. The kids really loved setting up their press, pulling the squeegees and printing their shirts. The pride and satisfaction was totally visible. A handful of kids even said that they wish they could work at Sharprint!

On a personal level, I wasn’t exposed to screen printing and print making until well after high school and once I was...wow! Screen printing just rocked my world. The process and aesthetic, the science and beauty are all things that engaged me in a way that only screen printing does. Giving young people skills as a tool or outlet may take them down a path they might not have come across. Whether it’s printing for fun, printing for a living, or impacting society like Andy Warhol or Shepard Fairy, the kids in the Marwen class now have screen printing experience. It’s another option for them to be who they want to be.

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Topics: screen printing, Student Courses, Marwen, M&R

Youth Summer Screen Printing Program

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Mon, Jul, 16, 2012 @ 08:07 AM

This summer, Sharprint Custom Clothing is partnering with Marwen and the M&R Companies to share the love of t-shirt design and print with Chicago youth.

Sharprint, has been a manufacturer of decorated apparel for over 25 years and is Chicago’s premier screen printer. Marwen is a center offering free visual art classes and college and career support. M&R is the world’s foremost manufacturer of screen printing equipment for the graphic and textile industries.

Sharprint’s creative director, Tara Zanzig developed a course to teach students how to design and print t-shirts from concept to production. Process is the emphasis of the program, not product. Engaging students in what they are creating and with each other is more important that the resulting t-shirts. Zanzig says, “We want to provide the students with a safe environment to explore and express their ideas. Working collaboratively helps get students beyond their comfort zone and can really facilitate growth and creativity.”

At Marwen, the students will learn the basics of industry design software, textile specific design considerations,  and color separation. The students will collaborate in teams to create Chicago themed designs to go into production

M&R is working hand-in-hand with Sharprint, designing and building an onsite student workshop. The final two days of the two week course will be held at Sharprint where the students will learn all aspects of screen print manufacturing and print their own designs. The final day of class will also feature guest speaker, Jake Nickell, founder of Threadless.com.

Manager of Studio Programs, Shirley Alfaro expressed that, “Marwen is excited to partner with Sharprint and Tara. With the generous support of the entire Chicago community, Marwen is celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year and by having our young people create Chicago t-shirts is truly heartfelt.”

The course runs from July 23 to August 3. An art exhibit showcasing the final pieces from Marwen’s entire summer program will be held at Marwen from 5-7 on September 28, 2012.

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Topics: summer program, youth program

Art and Artists Impacting the Environment

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Fri, Jul, 13, 2012 @ 14:07 PM

A study conducted by the Field Museum in 2008 identified the arts as “fundamental ways through which people connect to issues of all kinds, including the natural environment." Art is a great medium for communication and communication is key in correcting and improving environmental conditions on the decline.

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3 Keys To Maintaining Brand Consistency On Promotional Products

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Wed, Jul, 11, 2012 @ 08:07 AM

Consistent brand identity is non-negotiable no matter how many different products you are ordering. When it comes to custominzing, each technique is it's own medium with very different qualities. Screen printing, digital printing, embroidery, and pad printing all have their own look and feel resulting from the process. How can you make sure the company handling your customization can maintain your brand?

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Topics: promotional products, brand consistency

How To Get Your Summer Graphic T-shirts

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Tue, Jul, 03, 2012 @ 10:07 AM

Yay for summer! Lots of fun things to do and I'd even venture to say everything is a little more fun when you get a t-shirt to go with it! Whether it's a shirt to commemorate a company picnic or team shirts to support a friend running a race, it's likely you will think "we should have some shirts made," at some point this summer. The t-shirts can be funny, cool, sporty, and as elaborate or simple as you like depending on the occassion.

Ordering t-shirts with a unique graphic is really pretty simple, but if you've never done it before, you might not know where to start. Before you call up your local print shop, there are some things you might want to consider.

1. Shirt Style

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Topics: summer graphic t-shirts, summer, custom t-shirts

Reusable Grocery Totes: Sustainable Wave of the Future

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Wed, Jun, 27, 2012 @ 08:06 AM

Time to start stocking up on some reusable grocery totes! It's a good idea for some obvious reasons. Plastic grocery bags aren't able to be recycled, so 90% of them end up in landfills. Most plastic grocery bags are made from polyethylene, a byproduct of petroleum and natural gas. Both are nonrenewable resources that create more greenhouse gases and increase our dependency on foreign oil.

