Screen Print is ancient, but also very modernised. Desire to see this beautiful art form in motion? You may be an existing customer of ours who’s felt the results firsthand — in your very hands — or you may be completely new to printed garments: chiefly screen printing fairs and T-shirt screen printing in London.
The medium originated 1000+ years ago in Asia, yet became popularised from the London-born Pop Art movement. But never before have they thought to show customers what usually lies behind factory walls — and whyever not? It’s mesmerizing! You may think you’ve seen everything this art form has to offer. Think again.
Before we get into Printing live, in this blog: we will look at other non-live print and fabric fairs in the huge art-factory, melting-pot city of London, England! Then we will get into the printers who make wearable art before your very eyes.
Then get your hands dirty with screen printing fairs and workshops and deskspace hire in this amazing city. And lastly, some London screen print artists that are sure to inspire you for your next garment printing project!
Prestigious London Fabric and Print Fairs
London is home to many artistic events, involving print and fabric. “Textile Events” has been organising the main textile industry events in London for over 13 years. They pride themselves in coordinating warm and welcoming, biannual fabric fairs.
The exhibits they currently run are The London Textile Fair, TexPremium, Texfusion and The London Print Design Fair. Typically numbers of 3000-5000 will flock to each event every year!
From the humble origins of meagre tables, chairs, signs and rails in two rooms, the very first London Textile Fair was launched in 2007. From then they adopted a style and concept that they still make use of today, on a much larger scale!
Since day one they have practised a strict ethos that each and every exhibitor, from manufactories large and small, be situated on an equal plateau of standard, singular tables. Which are issued on a sort of “lottery” type scheme, serving to level the playing field.
They extend this fairness even to their brochure, which holds none above the other with zero adverts. They also indulge in hiring fashion students to work the event to glean some industry experience.
#1. The London Print Design Fair
Find yourself to be a fabric fanatic? British studios travel across the globe to showcase their businesses, it’s only right to invite the world to come to their capital! Leading the print design industry, for the UK, is The London Textile Fair, which not only showcases embroidery, knit wear and vintage threads – but, of course, print design as well!
The perfect place for inspo and creative incentive, in the company of world-class studios introducing their current collections, all under one large roof. The fair is held biannually and supports over 60 international studios from US, Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand, Denmark, Switzerland and the UK.
To top this, the London Print Design Fair now has a MASSIVE Print Design Area. This gives the special opportunity for you to browse and buy at one’s leisure. Need customised garments? Need to produce merchandise? Why not indulge in being inspired by classy collections.
Alternatively, you could exhibit your work alongside passionate trend studios and premium designers. For a chance of over 5000 guests passing their eyes over your produce, seize the day, grasp this opportunity by the jugular. To exhibit your work at the next fair, contact The London Print Design Fair to book a stand by filling out a form with your details and agreeing to their terms and conditions.
London Print Design Fair Video:
A day trip may be extremely beneficial for textile students wishing to experience such an esteemed event of the industry. Better yet, if you’re just looking for design ideas best for marketing your new custom T-shirts, or straight up browsing to purchase reams of fabric for your next promotional project, this event will be teaming with creative stimuli to jog the brain.
TLPDF shares its exhibition location in The Business Design Centre with, the also prestigious, Texfusion. The nearest underground station to the shared venue is ANGEL, leaving only a short walk from there. It is also quite central and so easily accessible by car as well, and with an onsite car park of 236 spaces.
#2. Texfusion Fair
Are you a marketing manager looking to source the fabric for your next promotional project or an employer trying to think up a revamp to the ol´ plain polo work uniform? Texfusion is a trade-only exclusive show of which the general public is not invited. This means they only open their doors to businesses! It is the younger sister of TLTF, launched in 2014, dedicated to designing teams from fashion houses in search of inspo for their subsequent collection. You could join them.
In fact, it was UK buyers and chain representatives that had been begging for an international manufactures show and thus the idea for Texfusion was born — predominantly non-European, international exhibitors. Soaring ever since its launch exponentially, now including three new halls: technical fabrics, Denim and garment manufacturers.
#3. The London Original Print Fair
Another London art fair, but not one ran by “Textile Events” such as the ones above. The London Original Print Fair focuses on prints and spans five centuries. Including modern artists, but also work from masters like Matisse and Picasso.
The fair has come so far since its 1985 launch, in The Royal Academy of Arts! It began with just 16 exhibitions in the upstairs Diploma Galleries. The fair takes place here naturally as it “set[s] contemporary prints in their historical context” as with their instrumental part in art history dating back to the 15th century and further. It has always aimed to promote prints as collectables.
