The Glitch that started DressCode

A glitch! This is where the DressCode story starts

No word of a lie, this hiccup was the catalyst for something that I could have never foreseen.

Inspirational printer glitch

The printer said 'no'

And it said it at the worst possible time. We were proofing a document before it went to print and time was tight. Why was I so annoyed? What did I expect the printer to say? I mean, who knew a printer could get such a reaction? (though I’m pretty sure that I'm not alone here, there have been many people feel this way…and not just with printers). I'm still not sure, I guess the frustration simply over-flowed.

This print glitch is where our story, the DressCode story, starts! It’s not glamorous, or fancy or anything that you might call spectacular.

It’s a printer, a totally unremarkable piece of tech by any standards. It's the beigest shade of beige an object can be, it is just like any other, going wrong, doing crazy printer sh!t and upsetting the people around it, this literally could be any office, anywhere on the planet.


DressCode Glitch experiment pattern 

The glitched proof was tossed aside, time was tight and the job of checking the proofs continued. The following day was something of a clean-up session. I don’t know about you, but when I'm busy things start to grow all over my desk and before you know it the growth has spread onto near-by tables and work surfaces, sometimes it even makes it onto the floor – maybe I'm just messy? Following weeks of intense development work, the studio was in need of some TLC.


DressCode Glitch pattern experiment 2


In and amongst the papers was this glitched proof. Why it wasn’t already residing in the bin, ready to be recycled I have no idea. It should have gone there straight away but it didn’t. What’s more, when I looked at it afresh, there was something about the whole thing that was now ‘pleasing’ me???

How could this be happening? How could I be looking at this glitch and thinking - stunning - yes stunning, I know!? I guess it tells me more about my state of mind than anything. When your head is in a good place, your eyes are open to everything. I’ve got to be honest, when this ‘creation’ arrived it was not a welcome contribution to proceedings.


DressCode Glitch experiment 4


Time to get more eyes on it

Such was my interest in the shapes and colours within the glitch that I decided to share the image with some friends on social - to be clear, I had no, zero, nadda, expectation here - this was just some fun, now the pressure was off, relaxing and recharging my system.

To my amazement, there was a lot of love coming back for the glitch and lots of suggestions about where it should be used, which started a whole new thought process. Creating an itch that I simply had to scratch. Within a matter of weeks the DressCode concept was born, celebrating tech, in all it’s many forms in shirts.


DressCode Glitch pattern experiment 5


Why shirts?

First, because I feel this is THE most important part of what we do, I did not want to be ‘another’ T-Shirt company. My feeling was that this (the glitch) is definitely not what the world needed. The T-Shirt market is hugely over-saturated, it’s a race to the bottom with no respect for the planet, the materials and the people that make the garments. As you can tell, not my cup of tea.


DressCode Glitch experiment yellows and balcks


Confession time, I’ve always been a fan of a smart shirt, my personal preference has always been for strong geometrics, I love colour and glitches bring a lot of colour into your life. So I started messing about with this glitch to see if there was something that I could do to create a shirt design.


Bang, crash, wallop

As someone who loves colour I can get carried away. The glitch, and all it’s colours presented a real challenge. Not in a ‘what to do with it’ way, more the ‘what not to do with it’ way - if that makes sense?. There were endless possibilities, but the majority were extremely loud, even by my standards. My designer brain was not happy, screaming at me to show some restraint, adhere to my ‘less is more’ mantra and create something that had subtle design elements.


DressCode glitch shirt design concepts

It took some time, testing and trying different things before Glitch and Cursor, and Binary, and Pixel were all developed, ready to print. Agggghhh!!!!! We're heading back into printer land, where this time it was the printers themselves, the people who operate the machinery, saying to me, 'There's something wrong with your files'. And so began the next chapter in the development of DressCode shirts, convincing the fabric printers to print a glitched file!



The full story

The rest of this story, the development of DressCode Shirts has been told in numerous blogs, so I won’t bore you by repeating it here, if you want to know more, I’d suggest reading these posts...

PechaKucha talk about staring DressCode

Why DressCode?