In the not so distant future, paper, plastic or "other" might not be your decision to make, or you could end up paying more if you want to use plastic bags. Los Angeles recently banned plastic grocery bags to be rolled out over 16 months. Additionally, there will be an additional charge to use paper bags supplied by the grocery stores. Maryland's Montgomery County is one of many to introduce a fee for using plastic bags.

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Topics: reusable grocery totes, grocery totes, organic material

Custom Products for Your Yoga Studio

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Thu, Jun, 21, 2012 @ 13:06 PM

Retail areas in yoga studios are becoming the norm. Studios are making it convenient for yoga practitioners to get props like straps, blocks, mats, and - you guessed it - yoga clothes! American yogis spend over 5.7 million dollars a year on classes and products. For most studios that have a retail area, it accounts for 10-20% of overall sales. T-shirts and practice clothes with your studio's name and/or logo on them can be great for promotion and additional studio revenue, however keeping the retail area profitable does take a little business savvy.

Starting Out. Notice what the students wear and use. Have they asked you for recommendations on places to get props or apparel? These are indicators of what people will actually buy. It's a good idea to use half of the profit generated through sales to replenish stock.

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Are You Wearing UV Protective Clothing This Summer Season?

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Fri, Jun, 01, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

Yay for spring! The warmer weather and longer days have many of us outside for bike rides, BBQs, summer festivals, and countless other outdoor activities. It’s important to remember to use sunscreen, of course, but did you know your clothing can also increase your protection from the sun?

All fabrics protect us from those ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause sunburn, wrinkles, and can cause cancer to a certain extent. The clothing that does the best job carries Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) value. Folks that rarely get a sunburn on skin covered by clothing may not need to be concerned with the UPF value of their clothing, but fair skinned people, kids, and people spending extended periods of time in high elevations, near the equator, or around water or snow may benefit from clothing with a high UPF rating.

UPF ratings are similar to SPF ratings that we associate with sunscreens. They range from 15 (good) to 50+ (excellent). There are a variety of factors that contribute to the effectiveness of fabrics blocking the harmful UV rays.

Dense, tight construction - weaves or knits - tend to have higher UPF ratings because there is minimal space between the yarns. Very tightly woven garments with high UPF ratings will use vents to aid air circulation.

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Topics: uv protective clothing, summer clothing

Screen Print Art Show & Beer Tasting to Benefit MS Society

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Wed, Apr, 25, 2012 @ 11:04 AM



What's better than screen printed posters and beer? Screen printed posters and beer for a good reason.

Screens 'N' Suds began in 2009 as a collaboration between Brian Gearing, Sam Verrill and Ric Hersh. The yearly beer and screen print poster event started out in Richmond, Va and is making it's debut in Chicago with the help of Andrew Lautner and Matt Herakovich. All proceeds from Screens 'N' Suds table along with door donations go to The National MS Society.

The timing couldn't be more perfect. Chicago's beer inspired art show and tasting will be on the eve of the infamous Dark Lord Day. Expect to see prints from the likes of Pollock Prints, Screwball Press, and more of your favorite Chi-town poster artists. Sharprint will be printing up some t-shirts designed especially for the event. Breweries representing will be Goose Island, Metropolitan, and Breckenridge for starters.

There's more folks...check this out:
For the week leading up to the event, stop in Nightwood Restaurant for special plates that will also benefit MS Society. If you haven't been there - now is the perfect opportunity. Soooo delicious.

Here's the skinny on the art show & tasting:
Friday, April 27 from 6-11
@ Pilsen Social Club
1804 South Racine - 4th Floor
$5 suggested donation
DJ Pikel Per

Come on out. Drink some beer. Get some art. 

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Interview with Designer Julie Pinzur on Design & Inspiration

Posted by Tara Zanzig on Wed, Apr, 04, 2012 @ 09:04 AM


If you aren’t familiar with the work of Julie Pinzur or Mokuyobi Threads, it’s likely you will be in the near future. We scored an interview with Julie, founder of Mokuyobi Threads, to gain some insight into how she thinks and works. Her creations are clever and bright, refreshing and completely original. Go figure - so is she. 

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Topics: Julie Pinzur

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