The Making of The First Premium Groovy Kaiju Apparel

The Making of The First Premium Groovy Kaiju Apparel

It all started when the idea of me making premium apparel got a 80% positive vote in the Kaiju Club & Kaiju Cave survey! And, someone let me know in particular that they appreciate clothes that are "made in the USA that uses sustainable practices"!  😇

So! I went to WORK haha! You probably saw my e-mail about my fit pics right? Well, that was the side effect of me doing research on Reddit and Youtube for figuring out how premium clothes are made, and what make some clothes better than others! In the process of learning how to make good clothes, I lowkey got some style tips for myself, so thank YOU haha! 😂🙏

Anyways, I figured out that to make a REALLY good shirt, it comes down to:

1. Find a great T-Shirt blank (Or in other words, the fit and feel of the actual fabric that the design is printed on)
2. Find the right print method that won't fade or tear, and the right printer to do it (Or in other words, HOW you apply the design to the fabric makes a HUGE difference in the lifespan of the design on the clothes)

Step One: Finding a Great T-Shirt blank

So, for step one, me and my girlfriend (because I wanted to make sure the shirts work for more than only my build) literally bought every shirt blank I could find that seemed like it could match our criteria mentioned above! I found them either from recommendations from friends, Streetwear YouTube and Reddit threads, or sustainable fashion blogs. Here's a picture of me trying ALL of the shirts, and a screenshot of the spreadsheet with some of the results haha! 😅​​​​​​​

A BUNCH of T Shirts with a spreadsheet of testing results

Pretty much, I tested them for how they felt (like both when you touch them and when you wear them), how durable they felt (like if it got caught on a bush, would it tear?), how the shirt fit (like did they make our bodies look good in them?), how comfortable they were (like could I spend all day lounging around the house with the shirt?), and of course I tested them before AND after washing them! And we found the winner to be ascolour! 😁🎉

I found ascolour through a recommendation through All Hell Breaks Loops, and it's actually the same shirt blank we use for our local Los Angeles Future Funk Show: Crystal Nostalgia! We've sold like over 100 of these shirt blanks for Crystal Nostalgia merch, and people LOVE them! In fact, I often times will go to other shows in the L.A area, and I'll see people wearing them all over town! 😎🎉

But! Let me say I made SURE to do my homework on ascolour! They are a brand based out of New Zealand, and they champion many sustainability practices like: Better Cotton Initiative, Responsible Sourcing, Transparent & Traceable Supply Chains, and more! And even the third party sustainable clothing journal "Good On You" cites that they: use eco-friendly materials, have a "Code of Conduct that covers all of the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles", and they "(have) a project to improve wages in its supply chain". 😁

However, I will admit there were some points missing: I was hoping to find a brand that was US based per the feedback above, but I felt like ascolour had an overall better shirt quality compared to the US based bella+canvas (my second choice), and Good on You does mention some things ascolour could do to improve their sustainability. However, per the Good on You rating guide they say that ascolour is in the top 15% of good sustainable practices of ALL of the 1,000+ companies they've reviewed! 🤔😎

So, for the ALL of the positive points made above, I felt like ascolour was THE right choice to move forward since it hit most of the points for our Groovy Kaiju premium apparel going forward! 😁🎉

(And lowkey, between you and me, it was the most expensive T-Shirt blank I tested, but hey, in this case you DEFINITELY get what you pay for haha! 😅)

Step Two: Finding the Right Print Method, and the Right Printer

So for this step, it really came down to A LOT of research and understanding! 🤔

Really there's three popular ways to make a design on a shirt: Direct to Garment (DTG), Direct to Film (DTF) Heat Transfers, and Screen Printing! 👀

If you happen to already have one of my Groovy Kaiju shirts (if so, thank you SOOOO much), it was made with the Direct to Garment method! I was using a print on demand service connected to the Oceanfront Online store to make that happen! 😁🙏

While, Direct to Garment has it's pros like: Full color designs, quick and easy to make, low cost, you can make just one per order! But! The HUGE con for me is that you have to be very gentle with how you wash and dry them. As someone whose bought A LOT of shirts from the internet, I've had a ton of shirts where the design got messed up because I accidentally dried it on high and the design like melted off. That's the downside of Direct to Garment! 😭

In fact, now that we have these premium shirts, I went ahead and removed ALL of the Groovy Kaiju Print on Demand Direct to Garment shirts! Going forward I want us both to know that whatever new merch we make, that we're all going to be ABSOLUTELY stoked on based on both my feelings, and what we learn together from email replies and the Kaiju Club or Kaiju Cave Survey! 😁🙏

So to avoid that issues of Direct to Garment, you most likely want to go with Direct to Film, or Screen Printing. And for this premium shirt, I went with Screen Printing!

Screen Printing is like THE standard for printing designs on shirts, and any shirt you got from a big brand, it's most likely Screen Printed! This method fixes the cons of Direct to Garment, but the con of Screen Printing is that you have to buy in bulk, and you can only use so many colors on your design (as it's a TON more work for the screen printer for each color you have).

Thankfully, because of YOUR support, I can finally do an order of shirts big enough that we can do Screen Printing, that way we can achieve our goal of what we would both hopefully consider a premium shirt! 🙏🎉🙏🎉🙏🎉

Lastly, to find the screen printer and shirt blank provider, I wanted to make sure it was someone in the US to at least try to match the feedback we got in the Kaiju Club survey as close as possible! 👀😁

One of the upsides of living in L.A and being a musician or creator, is that there are a TON of suppliers out here that support the fashion AND music industry here in L.A! And after reaching out to a bunch of suppliers, the one I chose was Overcast Merch! On their website Overcast Merch claims to have worked with some of me and my homies favorite bands like Silverstein and The Devil Wears Prada! And lowkey lowkey lowkey, between you and me, when I picked up the Groovy Kaiju shirts, I saw on their shipping dock that they made the tour shirts for ericdoa , who I absolutely LOVE haha! 🤯😁🎉

And, they absolutely KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK with the print on these shirts! They did my little Groovy Kaiju Signature pocket print at the PERFECT size, and the Groovy Kaiju on the back looks STUNNING! Here's some more pictures of the final result:

Hanging Shirt Front Outside on a Tree
Hanging Shirt Back Outside on a Tree


If you're reading this around the launch of this shirt, please visit your Kaiju Cave update to grab the shirt! Otherwise, feel free to check out the Oceanfront Online Store using the links at the top of this website to see if this is still available for you to pick up! 😁😎🦖🙏👕🎉

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