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FURRY CLOTHING - ABOUT THE FULL COVERAGE T-SHIRT PROJECT

A little bit of history

First convention I ever attended was Eurofurence 20 in 2014. It was one of a kind experience – everything was so new. Peak experience for me was visiting Dealer’s Den. You could get there tons of different cool prints. One thing that stroke me – I didn’t see any full coverage (wrap around) print furry t-shirts out there. I did see plenty of t-shirts with sticker type heated print, and I think I even saw sublimation printed pillow cases, but no apparel like full print t-shirts. After some time, idea formed in my mind – I could offer those tees to the fandom! The new hobby was born, which eventually turned into a proper project.

Around 2014, full coverage print t-shirts just started to appear in the market, and they weren’t as wide spread as it is now (2022). For me it has always been about the fun, art and experience, so I decided to try something different. A friend introduced me to an amazing artist Orphen Sirius. After getting to know each other and throwing around some ideas, we ended up making designs, that were convention themed, which then I started offering people:

 

There have been many things in between, including some charity projects. Fast forward to 2019, a close friend (Manual) forced me into making proper online shop (before that I was mostly doing direct sales), and helped making it, as he saw the potential. It was easier for me to continue this, as I already had established credibility with artists I have worked with before (like Orphen Sirius, Tatii Lange, Alector Fencer, Wildering). It was easier to convince new artists to join the project.

Here we are now, making cool furry t-shirts for everyone, having a lot of different designs. You might have seen them walking around in a con, or maybe your friend has one.

The KATAPRINTS concept

Too often I have heard comments, that art should be free, that artists are doing it for fun, that it is not a real job or source of income. This notion didn’t stand well with me, so I thought, if there would be something I could do about it. There was (and every bit helps).

I have a full time job, so this project mostly falls into hobby category. Which means, I am able to do what I want and what feels right. And what I wanted to do, was to provide artists with a bit of extra income. I wouldn’t be able to just pay or sponsor artists, as I’m not one of those suspiciously wealthy furries, so I hatched the idea of partnership project, from which artists could benefit, and I could have fun. The concept – every time I sell an item with artists art, said artist gets a percentage (as much as I possibly can offer) from the sale (I think there are other similar services like that out there, but I don’t know how is it for artists to work with them). I also can work with the art, that artist already has, which means, they don’t need to spend extra time making new art on daily basis, especially if they don’t have time for that. From all the printing possibilities, I chose one of furry clothing items – t-shirts, because I like something physical that you can touch (and use). I also offer tapestries and canvas prints of different art, so that you can enjoy the art in your living quarters.  

ARTISTS

I’m very thankful to all the amazing artists, that are participating in this furry clothing related (mostly t-shirts and tapestries) project, making it fun. It is an amazing experience, ability to meet different people and a lot of splendid art to enjoy. Everyone is trying their hardest to be the very best at what they can be. Being creative is in no way an easy feat. I want to give a shout to every artist, that is a part of this project:

DESIGNS

My main focus has always been to make only full coverage t-shirts. Yes, I have the skills and technologies available to make any kind of t-shirts out there. But when I started doing this, there were hardly any full print t-shirts out there at that time, and it suck with me till this day. I just love the idea of not being limited with the expression of the art. That’s why I opted for offering only wrap around tees.

Together with friends and artists, we try to make the best of putting art properly on a t-shirt, so that end result is appealing. It has been trials and errors, and not every art is meant to be on a t-shirt. But in our overall experience – there are plenty of cool designs now, and it is very satisfactory to see people wearing them. And there are constantly new designs coming.

MATERIALS & Printing

Our furry t-shirts and tapestries are printed on 100% synthetic polyester, on the roll of raw material (we use different thickness for tees and tapestries), which is later sewn into a t-shirt or a tapestry. We use sublimation printing technology, which is the best option for our textile merchandise. By doing it this way, we can make full coverage prints, which are more detailed, and print (ink) itself is inside textile, not on it. This makes the print very durable, and not hard/crunchy (you can’t feel the print). Some people prefer cotton to synthetic polyester, some are allergic to it. We have looked into full coverage prints on cotton, but at the moment technology is not there yet for small type of orders within normal price range (starting from one piece) that we do.

There are other technologies out there, but these are the reasons why we don`t use them (most of them don’t allow printing 1 piece within decent price):

  • heat/tampo printing on ready cotton t-shirts – basically it’s gluing vinyl stickers on already made t-shirts. They feel solid, and depending on print quality and washing procedure, print can crack very soon. There are some plus sides to this of course – it is possible to add some extra elements and colors to the print (glow in the dark, gold etc.), and if it is properly made and cared of, it will last decent amount of time and washing cycles.
  • sublimation print on ready t-shirts – it is very similar to what we are doing, except for the part, that print is done on ready t-shirt (we print on raw material). Depending on the art, it can look good, but the problem with this technology is, that there will be some weird white spots, that are very hard to print on, as everything is sewn, and most likely will stay white (under armpits, collar)
  • UV and hybrid UV print – this technology has been evolving lately. Depending on equipment, big advantage is ability to print on all type of textiles, even jeans and silk. I would say at the moment it’s something between tampo and sublimation print. It is mostly meant for printing on ready items, which doesn’t work for us. UV print can be printed on raw material, but it is a bit less detailed and a bit more hard (as it ends up being on the material, not in). It works well for canvases and big tapestry orders you need fast, as there is no middle process of transfering print from paper to textile (sublimation).   
 
I’ve been working in printing industry since 2011 and have seen different technologies out there. That’s why I’ve chosen sublimation print on raw material as the most suited option for this project.

charity projects

When I attended first charity event at EF20, I had another bright idea. I could give more money to charity, if I could provide items for auctions, and give 100% of the income to charity. That would be cool, right? So that’s exactly what I did:

CUSTOM ORDERS

In the past, people have asked, if we could do a custom project, if they would provide the art. We didn’t in the beginning, but as those inquiries kept coming, we added new section in our shop. From furry clothing, we offer only full print t-shirts (we have looked into other apparel items but decided to keep doing what we are 100% sure about). Since then we do get occasional custom projects (which we don`t share on our social media), and you can see some of them in the slider on the left.

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