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How We Make A Wildflower Tee

Our Wildflower tees have changed and developed so much in our few of years in business. Manufacturing apparel is a massive operation, its slow and very expensive, particularly while we are striving to create the absolute highest quality apparel while keeping as ethical and sustainable practices as possible.

But here it is, an in-depth look into the creation of a Wildlfower tee from ideation to production, this is how we do it...

1. Design Week

Twice a year we officially announce Design Week. Design Week is one of my favourite parts of what we do here at Wildflower, it is a week dedicated to nothing but coming up with the next season's apparel.

Designs, shapes, stories, colours and all things Wildflower apparel begin right here!

Design Week always starts slow, I like to dedicate a whole day to coming up with ideas and write them all down, the goal is to know that 99% of them won't make it onto a tee, but you just have to create space for your mind to get creative.

The question I ask in this process is: What do we want to say?

Next, we get designing; once we have narrowed down our favourite ideas (again, these still aren't necessarily making it onto a tee) we start forming them, looking at inspiration moodboards that have been collated over the last few months, and honestly, just messing around with ideas until they just start to fall into place.

The rest of design week is exactly this, we try and focus in on 4 designs and messages that we love and want to pursue further and we try and get to a stage ready to start mocking up onto a shirt, this is days of just making, and remaking, and tweaking, and recolouring until we believe they're ready.

Our brand Wildflower is a small business, we are a cafe and retail store in a small city in Australia run by myself and my wife. There is no design team, no COO, ideation team, promotions and marketing, communications.. just us, and it's great!

But this is why design week is necessary, to drop everything and focus on design.

2. Tech Packs

Design Week is over and we are back in the real world again, in-store running Wildflower Space, and we'll be working on these tech packs for the next couple of weeks.

A tech pack is essentially composing all the information necessary for the manufacturer to be able to create the tees all in one place. Our Wildflower Tee tech packs include drawings, measurements (lots of measurements), fabrics, colours, codes, finer details, tags and anything else you may need to create a shirt from absolutely nothing.

Once these are sent to our manufacturer there is a few more weeks worth of back and forth, asking and answering questions and sharing ideas on how to make the dreams a reality.

Tech packs look a little something like this.

3. Samples and more Samples

Woah, where'd that last month go!

Samples are a big part of the process, like I said, it's slow and expensive.

First of all we'll receive a print samples which are (hopefully) the final print on the correct fabric but it's not a shirt yet, just a square of offset material.

We can see it in person, hold it in our hands, stretch it and and finally check that it all looks and feel exactly as it should.

We give feedback and there may still need to be further samples made in this process to get exactly the look you're trying to achieve.

Finally, the pre-production samples, this IS a single version of the actual tee. This is our last opportunity to make any changes, wear them, and make sure this is the exact tee we want to produce. A very exciting and equally scary time!

Once these are approved we organise with our manufacturer to start the bulk production.

This includes one of the hardest parts of the whole process which is the quantities and size breakdown for each colour and design.

4. Product

The final stage is receiving the final product.

The bulk manufacture process is at least a couple of months, then we decide what kind of shipping we need to receive them at our home (because we absolutely do not have a warehouse)

This is the process for a Wildflower Tee, there are so many ways to go about making a t-shirt and this is ours, we are still SO early in the apparel game, literally only 2 years in. I am really excited to think about myself reading this article many years into the future and laughing at how things have changed and progressed over time.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, we work really hard to create a high quality product, we want your Wildflower tee to be your favourite tee in your wardrobe, we want our designs to tell a story and share a message.

The apparel manufacturing world is riddled with opportunities to save money, time and cut corners but ethical production is a particular priority of ours. We communicate closely with our factory, I speak to them daily at the moment as I am currently working on our 2023 season, I can't wait to see how we can continue to improve this process over time and continue to one-up ourselves year after year.

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