Sami Viljanto Tells us About His Designs for The Fableists’ Tees



Helsinki, Finland native Sami Viljanto is one of the artists behind the limited edition t-shirt designs for The Fableists (see Sami’s collection here). We asked him a few questions about how these images came to be. We think that you’ll agree that Mr Viljanto is not only very talented but very, very silly.

Sami is represented for illustration work by Rare Bird London.

The Fableists > Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you start, where do you come from?

Sami > When I was six, I was captured by a two-eyed giant, who lived on top of a mountain, in a cottage made out of raccoon flavoured Digestive biscuits. The place had no television, so he made me draw imaginary Matlock stories over and over. Then one day I was able to eat myself out, but as a result I can’t stand the taste of Digestive biscuit, and haven’t eaten them ever again.

The Fableists > What or who inspires your day-to-day work?

Sami > I have a German pet fox called Heinrich, who’s been lately having a hard time finding a job – apparently because of the language barrier. So, I’ve promised to pay for his language school. It’s not entirely cheap and – between us – I must say he isn’t really showing much of progression, but what I really respect and what inspires me every day, is his courage and mental strength to keep on trying, no matter what the others say.

The Fableists > Would you say you draw every day?

Sami > I haven’t always been that wise, but I guess I’m slowly starting to learn the lesson. I try to start every morning with a cup of coffee and a page of mindless doodling. I keep on saying it’s because I want to be a better illustrator, but it’s probably just because the close-by coffee shop has such good coffees.

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

Sami > I’d say 40% are editorials, 20% advertising, 20% print and 20% is so top secret even I don’t know what it consists of. Do those add up to 100%? I copy-pasted it straight from my excel sheet of statistics.

The Fableists > What were the inspirations behind the designs you created for us?

Sami > I’ve been really interested in tattoos for years, and been trying to bring something from that aesthetic to my illustrations. Since I might never be brave enough to actually start tattooing people, these Fableists designs might be the closest I’ll ever get to that. I guess the theme also represents the level of permanence that I wish our clothing and gadgets could have.

The Fableists > What’s your feeling about The Fableists? Do you think there should be more people doing what we are?

Sami > I think it’s exactly the right way to go. Actuall,y it makes me angry that it’s still a marginal choice to buy things that are made ethically and environmentally, whereas it should really be the only option available. Like those warning pictures in cigarette packs, there should be ones in your t-shirt, so you’d actually see the person who worked 16 hours a day for you to get that new jacket for 10 pounds, ‘cos you’re too lazy to wash the previous one.

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

Sami > Hmm. First one that comes to mind is Michel Gondry. I don’t really know what we would do, but he just feels like a person that would be really interesting to work with. Other than that, I like to work with whoever concentrates on the quality, not just getting it done and moving on. Oh and MacGyver! It’s so good to work with people who don’t complain about every obstacle that comes along the way, but rather just take it easy and solve the problem.

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

Sami > I have a couple of local magazines that have been kind enough to keep commissioning me multiple times.

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

Sami > I think what inspires me most is change. So it’s not really that much about the actual place, but the change in contrast to the previous one. Does this make any sense?

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

Sami > I have to admit, that I wasn’t entirely honest in the first question, and must say that I regret lying to you guys straight up in the beginning. So, to change one thing, I would correct that, and like to state now, that I do still eat Digestive biscuits. Sorry about that. [It’s okay, Sami. You’re forgiven, Love The Fableists]

The Fableists Pop Up Shop in London

DSC_0082For anyone who would like a chance to see and feel The Fableists’ clothes in person, we have a pop up shop in East London. It is located in the reception area of our advertising agency, Brothers and Sisters. There is plenty of space to check out the clothing. You will find most of the range there and if there is anything missing, we can arrange to get it to you by post or for collection at Brothers and Sisters.


Pop in and have a look. You will be amazed at how soft the Breton and Baseball tee are. All the denim items are superbly well made, with beautiful stitching and a thick, rich fabric. The colours of the t-shirts are much more vibrant in person.


