Head over to the Louvre and marvel at the artistic craft and beauty of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. While you’re there, check out the frame she’s encapsulated in – it was made just for her. Why’s that important? Because it proves that the frame is just as important as the picture.
In a roundabout way, this thought was the inspiration behind the refreshed look and feel of our classic crew neck t-shirts. Because looking and feeling great isn’t just about your hair, beard, shave and body routine. It’s equally about the clothes you wear, what they say about you, and how they frame you.
It all started with a realisation
Our desire to update our tees started with a very simple realisation: as a brand we’re proud to be based in the South West of England! There’s so much good in this part of the world and it often gets overlooked, so when it came to reinventing our apparel range we wanted to pay homage to our home. Our brand was born and raised in Plymouth, and we found the perfect crew to help us support that.
Custom Merch and Print is a family-run business (like us) that began life in Bristol in the late 90s. “We moved to Plymouth in 2007 and we’ve been growing ever since,” says co-owner Mary Holt. That growth continues today and is driven by the business’s pure passion for perfection and its desire to be unique.
“We know that there are businesses out there that want super-fast and super-cheap printing – and for that you need to be a lot bigger and more automated than us. But we’ve never tried to compete with the printing companies that can do that. We’ve always pitched ourselves at like-minded businesses instead – those who value a quality print job with a personal service that means they get exactly what they want.”
Printed locally by hand
We were drawn to the Custom Merch team because of their attention to detail, as well as their locality. You see, we’re strong believers in creating things with our hands whenever possible. That’s a big part of what attracted us to the traditional screen printing methods that have been applied to our new tees.
“Printing by hand allows us to check each print as it’s made, ensuring that each and every product includes all of the detail in the original design,” explains Mary. “Unlike automated processes, it allows us to apply different amounts of pressure to each print too – that’s a big part of how we create the vintage style you see on the Bluebeards’ t-shirts. Basically, printing by hand creates an awesome attention to detail that we know our customers admire.”
The inspiration behind our new tattoo-style design
With the right outfit in place to print our new jerseys, it was time to focus in on the design and how it too should pay homage to our roots. “Tattoo culture is a big part of the barbering industry and plays a major role in current counter-culture fashion,” says Alex Rogers, our Head of Design. “The stylish men and women that use Bluebeards’ products are proud of their body art and I wanted that to be celebrated on the back of our new t-shirt.
“I’ve always had a knack for doodling classic tattoo illustrations – my notepads are full of them! And despite roses with banners, diving eagles and snakes wrapped around daggers being a bit cliché, I’ve always admired how tattoo artists find a way to turn these generic depictions into something more unique for the individual that sits in their chair. That’s what I’ve tried to do with my design.”
There are 124 flash art tattoo designs incorporated into the artwork on the back of our new t-shirts. That includes the massive pirate ship and shark, of course! Among those designs you can find nods to our nautical roots, the historic trade of barbering, the Illuminati, Tupac, and even a small tribute to the Mums of the world.
On the designs, Alex added: “My hope is that Bluebeards’ fans all over the world will really take the time to scour the back of the new shirt and check out each individual doodle. Hopefully they all spot something a little different and find their own personal favourites. That’s the fun of hiding little messages and references in work like this.”
Keeping up with current men’s fashion trends
The clothes found in our wardrobes naturally cycle with the seasons. They even make room for new (or old) trends. But one thing that never gets axed from the hangers is the presence of a few trustworthy pieces – come rain or shine, you can depend on them to keep you looking sharp. One of those undeniable classics is the crew neck t-shirt.
“We chose a classic crew neck style for its versatility and effectiveness,” said our Head of Marketing Brad Wicks. “This type of tee can be worn effortlessly by anyone and doubles perfectly as a base layer, beneath bomber jackets and blazers alike.
“Alex’s hand-drawn artwork is emblazoned across the back of these regular-fit tees, while the front has been left deliberately minimalistic – it features just our iconic skull and crossbones logo. Comfort is just as important as wow-factor, which is why we were careful to make sure that our new crew necks were made from 100% mid-weight cotton too.
“In total, we couldn’t be prouder of the new look we’ve established, and the new relationship we’ve built with Custom Merch. There will certainly be more refreshments coming to our apparel range soon, so watch this space!”