Just over a year ago, some friends of Cool of the Wild set up a clothing brand – Glower. The outdoors inspired designs have a unique and contemporary twist that are equally fitting for a night on the town as they are around the campfire, and we really love them! We have been super inspired by Glower’s constant drive to seek excellence in their brand, and also their celebration of a lifestyle that brings them, and others, great happiness. So to celebrate a mutual love for all things outdoors, we decided to get some oh-so Cool of the Wild t-shirts printed by Glower, and at the same time, delve into the workings of this funky outdoor brand that can’t help but be right on the pulse of it all, all of the time.
What inspired you to start your own clothing brand?
It was our passion for adventure and the outdoors that first motivated us to start Glower. With the constant battle of so much to do and so little time, we not only wanted to be inspired to do more of what we love, but also be reminded of those good times. The moments you feel happiest; that’s what we focus on and aim to capture with our designs.
So how do you find those happy moments?
For us, it’s about being outside and cherishing being on the bike with mates, spending time in the mountains, racing down the snow filled slopes, camping during summer evenings, or listening to great music at a festival (because every adventure needs a good soundtrack!).
What features regularly on your printing adventure soundtrack?!
We have a pretty wide ranging playlist ready for different situations and moods on our Spotify channel. We’re influenced by the festivals we go to, picking up new favourites each year; there is nothing quite like seeing someone live. In the past year Glass Animals, Everything Everything and Ezra Furman were up there, and the Belgian influence means we’re big fans of Balthazar. If we need to get going, some Jungle (the band, not the genre) or Chase and Status usually does the trick. If you’re looking for some recommendations, then we write quite a bit about music on our Blog – check it out.
How do you manage to get your designs and prints so on the mark?
Behind the scenes, it’s just the two of us, bursting with ideas and never enough time to execute them all! With our designs, we look to establish our own style, always challenging the outcome to guarantee we end up with an identifiable story. By doing that, Glower has become a creative platform that continuously delivers fresh designs and prints.
We are always challenging the outcome to guarantee we end up with an identifiable story
It’s no secret that for every successful print that makes it to the shop, a whole bunch of ideas have come and gone. The big challenge is ending up with something that looks great and at the same time sparks your imagination.
Having recently celebrated your 1-year anniversary (congratulations!), what were the highlights of the year, and what’s next for Glower?
Getting the first range of designs completed and printed took a long time but seeing them go up online was great. This excitement continues each time we see the first print of a new design come off the press. And to be honest, with every new purchase from our shop, our heart skips a beat – we are thrilled to see people wear our stuff and get lovely feedback at markets.
We also went to some great festivals and sporting events including Red Bull Hardline and Pukkelpop, spreading the word of Glower and gathering design inspiration. We challenged ourselves with a cycle trip to Belgium, pushed our snowboarding skills and dived into the world of Mountain Biking. The Glower Blog builds on our stories with more background, highlights and inspiration.
This year we’ve also started a Facebook Community called Glower ETC – Escape The Chaos, where we aim to bring people with a similar appetite for the outdoors together and organise events or simple meet ups.
With so much competition in this industry, what sets you apart from other brands?
Well, we’re aiming to set up a sustainable brand, so it’s important to us that we work with products that are ethically sourced and have a long life span.
We look for fair wear garments and seek out fabrics that will stand the test of time, with most of our garments made of 100% organic cotton or 100% recycled materials.
Our final artwork is all about subtle reminders of times well spent
But it’s mainly with our designs and a creative approach to the printing process that we seek to establish a unique and distinctive brand. Our final artwork is all about subtle reminders of times well spent, focusing on style and finesse; you know, something with a story that makes you think and look twice.
We love a good old ‘how to’ guide, and it’s awesome that your designs are all hand-printed. Can you talk us through the process?
With time, care and attention we’ve breathed new life into a second hand carousel with which we manually screen print our designs onto a range of garments. All our clothing is carefully selected for their quality and sustainability.
Each item is hand printed, so you might end up with some minor differences or varied colour blends, giving them all their own unique feel. We see first hand what happens on the press and make sure it’s great quality and a durable result.
Here’s the process:
- First we print the design onto a transparency in all black ink. This print out acts as the stencil that blocks out the light when the screen gets exposed to light. The screen has been coated in a light-sensitive paint and left to dry overnight. It is kept in darkroom – hence the red light – so that the paint doesn’t get activated too early.
- We expose the screen under a bright light, and the black stencil blocks the light from reaching parts of the screen.
- After the exposure, we wash out the screen with water and the paint that has been exposed to light has hardened, while the parts that have been blocked out by the design will wash out the paint coat, revealing the original mesh. Some natural sunlight always speeds up the drying process.
- In the print room we set up the screen on the press and mix the necessary colours by hand. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the job, because you get exposed to such beautiful colours and produce your very own tint. It’s an instant mood-lift!
- We set up the screens on our printing carousel, nicely in the middle and perfectly straight. Next we load the t-shirts onto the plate and can start printing. Pushing the ink through the mesh stencil with a squeegee, gives the result in the pictures!
Huge thanks to An and Dave at Glower – we adore our new t-shirts and can’t wait to see what new designs their summer of outdoor adventures has inspired.