31a Clerkenwell Close
London EC1R 0AT
+44 (0)20 7199 3100


The Fableists in ELLE UK

Elle 4The March issue of ELLE UK is now on news stands. It features Lily Allen on the cover. Elle 2Inside, there is a feature called ‘The Pieces’ and it covers the 10 items you need to own this S/S 2014.Elle 3One of these 10 items is ‘The Denim Cover Up’. Another is ‘The Super Long Skirt’… HOLD ON A MINUTE! What’s that she’s wearing with said long skirt? Let’s take a closer look…Elle 1Oh my absolute goodness, it’s only a t-shirt from THE FABLEISTS!!! This ‘Brain’, designed by Gregori Saavedra in a size 9-10.

ELLE UK do not cover kids clothing, but they so loved our tees that they have found a crafty way of featuring them. And – funnily enough – we’ve had a huge surge in orders for size 9-10 tees over the past 18 hours! So, if our tees are de rigueur for the Louboutins set, you’d better get your orders in PDQ!

Hey – that jacket she’s wearing is pretty similar to our Chore Coat, too. Just sayin’!

The Fableists Pop Up at Brothers and Sisters

DSC_0082Our partner and agency Brothers and Sisters have created a lovely pop up shop in the entrance of their offices. They have a number of our artist-designed t-shirts available for sale in the shop, as well as samples of the first collection. You can pop in to buy t-shirts and see the clothes in person.

31a Clerkenwell Close, London EC1R 0AT

DSC_0079 DSC_0080 DSC_0078 DSC_0077 DSC_0076 DSC_0075

The Fableists Launches Today with a Chance to Win a Free T-Shirt

The day has finally come and our web shop is open for business. Please come and check it out! All of our clothes are produced in small quantities, so if you’ve seen anything you like, you’d better snap it up quickly.

The Fableists' T-Shirts Designed by Gregori Saavedra

The Fableists’ T-Shirts Designed by Gregori Saavedra

What better way to launch than with a t-shirt giveaway? Over the next two weeks, we will be celebrating #FableistsFortnight on our social media channels Facebook and twitter. Each day during #FableistsFortnight we’ll give away one t-shirt. The winner can choose their design and the size (sizes available are 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 or 9-10) and we’ll ship it to you. That’s 10 shirts up for grabs!

We will post a status update on Facebook and a tweet on twitter each week day for 10 days beginning October 29th. To be in the draw, you have to either share the post on Facebook with #FableistsFortnight in it or you can tweet the hashtag #FableistsFortnight on twitter.

Each day the competition begins at 9:01 am UTC/GMT and ends the following 9:00 am. The last draw will be on the morning of Tuesday November 12th.


If not, get in touch.

Follow us on our social media channels to be the first to know about new collections, competitions and other cool stuff.

The Fableists

Facebook Twitter Pinterest

The Warehouse Has Been One Happening Place of Late

Daf is really enjoying himself numbering the clothing passports

Daf is really enjoying himself numbering the clothing passports

It’s not all clothing design, photo shoots and canapes around here, you know! This past week, The Fableists headed to the warehouse to check over our first shipment of the artist-designed t-shirts.

What was initially billed as ‘a couple of hours’ of work quickly became two full days. After individually labelling the clothing passports with the print number of the t-shirt by hand, we had to put them in to the bags with the tees.

Ruby and Daf in their high vis vests

Ruby and Daf in their high vis vests

Each t-shirt has now been carefully unpacked, had the size and print checked, been labelled with a bar code, had its passport assigned, been counted and re-packed. What a labour of love! And it was dangerous work – at any minute we could have been run over by a forklift moving a pallet of boxes around. Fortunately we had our high vis vests on so we could be spotted from the moon. We have handled so many t-shirts that this Fableist can now tell the size of a tee with her eyes closed just by the weight and feel of the thing. That is skill.

T-Shirts: unpacked, inspected, labelled, counted, passport inserted and re-packed.

T-Shirts: unpacked, inspected, labelled, counted, passport inserted and re-packed.

Now they are all ready and waiting to be shipped off all over the world to their first owners. Don’t you just want to take one home?

The Clothing Passports

justin passportsEvery item of clothing we produce comes with its own ‘passport’. This isn’t to help it cross international borders but rather to record who has owned it.

