From selling one T-shirt online to opening up a bricks and mortar store in Liverpool, Joey from clothing brand NRTH is a rising star

Joey Anderson started off as a freelance graphic designer while at college. When the work started to slow down he decided to try making and selling T-shirts. “Inspired by the stories of other brands like Johnny Cupcakes, I decided to give it a shot myself,” he explains. “I wanted to make tees for the type of people that I hang out with, kids that go to metal or punk shows, skaters – alternative people, if you like.”

In October 2012, NRTH began as an online store at Big Cartel with just the one T-shirt. Within 12 months Joey had created a capsule collection, which has continued to grow – there are now 60 products on the NRTH website, with designs created by artists and designers across the globe, and NRTH’s first bricks and mortar store opened in January 2015.

NRTH sells T-shirts, along with hoodies, sweaters, beanies and coach jackets. “The main tee that we use is the Gildan 5000 Heavy Cotton T-shirt,” says Joey. “The main reason I chose this tee was the quality for the price. I tried a few other blanks and Gildan was the happy medium for me. At the time a lot of the companies I looked up to were printing on American Apparel. However, starting out, this was way out of our price range.

“Another factor in [choosing Gildan] was the versatility in the range of colours. This is really important for me because, although we may not want to print bright yellow or pink T-shirts all year round, it’s great to have these options available for the likes of summer.

NRTH uses Gildan garments for its fashion tees

“I’ve also used the tie dye variants (the Gildan 5000TD), which look amazing printed up, and the Gildan 2400 Long Sleeve T-shirt, which is a really similar fit and feel to the regular tees. This helps keep all the sizing and fit uniform in the collection, which again is really important.”
He says that when it comes to anything heavier than a T-shirt, he swears by AWDis: “The quality, fit, feel and range of colours and styles for the price is amazing.”

Nearly all the garments are screen printed, with embroidered garments introduced in the summer 2017 collection. The garment decoration is carried out by Monster Press, based in Westbury, Wiltshire. “When I first started out looking for a printer for NRTH, Monster Press was my first choice. I had worked with other printers previously on projects for my freelance clients and the quality was always good, however having worked with Monster Press before and seeing the quality, I knew they offered that little bit more. The prices were competitive, and the quality of print was outstanding – it was a no brainer really.”

NRTH puts out a collection of around eight to 10 pieces every three or four months. “We will do more long sleeves, hoodies and darker colours in the winter and contrast that with brighter colours and tie dye in the summer,” says Joey.

For printers wanting to target the independent fashion brands sector, Joey has this advice: “I think if more printers offered a clothing line starter package deal for a good, fair price for all parties that would definitely be something people would take up starting out, and also established brands would get involved too: say two lots of 50 one-colour designs and 100 printed poly mailers for £500.” Offering extra services and products in-house such as woven labels, swing tags, stickers, beanies and pin badges will also increase a printer’s appeal to brands, he adds.