Monthly Archives: November 2013

Giving Tuesday – Giving is Good for You

We all know that Black Friday can make or break a retail season. We get that and wish you the best for your business. But Giving Tuesday can make or break you in another way. Giving is good for you. It’s good for business and good for your health!

barry-chouinardThis is the time of year when we look closer at giving and gratefulness. Though our charitable-giving-hero and boss, Barry Chouinard, presents an excellent example of giving and community involvement year round, we follow him most closely this time of year.

We found an organization that could lead the charge for your company as Barry does for ours: Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season.  It happens every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, the second annual GivingTuesday is on December 3, 2013. In the same way that retail stores take part in Black Friday, GivingTuesday gives the giving community a chance to come together and magnify its impact.

“It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Be a part of a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.” Learn more about how you can participate.

We are in a fortunate position to help make the holidays happier for others. Let’s do it!

Cheers!

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T-Shirt Design, the Holidays, and the Creative Process

The countdown to Hanukkah and Thanksgiving has got us all thinking about food, family and all the things we’re not supposed to talk about at the dinner table, especially during the holidays. Politics and faith top the list, followed closely by sex and money. Medical talk vies for a spot near the top of the list as does talk about digestion (“This green bean casserole is going to go right through me” is a definite no no). This leaves the creative process. A popular conversation topic for all – especially when it comes to T-shirt design!

warholHow are we inspired? How do we get from the original idea to the completed artwork? Is it an original idea? Is any idea original? The list goes on and on well beyond the dessert course of the meal and into after dinner drinks.

Wikipedia defines creativity this way: “Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is created…The range of scholarly interest in creativity includes a multitude of definitions and approaches involving several disciplines; psychology, cognitive science, education, philosophy…technology, theology, sociology… economics…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creativity) It looks like Wikipedia is bringing us dangerously close to some of our aforementioned banned dinner conversation topics. Which brings the conversation back to t-shirt design.

Historically, t-shirts were just undershirts exposed. It was not until the 1950’s that they sported designs, these were primarily Disney characters. In the 1960’s t-shirts were all about tie-dye and free love. The 1970’s t-shirt loved rock-and-roll. In the 1980’s, the white t-shirt became popular again thanks to Don Johnson and Miami Vice. The 80’s also saw the birth of large print t-shirt slogans such as “Frankie Says Relax.” The t-shirt of the 1990’s carried logos like Nike, Adidas, etc.

As the century turned, t-shirt design turned toward the shock-factor, possibly mirroring the popularity of radio’s ‘shock jock.’ Today we see t-shirt designs that are banned in schools, the news is filled with bad t-shirt design ideas that include unrepeatable language and racism, and Wikipedia even has a list of censored t-shirts.

Hmm…In the end, maybe t-shirt design is too exciting and controversial to include in your conversation at the dinner table this holiday season. Let’s stick with things like football, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and “Please pass the gravy.”

Comfort Colors wishes you and yours happy holidays!

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Thanksgiving Meets Hanukkah And Charitable Giving

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coincide this year. For the first time in about a billion years (their last coincidence was actually 1888 and their next wont be until 2070 or thereabouts) these two food-family-lights-prayers-gratitude holidays will be celebrated simultaneously.

WoodstockThe t-shirt, apparel and design industries have had a heyday with this fortuitous union and “Thanksgivukkah” is all the rage. A favorite Thanksgivukkah T-shirt design co-opts the old Woodstock T-shirt. In the new version, a turkey sits atop the neck of the guitar. “Days of Light, Liberty and Latkes” replaces the hippie’s “3 Days of Peace and Music.”

The traditional children’s craft stenciled hand turkey (each finger represents a feather in the turkey tail, the thumb is the neck and head) doubles as the traditional children’s craft stenciled hand menorah (each finger of two hands represents one of the candles, the thumbs come together to form the shamash, or center candle). Fun all around!

As much as we love the food and the lights, the double-whammy holiday is the perfect kickoff for the season of gratitude. Giving and being grateful are universal acts that make us feel good and make the world a better place. In Jewish tradition, tzedakah (sometimes understood as charity) is the good deed that comes from our duty to help others in need. In Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and many other religions, alms-giving (also called charity) is a very strong tradition. In the Woodstock tradition…well you can let your imagination run with that one.

Whatever your tradition, Comfort Colors would like to encourage you to give. Give thanks, give help, give money. According to Forbes Magazine, giving is the “best-kept secret to a healthy life and a happy career.” Find a cause that speaks to you and become part of the conversation.

Have a terrific holiday season!

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T-shirts and Jeans go Together like Recycling and The Environment

You might think that T-shirts and jeans go together like peanut butter and jelly, Bonnie and Clyde, or maybe beer and pretzels. But recycling and the environment are a much more dynamic duo. We see jeans and t-shirts as a similarly spirited pairing.

A recent jeans recycling program called Jeans Go Green turns your worn out jeans into insulation for homes and businesses. Check out this brilliant project:

UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation … is composed of 80% recycled cotton fibers and is an environmentally safe, non-itch insulation without carcinogenic warnings, formaldehyde or chemical irritants. It provides extraordinary thermal performance and acoustically provides 30% better sound absorption than traditional fiberglass insulation….

All denim collected through the Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program is recycled into UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation, and a portion of it, up to 250,000 square feet is distributed to Habitat for Humanity affiliates and civic buildings around the country. (http://www.bluejeansgogreen.org)

Who knew your old jeans could be so warm?!t-shirt-dress

We tried to find a similar recycling program based on cotton t-shirts, but we only found creative ways to keep them around by reusing them. It seems that people are more emotionally attached to their old T-shirts.

Best among the reuse/recycle T-shirt idea sites is BuzzFeed’s Sewstacie (http://www.buzzfeed.com/sewstacie/39-ways-to-reuse-restyle-and-rewear-your-old-t-s-9gri). Among Stacie’s 39 ways, this one was the most elegant (pictured right):

Here are the full instructions in case you are feeling creative this weekend: http://www.starsforstreetlights.com/2012/04/diy-t-shirt-flower-dress.html

image credit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/http://www.flickr.com/photos/35754040@N04/6914701570/

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