We’ve told you a bit about the passports before. They are made of recycled post-consumer paper, mixed with rhinoceros dung. They have a lovely, rough texture and we promise they do not smell of poo!justing passports 2As our t-shirts are all limited edition printings, they are issued a print number from 1 to 500. For our first run of t-shirt, the team at The Fableists have hand written the name of the artist and the print number on each passport. Talk about a personal touch! passport openInside is space to record the owners of the items, so that you can trace where the clothes have been. We can’t wait to see these filled in over time and hope they’ll come back to us with the clothes when they are finished with.

The passports are packed in with the clothes, for you to keep.tshirts in bags 2

Our T-Shirts Numbered 1 Through 5 Have Shipped Out!

t-shirts in bags 3

You may recall that last week we ran our first competition on Facebook. Five winners were selected to receive a pack of our first collection of THIRTEEN artist-designed t-shirts. Wow! That is a lot of t-shirts, people. Interestingly, a full pack of size 5-6 t-shirts weighs over 100g more than a full pack of 3-4 shirts. Not interesting, you say? Probably not but check back tomorrow to read the story about our days spent at the warehouse and you’ll understand how well acquainted we are with these t-shirts and their exact weights!

It was sad to see the tees go but we know they’ve gone to good homes:

1 – The Cool Heads, Amsterdam
2 – Danny Dryden, London, UK
3 – Kelsey Blackwell, Toronto, Canada
4 – Emma J. Lowe, Nottinghamshire, UK
5 – Joshua Griffiths, New York, USA

And their packages should be well on their way to them by now:packages for winners

We can’t wait to hear what they think about their numbered print tees! For the rest of you, there will be more chances to win our fab tees next week for #FableistsFortnight when we launch. Keep you eyes on our twitter and Facebook feeds and bag yourself a free t-shirt!t-shirts in bags

Competition to Win a FULL Collection of Tees Ends Tonight!

Hello Fableists!

We have five full sets of our first ‘Lucky 13’ t-shirt collection to give away and this competition ends at midnight London time!

stack of Tees

Each of the five winners will get one of each of the t-shirts in our first collection in the size of their choice (sizes available are 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 or 9-10).

To be in for a chance at winning, all you need to do is have ‘liked’ The Fableists’ Facebook page by midnight tonight (GMT). We will randomly select five winners from among all the people who have ‘Liked’ the page and will announce the winners tomorrow, October 15th.

– Be sure to ‘like’ the page, and not just the post about the competition!

Bag yourself some free tees and be the first to get your hands on The Fableists’ first collection of t-shirts! Enter now my ‘liking’ The Fableists’ FB page.

Thanks for your support!

The Fableists

The 13 t-shirts in question are below:

The Fableists' T-Shirts Designed by Anthony Peters

The Fableists’ T-Shirts Designed by Anthony Peters

The Fableists' T-Shirts Designed by Sami Viljanto

The Fableists’ T-Shirts Designed by Sami Viljanto

The Fableists' T-Shirts Designed by Gregori Saavedra

The Fableists’ T-Shirts Designed by Gregori Saavedra

The Fableists' T-Shirts Designed by Crispin Finn

The Fableists’ T-Shirts Designed by Crispin Finn

A Sea of Cardboard Boxes as Far as the Eye Can See

At first glance, this might not look like a particularly exciting building:

The Warehouse

The Warehouse

But step inside and it’s a cavernous treasure trove of products waiting to be shipped to online shoppers all over the world. This, people, is The Fableists’ warehouse. Trust me, it was a very exciting visit this morning, because I was going to see these:

Boxes and more boxes

Boxes and more boxes

Still not convinced? Well, my fashion-forward high-vis vest and I (along with the help of Gary and his utility knife) opened these babies up to reveal:

The Fableists' First Box of T-Shirts

The Fableists’ First Box of T-Shirts

Ta dah! They’re here: Our entire first collection of artist-designed t-shirts – the first ‘Lucky 13’ as they’ve come to be known at HQ. Here are but a few of them, ready to be sent to new owners. Don’t you just want to take one home? The six tees pictured below will be heading to Mali tomorrow with Andy and Lu of Brothers and Sisters – they will tell us all about their trip when they get back.warehouse We’ll tell you more about the warehouse and how these t-shirts make it from these cardboard boxes to you.