What do you get when you mix a love for vintage quality, glam sensibility, Americana ethos and optimistic design – fueled by a particularly creative London duo? Dandy Star, a collection of crazy comfortable kids clothing and retro-inspired housewares.
Dandy Star started as a creative project for my then partner and myself,” artist and Dandy Star co-founder Charlotte Day writes. “We had both been to art school for our masters degrees and after having had kids, we wanted to do something creative again.”
After landing on the idea of reinventing the T-shirt – a classic staple for every wardrobe – the pair began researching extensively and walking the streets of east London’s “tackiest wholesale kids stores” to find the right mix of comfort, utility and design. Charlotte writes, “I found a pack of blank white t-shirts in the back of the shop that looked about 20 years old.” So they hand-dyed and printed the t-shirts with the word LOVE in various colour ways. And thus, Dandy Star was born – out of, quite literally, love.
And in doing so, they made a bold commitment. “There were t-shits on the market that were mini versions of adult ideas,” Charlotte writes. “We wanted, instead, our t-shirts to be for children – about children and an expression of childhood. The message, when we use words, needs to convey something optimistic, innocent and sometimes amusing so that it is inspiring to the kids wearing them.”
It’s a refreshing perspective for parents who notice the growing trend of adult-oriented fashion in mini sizes. And in reality, there’s nothing adult about Dandy Star. “I have two kids aged 11 and 9 – they and their friends are a huge inspiration,” Charlotte writes. “I always ask their opinion when they have groups of friends over for tea and I love being surprised by their comments. They send me drawings and suggest ideas for t-shirts constantly.”
A t-shirt line with children as fashion consultants? Simply delightful. Of course, the icing on the vintage-glam-Americana cupcake is the well-loved comfort of each piece. “A lady came up to me at a show recently holding up one of the original Love t-shirts,” Charlotte writes. “I thought she was going to complain, but she said that all her four children had worn and loved the t-shirt – it was almost diaphanous but still looked fab! That was a lovely moment for me and makes all the hard work worthwhile. I know lots of kids and mums who tell me that my t-shirts are their favourite; they have to wash them overnight so that they can be worn the next day.”
I know mothers are smiling everywhere, nodding their heads in agreement at the stuffed animals and blankets and t-shirts our kids love enough to warrant midnight laundry sessions and early morning drying cycles. Cheers to the kids who wear them, the moms who love them and the makers who create them. Cheers to Dandy Star.
Image Credits: Dandy Star
p.s. More well-made basics for kids.