We are Pleased to Present the T-Shirt Designs of Sami Viljanto

Grow Honest by Sami Viljanto for The Fableists

‘Grow Honest’ by Sami Viljanto for The Fableists

Helsinki, Finland native Sami Viljanto has created some limited edition t-shirt designs for The Fableists. These tees will be available through our web site this summer. We love these tattoo-inspired illustrations – they look great on white or grey and are terrific for boys and girls.

'Tough but Fair' by Sami Viljanto for The Fableists

‘Tough but Fair’ by Sami Viljanto for The Fableists

The recycling logo featuring birds design below is a personal favourite of Sarah’s.

Sami is represented for illustration work by Rare Bird, London and we have done a Q&A with him to find out his artistic process and what inspires him. That will appear here over the next several days.

'Recycle' by Sami Viljanto for The Fableists

‘Recycle’ by Sami Viljanto for The Fableists

As Promised ~ Behold the T-Shirts Designed by Crispin Finn

'Dress Good' by Crispin Finn for The Fableists

‘Dress Good’ by Crispin Finn for The Fableists

Here they are! Design duo Crispin Finn have created some terrific, limited edition t-shirt for our first line of clothing. These t-shirts will be available from July 2013 on our web site.

'Made Strong to Last Long' in grey by Crispin Finn for The Fableists

‘Made Strong to Last Long’ in grey by Crispin Finn for The Fableists

Read our interview with Crispin Finn to find out what makes them tick! The tees themselves are made of GOTS certified organic cotton. They are made for kids, not by kids.

'Made to Wear Well' in grey by Crispin Finn for The Fableists

‘Made to Wear Well’ in grey by Crispin Finn for The Fableists

Meet Crispin Finn, Who Have Designed a Range of T-Shirts for The Fableists

Crispin Finn's Studio

Crispin Finn’s Studio

Crispin Finn have designed a series of t-shirts for The Fableists’ launch. These t-shirts will not be mass produced, so you will have to be quick once they become available! You will be able to buy them from The Fableists by July 2013.

Crispin Finn are a design duo that produces everything in red, white and blue. To see more of their work, check out their web site.

TheFableists > Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you start? Where do you come from?

CF > Crispin Finn is actually two people – Anna and Roger. Although we came from different creative backgrounds (Anna from Graphic design, Roger from Fine Art), we had many crossovers of interests and influences – vernacular design, functional but elegant ephemera, hand painted sign writing…that sort of thing. So, on evenings and weekends we started making things together. This was around 2008, and the first thing we made was our screen printed 2009 year planner, which was born out of a lack of functional but attractive ones for our own use.

The pseudonym Crispin Finn came from combining Roger’s middle name (Crispin) with Anna’s then nickname, Finn (long story). We liked the way they sounded together and the idea of an autonomous identity. Anna is originally from Salford, Roger from Leicestershire, and we both live and work in London.

TheFableists > What, or who, inspires your day-to-day work?

CF > This is a long, and probably endless list but to name a few constants: David Gentleman, Tom Eckersley, Eduaordo Paolozzi, A.M. Cassandre, Steve Powers/ ESPO, Eric Ravilious, Alex Steinweiss, Charles Burns, Milton Glaser, Bob Gill, Paul Rand, Alan Fletcher, Herb Lubalin, Sophie Calle, Matthew Brannon, Gerd Arntz, Lee (Alexander) McQueen, Margaret Calvert, Chris Ware, Stanley Kubrick & Phyllis Pearsall.

TheFableists > Would you say you draw every day?

CF > In some form or another – yes, either on the computer or sketching out ideas. Roger tends to work with a pen and paper, Anna directly on the computer.

TheFableists > Where are we most likely to find your work? Is it mostly in the medium of advertising, magazine, print work, online, or other?

CF > We started making things for ourselves, either in screen print or physical form and then started commercial work just over a year ago. So we guess it’s found across the two. We’ve not done so much editorial work but we love magazines and publishing so hopefully we’ll build on this area too.

TheFableists > What was the inspiration behind the designs you created for us?

CF > We loved the ethos behind The Fableists’ [idea] of creating a small but really good strong classic range of clothes for kids almost like an all seasons uniform, and felt it rung true with that of old denim work wear. We started to look at some of the older labels and liked how rhyming descriptions were often used to reiterate the qualities and connect with the customer. The idea that a phrase could be read more than one way also felt like a nice fit with a range that could be worn in summer or winter, and be handed on to different owners.

TheFableists > What are your thoughts on The Fableists? Do you think there should be more people doing what we are doing?