Fast forward to today, they showcase many different types of printmaking technique, over the years. Among these, they have a screen printing fair section that focuses on prints in that stencil-based printmaking technique.
An Ode to the Father of Screen Print
Andy Warhol’s iconic face, screen printed by Joseph Beuys in the early 80´s. (Andy, being the artist who took the Pop Art movement to New York, and who popularised silkscreen printing in modern art.) One of the many collectables present in the Original Print Fair. If you want to get into custom screen printing events, know your history!
That being said, 2020 saw history being made. The first time The London Original Print Fair was conducted online! As galleries across the globe shut their doors from late March, they created cyber exhibits and through May they were able to best the virus, creating a new way of perusing prints. Now, none of the above were specifically screen printing fairs in London, but they add to the spice of the fabric printing world in the big city.
LIVE Events + Screen Printing Fairs in London
Yet nothing compares to seeing the handiwork in person! There’s something really magical about screen print-making and watching the transformation — the swish of the squeegee, the slide of the press, observing the satisfying ooze of ink. Watching the repetition for each layer of the image as it builds up. Hearing the noises of the carousel and the tools. The old smell of years and years of history. Seeing the work go into each piece adds to the appreciation! Live screen-printing events can be found across the globe.
Live Screen Printing Fairs in London —
The London Print Club turned up to the March 2020 Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park, with a squeegee in one hand and ink pots in the other! They set up their printing carousels and prepared to print away the hours in one of London’s screen printing fairs! This live installation went on for two evenings — alongside awesome artists — creating limited edition pieces for guests.
HIT+RUN Live Screen Printing Service for Events —
Topshop is a British multinational fashion retailer with over 500 shops globally. Their headquarters is firmly based in London. For the Grand Opening events of their new shops in LA, San Diego, Houston and Amsterdam, Topshop requested that HIT+RUN screen print custom T-shirts for their guests – LIVE! – in one of their screen printing fairs with graphics that were not yet available in stores.
HIT+RUN provides a world-class live screen printing fairs service at events. On-site, guests mingle with printing-artists. Most importantly, they directly interact with the screen printing process itself, watching printers create bespoke wearable art before their eyes at a multitude of events across the planet. Although based in the US, they inform me by email that they also come to the UK (and anywhere in the world) to print for events, it’s just a matter of cost.
The Allure of LIVE Screen Printing Events
In the sea of capitalism that is festivals and events, brands can very easily get lost. However, the allure of LIVE screen printing events is proven to consistently draw large crowds of aspiring artists, gift hounds, and other demographics that are difficult to please. Live screen printing events are memorable enough to capture the hearts and minds of guests with your unforgettable brand.
If you are a brand manager attempting to produce merchandise and you want it to stand out, need I say more. What an amazing idea for any launching event, to print custom t-shirts LIVE where customers can watch the magic happen, feel part of the process — and in turn part of your company; part of something bigger than themselves, and receive a sense of belonging.
Screen Printing Deskspace at Print Club London
Looking for edgy deskspace for creatives? Print Club London offers professional spaces for designers and illustrators to use desks, screen printing machines and inks for their own art and businesses. You simply need a membership with them and preferably have completed a workshop training session, they provide several. They are always offering these fresh services!
Therefore, their studio in Millers Junction can support over 40 professionals, whether that be small groups or freelancing individuals. Typically renting a space costs £220 per month and many benefits are included!
Along with high-speed Wi-Fi, kitchen facilities, a meeting room, bike storage, CCTV, library, free gallery hire. (breath) Communal Spotify account and a postal address, there are many professional networking opportunities. Moreover, it is open also on weekends and it is dog friendly! But, on top of this, you are offered a free screen printing workshop with Print Club London and 10 monthly hours of screen-printing.
Print Club London Video:
Fabric Workshop at Print Club London
Nervous to just plunge in, guns blazing, to squeegee your way through a printing carousel? Well, with no training, so you should be! It’s very technical, and for perfectly accurate and symmetrical designs, you want to know what you’re doing. Print Club London wants you to get it right, and they want to know they can trust users of their intricate machines.
Likewise, even if you have basic printmaking training, a top-up course provided by Print Club won’t hurt. In fact, a fun and messy, hands-on day of learning — various processes from photoshop, building your screen, setting up the bay and then pulling off the design — will only secure your confidence.
In addition, an induction on screen-printing history is also provided and you must be over 18. You will go home merry and with your own design on a T-shirt or Tote Bag, and you can also choose to join the studio! If you need custom print garments what better way than to first hand understand the process. What are you waiting for? Get stuck in.
