In conversation Efrat Dalach & Joris Schenk, founders of Universe on a T shirt, I like it here.
During my adventures in Amsterdam, I stumbled across this store. It was this particular clothing store that caught my attention with their quirky designs and quotes which I instantly identified to. (I was actually drawn to the T shirt that says: “Do Nothing Club”.) The lady over the counter, showed me their products and by instinct I looked over the label and was actually surprised that the clothes are certified by the fair wear foundation. I then further asked about the store’s clothing and story that the lady gave me an address to their main store which was down the road (or the river!).
With that, I went on a journey and found myself in an ideal world / space of Art expression, a store of how fashion should be treated.
What struck me most is how this store practices sustainable choices effortlessly. Through our conversation, I realized, to them being sustainable and ethical isn’t a special bonus to their store features. Instead for them it’s the minimum. The basic right that should be a norm for everyone. And this is what drawn me into sharing this story with everyone.
Do you mind sharing more about Universe on a T-shirt?
We are a T-shirt brand from Amsterdam. My partner and I did art school in Amsterdam and we decided that big serious artworks were not working for us. We wanted to a lighter version to express ourselves so we created a T-shirt brand, to just do whatever we want.
So that’s why it’s sustainable, we do it sustainable cause that’s what we like to have for ourselves.
We existed about 12 years and from first day we started. We wanted to start a product that we would want to buy too. So the suppliers we work with suppliers using organic cotton fair wear made and we do the printing here in Amsterdam. For our supply we get T shirts which is sustainable, which is very important for us.
We work with suppliers with very strict rules on how these things are produced and are certified for e.g they are certified or member of the fair wear foundation. So the sources we use, we know that they’re certified and therefore we are ok with selling them and trusting them and trust in ourselves.
Why do you think it’s important to use Organic and sustainable materials?
The most import part is that the people working in the cotton industry. The Cotton industry like in India, I saw their exposure with chemicals and they work with chemicals and also fertilizers.
If I go to a shop, I would not want to buy something that is polluting and harming other people. Or (something) that there is all kind of negative influences in the supply chain. I wouldn’t want that for myself. So if I open a shop or a brand, it would be very strange that we would sell that. So what we doing is like a standard, sustainability should be the standard thing.
I think sustainability should be the standard it would be so strange to not be sustainable we do what we do we think it’s important and people in our shop don’t always know that we are fair wear sustainable cus we don’t advertise it but we do cause
we feel it’s the right thing to do and it’s the standard the minimum we should do.
People choose to buy something here (not because of sustainability because it’s nice and well made). That’s the whole thing the reason why we make sustainable things,
we don’t care about the rest of the world we just do what we want what we believe and what is good for the chain.
T-shirt is like a good medium to express ourselves. It’s an item everyone has it in their closet. It’s like from baby to older people, everybody have a couple of T-shirt. And it’s a canvas for people to wear, it can be a message, a color or it just you know the vibe. For us it’s the perfect medium for art.
I noticed your shop has an interesting vibe.
We created this environment here with our shop. It is a shop and it’s like our workspace. It’s like our play space. And every day, we are here and we are playing with the materials that we have here we have, the printing, the embroidery and we have direct feedback from our customers. Because sometimes we make it and hang it on the same day, so we have the response of customers directly and instantly. You learn what works and that way it’s more fun and we are just playing around and doing what we like.
(Hence, the name) I like it here, we create our world and we create our art and also we like what we do so I like it here. So we what we do it’s a unique thing that we do in Amsterdam no one here do what we do we are combining fashion with our world.