Alright, alright. The UK is in its zillionth week of lockdown. The nation is bored, twitchy, searching for answers. We’ve drunk a lot, we’ve binged on both food and Netflix, and baked enough banana bread to make Mr. Kipling wink.
All the while, London-based designer Elena Ware has kept her nose to the grindstone during the lockdown, using this time to birth her own DIY T‑shirt design business on Instagram: Luv‑T Designs.
It’s an idea spawned from the loss of her job, and the subsequent move back to her parent’s house back in March that led her to discover a room full of bin bags packed with clothes she’d worn during her younger years.
“Instead of chucking them out, I thought I’d try to turn all these weird pieces into things I would actually wear,” says the sustainably-minded 24-year-old. “After looking into it, I realised it wasn’t too hard or expensive to customise T‑shirts.” Ware soon started transforming plain white tops into new garms that she’d love to wear (hence the name).
Pretty simple stuff, really.
Each printed T‑shirt is luv-ingly made by hand, using her newly-acquired printer, and every design is one-of-a-kind – because nobody wants to sign in to the zoom party in the same outfit, right?
Ware’s approach to design is intuitive: “I don’t fully plan the placement of things before I make them.” But with a steady stream of requests coming in from her followers, Ware has so far printed T‑shirts featuring boxing champ Prince Naseem (for our guy, and Streethearts photographer, Cieron Magat), Kylie Jenner’s Playboy magazine cover, juicy lookin’ fruits and a regal Greek Maccies.
The strangest order she’s had so far? A close friend requested a T‑shirt with an image of notorious, early 20th century German socialite Anita Berber and philosopher Michel Foucault on the front, and the words “The real Barbie of Berlin” written on the back.
On a more sentimental note, the London’s bootleg king Jonny Banger (of Sports Banger) got in touch with a request for a T‑shirt printed with his grandad’s pigeon racing certificates, alongside images of his ancestors.
With T‑shirts that span from heart-warming and nostalgic, to edible and raunchy, it’s safe to say that Ware’s DIY business is covering all bases.
As for the future, Ware has no plans to stop Luv‑T after lockdown.
“I will definitely be carrying on,” she confirms. “It’s too addictive not to!”
To get your hands on a custom Luv‑T design, slide into Elena’s DMs and show her some luv. T‑shirt requests only, you saucy bastard.