Summer Turns Stylish: T-lab


The grey skies may belie the close of Spring but there’s been a distinct warmth in the air. Time, you may think, to consider the summer wardrobe. If you’re even contemplating short sleeves this weekend, you may wish to turn your attention to a great new addition to the T-shirt scene.

As we anticipate the arrival of summer, we’d like to introduce T-lab, a small British brand who design and produce screen printed t-shirts for men and women looking for clothing that is distinctive and contemporary.

T-shirt design is an art form in its own right. It’s a statement-maker, whether it’s showing off that definitive gig you attended, or pinning your allegiances to a brand; they’re emblematic, define personality and provide talking points.

T-lab’s shirts are delightfully enigmatic. Featuring bold use of shape and colour with a minimal less-is-more attitude, their approach is strongly design-led with inspiration taken from art, sport and popular culture. And there’s a story behind each.

Take, for example, Stelvio. Released in April, the T-shirt celebrates Italy’s Passa del Stelvio, one of the most famous climbs in cycling, a 24km ride with an ascent of 1,808m. Giving way to stunning scenery at the summit, the climb is non-stop, the weather changeable and the steepest part comes at the end. If you’ve done it, then this shirt could be your trophy. A subtle nod to other cyclists that you’ve been there, part of an elite club.

While many designs are sporty, featuring cycling – ‘peloton’ is a popular design – or Formula 1 showing overhead views of iconic racetracks, others are perhaps more enigmatic. Take ‘aperture’, for example, a simple monochrome graphic, or my personal favourite, the Great Runways of the World, named after airport call signs, these show runway lay-outs from the air creating abstract and intricate patterns.

“We chose the name T-lab because the whole project was an experiment, creating a design approach that was different to anything else,” says Mitchell Cunningham, a graphic designer who started the ‘project’ (as he calls it). “Our aim for the future is to create an ever-improving range of designs, all held together by our distinctive approach of lateral thinking and sharp styling.”

New series launched this spring include Creative Cities, retro designs brought right up to date, celebrating Europe’s coolest destinations, which offer a mix of retro fun and contemporary minimalism. Amsterdam, for example, takes red, white and blue stripes from the flag of the Netherlands and adds a slice of colour to offset the punchy black shapes of the huge ‘70s font A. It’s bold, certainly.

It’s a personal thing choosing a T-shirt, making a statement that signifies your tribe; who you are and where your interests lie. T-lab’s shirts, manufactured of 100% ringspun cotton, offer a design for myriad personality types, occasions and places; whether holidaying, exercising, hitting festival season or just kicking back, it’ll soon be time to unzip that coat and show off a T-lab designed T.

T-lab t-shirts start from £25. For more information about T-lab and their range, and to purchase products, visit