‘Inner Westie’… ‘The Force Is Strong With This One’... ‘Truth! Justice! And Stuff Like That…’ These are just a handful of the phrases splashed boldly across T-shirts from Sydney-based clothing brand, Well Spotted. Hand-printed by owner Tony Clayton, the kids’ and adults’ ranges from Well Spotted are designed to stand out in a sea of forgettable slogan tees.
First appearing almost 60 years ago, this particular type of T-shirt is everywhere nowadays. Glance around at any park, beach or shopping centre, and you’ll see shirts emblazoned with brand names, pop culture references, political statements and everything in between.
Somewhere in that special ‘in-between’ category lies Well Spotted. With a special focus on quality kids’ shirts, accompanied by a handful of adult designs, these quirky tees are designed to catch the eye – and, in the case of much of the kids’ range, ‘to provide a witty commentary on parenthood’.
There’s also a focus on keeping the production process as local as possible. All shirts are screen-printed by hand in Bankstown, combating the approach taken by most clothing labels of manufacturing garments offshore. Well Spotted is doing its bit to keep the industry thriving at home, lest the art of clothing creation is lost.
“Imagine that, an Australia where nobody knows how to make a T-shirt! Not going to happen on Well Spotted’s watch,” says Tony Clayton – the man behind the brand.
Tony first discovered a love for shirts and screen printing at a tender age.
“It all started with an apple,” explains Tony.
“A bright red apple printed onto a bright yellow T-shirt with a paper stencil in year three art class to be precise, and the rest, as they say...”
Fast-forward to the 1980's and Tony could be found at the famous Paddington Markets, selling a range of tees best described as ‘Picasso meets the Ramones’. Soon after, he spent a decade working for iconic Australian clothing brand, Mambo, before living in New York for a year – and firmly deciding that, when he returned, he wanted to work for himself and no one else.
Tony began with an adults’ T-shirt range in the early 2000s, but before long, he noticed a few gaps in the children’s clothing market. In response to a lack of high-quality, locally made kids’ tees (not to mention a lack of prints outside the usual plethora of trucks, trains and cute animals), Tony took the first steps towards transforming Well Spotted into the brand it is today.
And what is that brand, exactly? Well, you need only scroll through Well Spotted’s online shop or browse its market stalls to see it’s not your stock-standard kids’ clothing range. It’s bold, fun and a little bit left-field. Brightly coloured tees proclaim that ‘Every Day Is An Adventure’ and ask ‘What Could Possibly Go Wrong?’. They warn that the wearer is ‘Rough As Guts’, and assure adults that ‘I’m Small But I Know Stuff’. And there’s plenty for little Star Wars fans, too, with quotes and references galore.
Parents will be stoked to hear that Well Spotted isn’t just for the kids. There’s also an adults’ range, with a few crossover designs – most notably, the popular ‘Helvetica list’-style T-shirts featuring lists of famous names and places. Kids and adults alike can proudly display Sydney’s inner-west suburbs on their chests, as well as lists of iconic beaches (including Newcastle’s own ‘Stockton & Nobbys & Dixon Park & Merewether & Redhead’). And for any adults fearing they’re not cool enough to wear slogan tees anymore, Well Spotted has you covered: the ‘Still Hip & Relevant’ print says it all, really.
The Well Spotted kids’ range caters for tiny tots to teenagers, with sizing options from 3–6 months all the way through to 14 years. Men’s and women’s tees are also available. Visit www.wellspotted.com.au to view the full range, and keep an eye out for Tony and his crew at the Olive Tree Market at Civic Park throughout the year! The next market is Saturday 2 March, followed by another market day on Saturday 6 April. For market dates and more information visit www.theolivetreemarket.com.au