In this article we want to share our experience of organizing a serigraphy workshop. We printed around 200 second hand T-shirts to dress up the entire festival crew. First, we are going to talk about the general impacts of the fashion industry and why we think it was important to do it ourselves. Second, we will step by step introduce you to our approach and third we want to share some lessons learned.
1. Some Facts and Figures
At a first glance, t-shirts might not be the most important part to think of when organizing an event. However, they are a common festival waste, as also pointed out in our methodology. Moreover, have you ever come across the information of how much water you would actually safe if you would abstain from buying a new T-shirt? According to WWF, it takes about 2700 liter to produce the cotton of only one T-shirt. This is what an average human being should drink for the period of a whole 2.5 years to survive. If you need at least 150 T-shirts for ONLY one day of festival, in order to distinguish volunteers from festivalgoers, this would cost the planet around 405 000 liters of water. So once and for all, indeed, our seemingly small everyday decisions can have a huge impact. This is why our volunteers from the Future of Waste Community started a call to collect around 200 second hand T-shirts and organized a serigraphy workshop to give those a new look in line with makesense’s identity.
2. Our Approach
2.1. Why do we care?
Everyone does love those T-shirts you can take home after an event. With a cool logo and the beautiful memory of a wonderful day. But if we are honest, we would rarely wear it once more. However during a festival you do need to know who is volunteering and who isn’t. Volunteers have certain access to the backstage, and for the festivalgoers it should be clear who to ask when having a question. Further, it can also serve to establish a stronger group dynamic.
2.2. Any Alternatives?
So after a long discussion on how to replace the T-shirt for something more exciting, but still visible and most importantly more sustainable, we didn’t find a real alternative. We thought about headbands, cappies or sweatbands, but nothing else seemed to be good enough. Especially the other teams were protesting a lot against not having T-shirts with the makesense logo on it. Everything was set, we wanted and had to have T-shirts. So the challenge remained of finding a sustainable solution. We decided to go for second hand t-shirts. But where to collect over 150 blank T-shirts and how to make them look beautiful?
2.3. Where to get the T-shirts from?
In the beginning we wanted only to have white T-Shirts and we worried about the different sizes. In the end, we had a T-shirt that fit each of us and we collected and printed on a variety of colors. It is too much of a challenge to find 150 second hand T-shirts only in white.
We went to a market organized by Emmaüs, two days in a row and we contacted La Petite Rockette. In the end, we did not only save money and water but every workshop participant also learned how to do serigraphy. So here a little teaser on how the workshop looked like and the good vibe we created.
So the how to do it was Plastimax’s (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org) responsibility who works for the artistic association Atelier PPP. He was helping us to do the serigraphy. He constructed the frames we needed to print on the t-shirts, he brought the color ink and the knowledge.
Tip: One more important approach to share is that we didn’t print the festival brand on those t-shirts but the general makesense brand identity to be able to reuse it again and again for different events to come. Unfortunately, it was harder than we thought to get the t-shirts back. We collected some but not many and now we just hope that either they will be returned later or they will be reused several times in other occasions – maybe they serve as beautiful pyjamas – you’ll never know.
If you purchase them you can calculate a realistic 15€ per ecological T-shirt and this sums up to a cost of 4000€ for the same amount of T-shirts, whereas we payed around 3€ per t-shirt so a total of 609€. (Having in mind that La Petite Rockette was very generous and gave us the t-shirts for free).
This is to get an approximation of the costs for 200 DIY T-shirts:
3. Lessons Learned
First lesson we learned is the importance of organizing a workshop around serigraphy. First of all, you need the helping hands of volunteers. Second, you spread the word and the idea and you encourage others to do the same. And third, volunteering is always about receiving some rewards, not necessarily in money terms but it could be to teach know-how. With a serigraphy workshop you can reward the volunteers with learnings and good vibes.
Second lesson learned is the organization of the workshop. Music, having fun and doing some icebreaker activities are essential to make it turn into a success and rounds up the learning experience.
The third lesson learned is about the recollection of the T-shirts. Unfortunately, the collection of the t-shirts to reuse them for other events was not too successful. Nex time we would give them more reasons to give the t-shirts back. Tell them about the huge environmental impact. Let them know that you will make sure to reuse them for other events to come.
The fourth lesson learned, is that it takes a lot of time to originally find all these t-shirts. You do not normally find many plain, basic t-shirts and they are hidden between the other second hand clothes. This is why planning ahead is crucial to manage everything in time. La Petite Rockette was very helpful. They perform regular silk screening workshops and so they already separate blank t-shirts from others. It saved us a lot of time and efforts.
Last but not least, one of the most valuable and positive lessons we have learned is that you can make a huge buzz about it in Social Media. We started doing so while looking for T-shirts and also when organizing the workshop and inviting everyone to join us. So we wrote emails to associations and our network to collect as many shirts as possible. We also did Facebook posts and shared them widely. The feedback we received was great! Many messages reached us, telling us they want to start doing the same thing.
Sorry – French content:
4. In a Nutshell
About the author:
Hello all! I am Janine and a community developer for Future of Waste. I am absolutely passionate about waste and I am living a Zero Waste Lifestyle. Now I started jumping into the adventure of a large scale Zero Waste project. I want to help to brush up the image we have about waste – it is a resource and not trash, so let’s be creative!
#zerowasty #mindfuladventurer #wasteissexy
Our website for more information: https://www.makesense.org/futureofwaste
Join our Community for WasteLess Journeys: https://www.facebook.com/groups/353179711855197/
Credits for the home photo: Photo by Aden Ardenrich on Pexel