CF > We really love the fact that The Fableists are encouraging and communicating to both kids and parents about the ethos and manufacturing processes behind the clothes they are producing. Not sure about more people, but rather getting existing companies to look at the way their current lines are made. Less is definitely more.

TheFableists > If you could work for anyone, who would it be? Do you have a dream client?

CF > So many, but to name a couple off the tops of our heads: Royal Mail and The London Underground. We love British institutions that have a history of supporting the arts, and a long line of exceptional artists that they have worked with and promoted.

TheFableists > Do you have a particular client that keeps coming back?

CF > Hopefully, The Fableists!

TheFableists > Are there any places in the world that make you feel creative?

CF > Rather than just one place, we find travel in general very inspirational. We don’t think there has been a place we’ve visited that hasn’t encouraged new ideas and isn’t full of unique cultural surprises and identities. Also, we tend to get itchy feet and a desire to get back to work if we are away for too long which is always a good thing – to try to bring back that energy to the studio.

TheFableists > If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

CF > One of the reasons we were excited to work with The Fableists was the way in which you’re not only carefully sourcing a good, sustainable, ethical range of products, but also communicating and demonstrating that it is possible to your audience. That the journey of the item is as important as the desirability of the item. To make it such a visible part of the process and “message” is so important, and maybe highlights that we could all do with spending a little more time considering not only if we “want” something, but how that thing came to be, who made it, where, and what will happen to it once we’ve finished with it.

The first view of the Crispin Finn designed t-shirts will be posted later today. Here is a sneak peek:

'Made to Wear Well' by Crispin Finn for The Fableists

‘Made to Wear Well’ by Crispin Finn for The Fableists

Some More Kit from The Fableists


And we love them!

These are pictures of some more of The Fableists first line of clothes. Amelie absolutely adores the clothes and can’t wait until they all come in. What you will love is that these clothes are made to look as good on boys as on girls (watch this space for a preview). Kids just feel natural in them.

The first image is of our ‘French Chore Coat’ with ‘Classic Cut Straight Jean’. The ‘chore’ coat is Matt’s (The Fableists’ founder) favourite piece. He bought something similar from a vintage shop a few years back. It was from the 1920’s and they have since sprung up all over Soho (London). Seeing something this basic and rugged on a kid just looks so right to us. You can wear it anywhere, as Matt does. It is paired with the straight cut jeans that are simply rolled with a back fat turn up. Dark, heavy denim, with no daft wear marks. Your kids can put those in themselves – they don’t need to be faked. These lovelies will age beautifully, ready for the next kid who wears them. Too cool and all made with certified organic cotton in ethical factories. We are loving this look, hope you do too.

Image two shows the same jeans with one of our tees so that you can get an idea of The Fableists’ uniform. Amélie was thrilled with the look. She loves dresses and girlie stuff too but is very excited about her clean, Fableists look.

We are so pleased with these and they will be available to purchase via our web site very soon.

What do we Mean by ‘Sustainable’?

From the Oxford English Dictionary

From the Oxford English Dictionary

The Fableists is first and foremost about designing cool, vintage-inspired clobber for kids. Our clothes are imbued with a rebellious ‘dare to think different’ attitude and we want our tribe of little punks to challenge some of the ills in the fashion world.

Living as sustainably as possible just makes good sense. But can fashion be sustainable? The Fableists believe that it can be and it certainly can be better than it is currently. The Fableists is a business but we want our company to have a positive impact and combine social responsibility and care for the environment. At the same time, we don’t want you to give up personal style in order to buy well, so we offer you great clothes that don’t cost the Earth and her inhabitants.

Today, there are countless certifying bodies who evaluate all aspects of your business in order to award you certain accreditation. These vary by region and a number of them evaluate to a global standard. These are all a huge, positive step towards a more sustainable world. The fact that so many people now recognise what a Fair Trade label (for instance) means on their clothes or food is a massive change from how consumers shopped a decade ago.

Many clothing companies describe their clothes as ‘fairly traded’, ‘ethical’, or ‘eco’ and have the certification to back it up. We have chosen to use ‘sustainable’ to describe The Fableists because we feel it covers all of these areas. Therefore, the certification that is the most important to us, is the Global Organic Textile Standard, or GOTS. GOTS is the “world’s leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.” So, they evaluate the entire process from fibre production to processing and manufacturing to ensure that textiles remain ‘organic’ throughout. At the same time, they have a minimum of environmental and social criteria that must be met. This covers everything from chemicals and their toxicity and biodegradability through the entire supply chain, to maintaining the implementation of key criteria on labour set out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This certifies that the factories we are using do not use child or forced labour, that employees have safe and hygienic work environment, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, living wages are paid and more.

