The Blog

Why Did We Start a Sustainable Brand?

There's many reasons for starting a business. For some it's because they see a gap in a particular market, for others it's about being your own boss, for a good many it's probably money driven. For us, we started Origin68 because we love graphic t-shirts, and we decided that if we were going to start making our own, we would do it in a way that was as low impact as possible. It was pretty simple really. There's was no other mission outside of that. Do something you love, and at the same time do it in a responsible manner that isn't just another drain on the planet.

As students we would pride ourselves on wearing the coolest t-shirts we could find. Our friends (and a fair few random strangers) would often comment on our t-shirts, asking where we had got them from. We wouldn't just wear any old generic crap, it had to be something that told people how intelligent, funny, sensitive, quirky we were (or thought we were).  The greatest thing of all about t-shirts is the ability to make an instant statement. It's such a simple vehicle to carry your message to the world. We wore a lot of stuff by 2K Gingham who had designs from artists such as Vault49 and were buying loads of the early Threadless shirts.

But, after a few years of mining ebay for more cool shirts, we realised the well was beginning to run dry. We decided the next logical step would be to start making our own, and saying the things we really wanted to say. For years we had been making our own crappy t-shirts using hand cut stencils, with cheap acrylic paints, that we would painstakingly labour over. It was just a case of doing it better with the aim of getting a few others to buy them!

We've always been aware of the challenges we face as far as the future of the planet is concerned. We're not particularly aware of how and where this particular fire started to burn. It's probably from spending time with certain people along the way, and learning what's right and what isn't. I don't think we ever stop doing that, which is why when we decided to start a business, it was a complete no brainer that it would be as ethical/sustainable/low impact (whatever you want to call it) as possible. It still amazes us that with everything that goes on in the world people still start business with a complete disregard for people and the environment. We're not a couple of massive hippies on a crusade. We're just doing our bit. It really is that simple. We don't expect to solve the worlds problems. We're happy to try and create some cool stuff, inspire a few people,make a living, and do it all without adding to the destruction of the planet.

Sometimes it can feel like a bit of a struggle. By being sustainable it can be much harder to get new ideas and products off the ground, because you can't find the right supplier, or the quality just isn't there. It's so much easier to just get it done cheap and not think about where your products are coming from, but it just doesn't feel right for us.

We've been running Origin68 for the last 10 years, all the time whilst holding down day jobs. It's definitely a labour of love. There's no way we would be able to continue it if we didn't love it. It's not particularly glamorous folding shirt after shirt, especially when you come home from a grueling day at work when all you want to do is go home to bed. We mainly do it for the satisfaction of seeing someone out and about wearing one of our shirts. You wouldn't believe how amazing that feels to see a random stranger miles away from home wearing your design. That's what keeps us going. So don't be shy. If you're reading this and you have one of our shirt designs, then take a photo and send it to us. It makes our day!

Matt & Harry @Origin68


New nature t-shirt series designs

nature series t-shirts by Origin68

It's been a while since we released some new tees, so we've gone mad and released three at the same time! We were feeling pretty inspired by all things nature related, so we decided to put a little collection together using that as the theme. We've even roped in a few friends to design them.

First up in TREES by our longtime friend Tilman from Geometry Daily. In his classic style he's come up with some minimal tree designs. So simple, but so clever.

Second is PLANTS by Will Scobie. We have wanted to work with Will for a while now, and once we had decided on the nature theme we thought his iconic style would be perfect. We love these little abstract plant studies.

Last up is our own Origin68 MOUNTAINS design. A perfect little reminder of those lazy summer days wandering through the countryside.


New 'Shapes' series t-shirts

Shapes sewries tshirts


We have a trio of lovely new t-shirts ready for summer deployment. You could think of it as a Making Shapes E.P. as we explore some interesting geometric themes. 

First up is Equals. Here at Origin68 we believe that everyone is an equal regardless of gender, race, religion or whatever else people might use to divide us. We are infinitely stronger together regardless of what some of our politicians might think! #Brexit

Next we have Lazy Days by friend of Origin68 Joe Trickett. Joe's geometric triptych design put us in mind of hot lazy days by the pool, overlooked by an epic mountain-scape. For anyone who's been to Palm Springs; a bit like that! Guess that makes Joe our resident Hockney!

Finally we have Shapes. Triangles are our favourite shapes.... But we still like squares and circles too! This tessellation shows that nicely, as it interplays between the different geometric structures and their patterns. We like to think that it's a representation of a sound... A big bang if you will!

As with all Origin68 clothing, all three shirts are hand printed in the UK on a climate neutral 100% organic cotton t-shirt.


The With Love Project - Essentials Feature

Origin68 was recently featured on the With Love Project website where Matt shared his list of day to day essentials including our very own Human Being tshirt and Wonky Woolies hat collaboration.

With Love is a site dedicated to finding people who produce things with a passion and purpose. It is brought to you by Chris Roberts and Rob Evans and documents their search to find individuals who truly care about what they do and what they produce. Asking one single question along the way... "Why do you do what you do?” You can read the full article on their website We're also working together on producing a limited edition With Love tshirt design to be released in the new year.

New Office/Showroom

So, Origin68 has got a new home... We've moved in above Bionic Seven in Manchester's Northern Quarter. This will be our brand new office/workshop/showroom/shop. We're really excited about this next leg of the journey. Things have been growing nicely and for us over the last year or so, to the point that there was barely enough room to even stand in the old place. The dream has always been to have our own retail space and with this new office we will have the best of both worlds, a cool place to work from with the option to use it as a shop. Currently it's a bit of a bloomin' mess, but over the next couple of months we're going to transform the place.

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