Meet Charlotte Day – the designer who created the TNMA sweatshirts
Firstly, a very big thank you for supporting the TNMA Edit. I’ve been blown away by all of your feedback – and love receiving pictures of you wearing the pieces, so please keep them coming. The sweatshirts are a big hit and have been sold and sent across the world to some seriously stylish women. With so much interest, I thought it was high time to introduce you to the designer, 56 year-old Charlotte Day, founder of Dandy Star. We met through a mutual friend earlier this year and hit it off right away, brain-storming the many ways we could work together – more of which coming soon!
Charlotte studied at the Royal College of Art and previously worked as a commercial artist, for interior designers and architects, before launching Dandy Star in 2005 (initially with her friend and business partner Rose). Having two young children at the time, she struggled to find fun, quality cotton t-shirts for her kids, similar to the ones she remembered growing up in the 1970s. Almost instantly, the t-shirts (with slogans such as LOVE and PEACE) caught on and were stocked by independent shops such as The Cross in Notting Hill and larger department stores including Fenwick’s and Selfridges. The range rapidly expanded and Charlotte began designing other products, such as, art prints, china and stationery, as well as a collection of t-shirts, sweatshirts and socks for adults.
Today, Charlotte runs the successful business by herself, based from a shared studio in East London. It was great to go over there to meet properly and witness her appreciation for simple design, vibrant colour and old-school typography, first-hand. I knew when she said, ‘Words and images, colour combinations with a retro feel are my trademark,’ that we could create something good together. Surrounded by colourful prints, upbeat slogan sweatshirts, tote bags and homewares, the That’s Not My Age collaboration came to life.
Though Dandy Star started as a childrenswear brand, the cool collection has grown-up alongside Charlotte and her family, ‘My customers are all ages – some are younger than me but there are a generous amount around my age,’ Charlotte told me when we met, ‘Some have been with me since the beginning. I even have the offspring of my original supporters who now shop with me!’
As with all the designers I’m working with on the TNMA Edit, sustainability is important to Charlotte. She works very closely with the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) and has a number of mechanisms in place to ensure decent working conditions. The fabrics used by Dandy Star are grown in ways which do not harm people, animals or the environment. The TNMA Edit sweatshirts are made from 85% organic cotton and 15% recycled polyester (which helps the garments hold their shape) and manufactured in Fair Trade factories. All cotton is 100% GOTS certified organic from India, and the polyester is all from recycled sources. The screen-printing process is all done in East London, using water-based inks. It is important to both of us that the items have considerate credentials.
We both agree that the sweatshirt is a seriously underrated item of clothing, especially when it’s as lovely as this (!) ‘I like doing sweatshirts, classic items you have in your wardrobe, not fashion,’ Charlotte says, ‘My mum is 83 and loves the sweatshirts, she’s a good ambassador.’
We’re delighted by the positive response to the pieces we created together and will soon be working on a new design, set to launch this winter, so stay tuned.