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How Ernest Clothing is Redesigning the T-shirt Market

Born out of the gritty backstreets of Newcastle in the North East of England, Ernest Clothing produces fine quality T-shirts for the urban gentleman. From the outside, it looks like any other T-shirt printing company, but go behind the scenes and you’ll uncover the secret that is helping Ernest Clothing to shake up the way T-shirts are made, printed and purchased.

Ernest Clothing sells hundreds of different T-shirt designs but the team have never bought or designed a T-shirt since inception. How does it do this? Ernest Clothing uncovers up-and-coming designers in the menswear fashion business and partners with them to merge original style with high quality printing, right here in the UK. Designers provide original, unique and gritty urban T-shirt designs and they manage the marketing, sales and customer services through their extremely light in house team.

“We are so proud of the designers who are coming on board with us”, said Jamie Davies the man behind the business. “We partner with incredibly talented designers of all ages, across the full breadth of the UK and when we sell their T-shirts, the designers receive a commission. This way we are able to bring original styles to the men’s fashion world without the costs of an in-house design team and the designers are able to sell their work without the costs of building an online business. We pass on the savings to our customers. It’s the perfect way to fuel creativity, entrepreneurship and style in the UK: we can offer such a huge range of designs whilst ensuring optimum quality”, he added.

There are no ‘staples’ in Ernest Clothing’s diverse collection of original and gritty T-shirts for the style-conscious urban man but designers are encouraged to submit full collections for review. The first designer on board, Peter Willis, has successfully submitted two full collections to the platform – Demons & Angels and Play - and is leading the way in sales. “It’s an amazing scenario for designers", said Willis when we caught up with him. “I love design, fashion and clothing but don’t have the same passion for running a fashion label myself. I want to provide affordable clothing to men who want to look good all year round and with the Ernest Clothing platform, I get to do that whilst retaining my independence and variety of work”.

Daniel F Jackson, another leading designer on the platform said: “I am so proud to have had two of my collections featured on Ernest Clothing. I wear all my own designs and must admit that the quality of the T-shirt material and the finish are much higher than many high street shops. I can see clearly how platforms like this are taking over the high street”. The company is very outspoken about the quality of their clothing. “This was a non-negotiable element”, said Maeve Davies, Director of Operations. “We specialise in the printing of T-shirts and have therefore partnered with a leading printing company in the region so we can oversee the full printing process. I am on the floor every week to spot-check quality because our brand is built on it. Of course, I love seeing those T-shirts come off the press too. Everything is made to order so we don’t have piles and piles of clothes hanging around. If it sells, we print it. If it doesn’t, we don’t and that’s why we encourage designers to be creative and submit varied collections. There is little to no cost up front to us and there is no cost to designers, only profit.”

“Everything happens in the UK”, added Davies. “We are a very light business with a lot of depth. Without the fixed costs of other clothes manufacturers, we’re able to pivot quickly with the trends and invest more of our revenue in marketing the business to designers and buyers”, she added. 

'Ernest Clothing is a platform for showcasing the work of talented designers in the UK.' 

The business model reflects that of highly successful businesses that have exploded onto the scenes in the last few years: Uber – the carless taxi business, Airbnb – the accommodation business with no hotels, and Deliveroo - the food delivery service with no restaurants. Ernest Clothing is light, nimble, clever and growing.

Having launched early in 2016 the company has already attracted tens of designers keen to share their work with style savvy men in the UK and beyond, and hundreds of buyers keen to purchase a high quality Tee with an original print. We’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the years to come. To submit your collection to Ernest Clothing, visit their designers page and to check out their latest T-shirt designs, visit their online shop.


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