We hope this information is helpful. Please do contact us with comments or feedback.

Ta Dah! Some more of our First Artist-Designed T-Shirts – Available Soon!

"This is a Flag" by Gregori Saavedra

“This is a Flag” by Gregori Saavedra

These were the very first designs we fell in love with. We had to have them! They are designed by Barcelona native Gregori Saavedra. He is represented by Jelly London for his work. We have featured an interview with Gregori, which you can read here.

"You are What you Wear" by Gregori Saavedra

“You are What you Wear” by Gregori Saavedra

Follow our blog to get an update whenever we post. We’ll keep the word count low here, and just allow you to enjoy the fine, fine artwork. These t-shirts will be available soon at http://www.TheFableists.com.

"Brain" by Gregori Saavedra

“Brain” by Gregori Saavedra

"I Don't Want to Be Like You" by Gregori Saavedra

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” by Gregori Saavedra

Meet One of our T-Shirt Artists: Gregori Saavedra

Illustrator Gregori Saavedra - Represented by Jelly London

Illustrator Gregori Saavedra – Represented by Jelly London

Barcelona born Gregori Saavedra is represented by Jelly London. We will be posting the artwork he has created for us this week, so stay tuned!

TheFableists – So how did you get your start in illustration?
Gregori – Ten years ago I decided to go on this great adventure because I had spent 10 years as a creative director in advertising, as a copywriter. And then suddenly I had a baby – not me, my wife, of course! I decided to change my mind and I quit from that. I decided to try some other disciplines such as illustration, design, graphic design and that is how it started.

TheFableists – Which ad agency were you last in?

Gregori – The last one was Euro RSCG in Barcelona, before BDB and before that J Walter Thompson which was in Barcelona, Madrid and Munich.

TheFableists – Do you miss it?

Gregori – Not at all -it was crazy! I used to spend so much time talking. Talking but not doing anything. I remember the sensation of not using my hands for anything. That was up to my team, and I hated that, because my team was working on the stuff I would like to put my hand on but there was no time. There was just time to sell stupid things to our clients. People think that’s an exciting world but it is not.

TheFableists – What inspires your day to day work? Does it have a look/feel?

Gregori – I started doing something really weird, and that was to create folders filled with images that might inspire me, and every month my mission was to create something with the stuff I had collected. This method made me convert the stupid things that surround me into something that is relevant. This is key to my work, which is a mix of useless things that you turn into something interesting. Also, it is like a private diary because if I look at every album I have done, I know exactly which month I created it in.

TheFableists – So, do you draw every day?

Gregori – Yeah, but I guess every illustrator [does] because it is the only way to keep the ideas and work together. I have two daughters also, and I have to share my life with them. At the same time they inspire me with a lot of things. When I take them to do an activity I am there so whatever they live is the same as I live. In a child’s world there is so much to take in.

TheFableists – What about these pieces you’ve done for The Fableists? What were the inspirations behind these?

Gregori – First of all, the text that I got from you! (the brief the Fableists sent him) But the main point is that I really agree with your philosophy. This made it quite easy to draw the illustrations because it is exactly the world I would like to live in.

Matt – What do you think about what we are doing? Do you think there should be more of it?

Gregori – I really love it. The point is, more people should live this way because we are being really greedy. We are eating whatever is around, not thinking that there has to be enough for more people. I think it is lovely and great, and lots of people should follow this.

TheFableists – Do you have a dream client? You are directing now, doing a mixture of still and moving graphics. What work do you aspire to? Is there a specific brand?

Gregori – Somebody intelligent at the other side, who will look behind that image and work. My usual stuff is quite complex, full of plenty of images and details, but at the end there is just one idea. The other stuff is just trying to distract you from that. But I am quite stupid and I need to word a lot on what I do, and I need to feel exhausted every time I finish something.

There is a lot of punishing in my work, at least [there was] at the beginning of my illustration career. I used to draw myself tied and tortured. Why would I do this? I guess it is because I feel so happy doing what I like to do, and this [does not seem] fair. There are a lot of people who cannot do what they would like to do.

TheFableists -There are so many different platforms for your work now available in advertising: art, moving art, online, TV…

Gregori – Yeah, but in the end, what I think I learned from advertising is that you have to communicate something. In illustration there is a lot of decoration but not so much communication. That is an obsession for me. I cannot just decorate something.
For example, your project is great and I have a chance to communicate my personality. You are my platform in this case and that’s great because thanks to you I can say what I have in my mind.

TheFableists – We hope to discover artists through our t-shirts. Do you think that can work?