Workshop times: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Location: Print Club London, Unit 3, 10-28 Millers Avenue, London, E8 2DS
London Fabric Print Artists you Need to Meet
While as aforementioned, screen printing has been around the block for a very long time, there are also some very contemporary artists in London, staying true to tradition, using the medium to this day. Here are some London based fabric screen print artists you want to know about.
Stu Smith and His Lovenskate Scene
Did you know you can screen print on wood? Lovenskate is this innovative, East-London based, skate company who not only print on T-shirts but onto skateboards too! They truly push the art form of screen printing to the max. Whilst also displaying just how the medium makes shading pop with those fun designs.
Stu Smith hopped on a screen printer in 2001 and created the Lovenskate Studio. He was printing apparel, zines and skateboard for ulterior brands before that until he smashed it with his own skate take. “Drink tea, get rad” among some of his slogans smacks of British culture.
It has to be said that hand silk screen printing is slowly becoming a dying art. As a result, the printing form has evolved to become faster and more economic, and in so doing, the independent, one-off-quality is somewhat forfeited.
In other words, it takes a lot of extra work and time, but Lovenskate holds faithful to the old traditions with hand production. And the amazing fruits are observable in their boards, Tee´s, caps and fine art prints!
Ellie Mac’s Fabric Print Take on CHOOSE LOVE
Print Club London held a charity auction for Help Refugees charity, using Katharine Hamnett´s powerful slogan ‘CHOOSE LOVE’. Many Print Club artists got involved, showing what beautiful community spirit this club has! Ellie Mac chose to print on fabric; one screen print layer, then later adding embroidery to the design.
Hamnett’s Slogan Tee’s
Trends may come and go, but it is all about the message. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Hamnett´s protest T-shirts let me fill you in. Originating from counter-culture, the “slogan T-shirt” now resides snugly as a high-street fashion staple. Want to get something off your chest? Wear the words on your breast! People love fitting themselves into a cause.
As a result, the first slogan Tee´s date back to the 60s when a shop on London’s Kings Road sold Disney designs with slogans by Mr Freedom.
Incidentally, they were popularised in the 80s however, by one woman: Katharine Hamnett. Photographed meeting Prime Minister Thatcher for London Fashion Week 1984. Wearing a politically-charged slogan referring to US Pershing missiles in the UK. And with that, Hamnett´s designs flooded the world.
They were like cultural billboards of the times, and can be seen from up to 30ft! Not that you would need to consciously see them, as mostly these messages enter the brain subliminally. In addition, Hamnett holds that the most tragic part of this story is that the text she produced on Tees in the 80s about wars and poverty across the world, is still relevant today.
Maximalist Prints of House of Hackney
The House of Hackney is renowned British design rebels! They chucked the interior design bible on a bonfire. Swapping 21st-century, magnolia-beige interiors for a rejuvenation of delicious colour, paisley, painterly prints, flamboyant floral Victorian botanical drawings.
Therefore, shunning the less-is-more mentality of their rivals, for invigorating and iconic maximalism instead. They are not afraid to clash pattern and colour. Displaying prints on wallpaper, fabric, home accessories and fashion.
Alex Beattie’s Horn Please!
One of London Print Clubs artists, Beattie is a textile designer and illustrator of trippy Eden landscapes. They are devoid of humans, with psychedelic animals and a vibe akin to Byzantine mosaics.
Alex uses a print build-up of colour layers to achieve his socialist-realist, church-mosaic dreamscapes. In other words, a vibrant attack on the senses, whilst also looking a lot like 1930s travel posters.
Look at how these characters pushed the medium. Do any of these artists give you any exciting concepts for your printed garment project?
In this blog, we looked at London print and fabric fairs, the live screen printers who print wearable art that you can take home, desk space for hire in London, and motivating London screen printing artists.
Secondly, anyone needing inspiration for marketing their merchandise or looking for ideas to customise T-shirts, London is a melting pot of stimuli. Thirdly, anyone planning a launch event, live screen printing is not only a way to get noticed, but also remembered.
If you want to get a feel of screen print under your fingertips, deskspace hire is the path for you. Lastly, anyone hoping to master the medium must at least take a glance at its colourful and long history. Good luck on all of your endeavours!
Screen Printing For Events and Businesses in London
Your customers have large appetites and we have large London facilities. If you’re looking for bulk print garments, stress no more! This iconic, melting-pot city of commerce and culture heads our operations where we have offered our bulk services happily for years.
Quality T-shirts, hoodies + vests, bulk delivery all over town. Events planner? Business owner? Merch manager? We’ve got you covered whether you’re a big business or great individuals. We print apparel for events, businesses, promotions, etc. Screen printing in 48h, DTG and transfer printing, but always moving with the times.
Let us know that you’re interested in printing your own high quality garment and one of our friendly experts will send you a quote. Contact us today!