As a clothing printing agency in the UK, we strive to create useful content for our readers. As you know, we write a lot about printed t-shirts, and also about creative marketing. Every now and again we like to blur the line between these to present the creative minds behind the t-shirt revolution.
So here it is: an exclusive interview with the t-shirt designer based out of Barcelona: Pablo Serrano.
Pablo is the founder of Cavenga, an online printed t-shirts ‘creative wear’ website. His printed t-shirts are smart, and they’re bringing new light to a worn medium (no pun intended).
We sat down with Pablo to try to present the man, the vision, and the product for our readers.
Here it is, in full.
So how did you become a t-shirt designer?
For a long time I’ve worked doing curated projects for agencies and as a freelance designer. Being a designer means that often times you leave your comfort zone, bringing you into contact with t-shirts, websites, logos, etc.
I liked doing this kind of work, but I had the feeling that I was putting so much effort into somebody else’s brand, and for so little recompense. Clients did not always want the quality I was looking for, and that always turned me off. I wanted to work for something where I could put in all that effort to see people happy, having something well-designed, where I could oversee the quality of the products and offer special stuff myself.
Since I love fashion, I realized I could bring these two passions together. I became a t-shirt designer. I put the Cavenga website together. Now, I’m seeing my dreams manifest.
Who or what are your influences for your t-shirt designs?
I always take pictures of what surrounds me. I like the club style in London and Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, Zurich, and Amsterdam. I take pictures of what I see in those places. I am always buying magazines and fanzines in the cities I go to, then I review them when I design t-shirts, just to get out of my comfort zone and get into doing something unique.
Where are you based, and what’s it like for a creative person there?
All the design and production is based in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona is an immensely creative city, lively and young. I feel that a designer thrives here because of it.
Cavenga… tell us about that name for our UK readers
The name Cavenga comes from a documentary called “Poto and Cabengo”. They’re two sisters who speak in an invented language, and are unable to speak in their native tongue. I used this name because just as in the documentary, I search for an alternate and bizarre reality from two normal inputs.
Tell us a little bit about your stock.
Each collection fo mine is limited to 333 pieces. Once orders reach 333 production pieces of a single design, I no longer print more t-shirts of that model. This creates originality, uniqueness. If ever these shirts explode in terms of popularity, wearers will no that only so many of their designs exist.
The t-shirts are of very high quality. 100% cotton, natural and ecological, without any hindrance for any t-shirt enthusiasts with allergies. All the cuts of my t-shirts are American.
The truth is that I strive to find a combination between American street and European sophistication to create smart, agile printed t-shirts that are universal, that call attention and are attractive. Isn’t that what a t-shirt designer ought to strive toward?
So you have multiple collections?
Each collection is based on a unique creative concept. The concept is planted, the system structured, and from there, we apply creativity to create the designs based on the garment’s form. What’s important to remember is that each design will only have those 333 printed t-shirts… this is crucial to the over concept of my work.
Which of your t-shirts is your personal favourite?
I love all my t-shirts; they’re like my children. I see them grow when I am designing them, and therefore they are a part of me. It is hard to have a personal favourite. If I have to choose, I’d pick Metkunde because it was the first one I designed, and Dubel Beld since it was the lastest I have made so far and the design turned out to be marvelous.
What kind of t-shirt printing do you use and why?
I use textile screen printing. You get the best quality printing in cotton with this technique. Most full-printed t-shirts use sublimation and are made out of lycra, but I do not want to use sublimation on lycra since the t-shirts won’t last more than three months. I don’t make t-shirts that break quickly, forcing you to go back and buy a new one. I use screen printing because I want the designs to last long. Good t-shirt design is also ethical production. I do not believe in low-cost, cheap-to-manufacture and cheap-to-sell. A fair society does not grow in such an environment.
Where can I get your t-shirts shipped to?
At the moment we sell in Portugal and Spain, even though this year we’ll start selling in France, Belgium, Luxemburg and Switzerland. And yeah, I hope we to sell our printed t-shirts in the UK, too!
What can we expect from you in the future?
Up next I’m going to complete a collection of t-shirts and sweaters you can wear in an office but still look creative.
I am also preparing different kinds of clothes like scarfs and socks for this upcoming winter.
Now, I am looking for partners in the rest of Europe to bring Cavenga to France, Switzerland, the UK, Italy, Belgium, The Nederlands, etc. It is hard to be a designer and at the same time an entrepreneur. Luckily, when I see people wearing Cavenga, all the headaches I get from doing so many things disappear; they show me it’s all worth it.