Gregori – I think so because art is an instinct. Your product and philosophy is an instinctive reaction to what is happening and the way it is happening. So, if the artists need a place to communicate this message, you are perfect. In the last one I created, I made your t-shirt as a flag, because it is not just a t-shirt, it is what we use to say we are here, we are like this. You want the people to follow you.

Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself…

Sarah Cooper of the Fableists (she's the one in the middle!)

Sarah Cooper of the Fableists (she’s the one in the middle!)

Before we take this relationship any further, I thought I’d better let you know who the gal behind the blog is. I’m Sarah Cooper and I’m a Canadian living in the United Kingdom. I am here legally! I’ve got a British husband and children and a hard earned British citizenship, too. My husband, Matt, and I are launching The Fableists together. We have both worked in and around the advertising and film production/post industries for many years and really wanted to create a company that we could feel passionate about and that would inspire us every day. We want to set an example for our (four) children and build something that they are proud of and that we can all learn from.

We have the brood to clothe and we are fussy about what we buy them. Do the clothes make the kid? Well, they certainly can get in the way of making the kid! We want ours to look super sharp but also like kids. It’s important that they are free to move and can put their own stamp on their look. We want them to be strong, independent, confident characters who use their amazing minds and question anything they think isn’t right. We hope they will be responsible and aware by the time they leave our nest.

We are not perfect. But we are making changes to the way we consume. It really is crunch time, now people. Sustainability is a bandwagon that we all have to get on.

Join us on the journey.


The First Fableists T-Shirts Back from the Printer ~ Designed by Crispin Finn

'Made Strong to Wear Long' by Crispin Finn for www.TheFableists.com

‘Made Strong to Wear Long’ by Crispin Finn for http://www.TheFableists.com

Here are our first t-shirts, back from the printer in India! These gorgeous little numbers were designed for us by Crispin Finn, a British design duo who produce everything in red, white and blue. We love the striking simplicity of their designs. We’ll be featuring an interview with Crispin Finn soon, so watch out for that.

These tops will be printed as a limited edition run – wearable art – so once our web site is up and running, you’ll have to snap them up quickly!

We’d love to hear what you think of them.

The Fableists

Labels on the T-Shirts www.TheFableists.com

Labels on the T-Shirts http://www.TheFableists.com

Why Choose Organic Cotton?

Rolls of 100% Organic Cotton Jersey

Rolls of 100% Organic Cotton Jersey

The cotton used in all of our clothes is 100% organic, certified by Global Organic Textile Standard, or GOTS, among others. Organic Cotton is stronger and softer than conventional cotton. It is purer and less likely to trigger a skin reaction (such as eczema). It is grown using methods which impact the environment less. These methods maintain the fertility of the soil and replenish it. Chemicals are used in the growing and processing of organic cotton but GOTS monitors the process in order to make sure that these chemicals are not persistently toxic or synthetic and don’t produce toxic by-products. Over 8,000 chemicals are used to process conventional cotton, versus less than 200 to process organic cotton. GM cotton is not allowed to be certified as organic.

We think of cotton as the most natural of fabrics; cloth that you would swaddle your baby in. The truth is that cotton is nicknamed the ‘dirtiest crop’ because of the heavy reliance on insecticides used to grow it. These cause illness to the farmers, their families, their communities and affect the environment. 99% of the world’s cotton is grown in developing areas, where the farmers don’t have access to safety equipment and training or proper storage facilities for the hazardous insecticides. Most items labelled 100% cotton contain almost 30% of the chemicals and resins that went in to the production of the cotton. When your child is wearing clothes that contain these pollutants, it can contribute to skin and respiratory disorders. The chemicals can be absorbed by the skin and cause further harm to the wearer.

In addition to the harm the pesticides used to grow non-organic cotton can cause to the wearer, the farmers and the food chain, there are other sinister forces at play in the cotton growing industry. Fast fashion is always looking for cost and corner-cutting methods to mass produce items and pass them on to consumers at the cheapest price. As a result, the wages paid to garment workers and the prices of cotton are constantly being beaten down. The industrialisation of the livelihoods of Indian cotton farmers results in less than fair prices for their output and has left them in a cycle of debt from which they cannot get out. Nearly 300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide to escape debt – over 17,000 in 2009 alone. Some kill themselves by drinking the pesticides they use in farming.

Farmers who grow organic cotton stand a much better chance of receiving a fair price for their cotton. The rigorous certification process means that they can charge extra and that their output is monitored by an NGO, for whom profits are not a consideration in the process. Their cotton is bought by companies for whom sustainability is more important than the cheapest price. The end consumer can feel glad that they have supported the change that must happen in the world of fast fashion.