Laura Wingrove is on a mission to bring back the 80’s. She puts her unique style of retro 80’s and 90’s graphics on t-shirts to bring modern-day causes to the fore. We caught up with her to find out more about her inspiration, ambitions and why she’s protesting like it’s 1986.
Hey Laura, thanks for taking the time to chat. We’re really interested to know some more about you and what drives your brand?
I love all things 80’s. I am especially inspired by 80’s advertising graphics and Memphis Milano styling. I’m also extremely passionate about ethical causes, feminism and dismantling toxic masculinity, and felt that combining the two would give 80’s sensibilities an important 2018 ethics update.
This is a really fun twist on campaign designs. Why did you decide to build a Teemill store?
I love product design and had struggled to find a supplier that was ethical enough for me to feel proud of my products. To start with, I mostly designed these t-shirt PSA’s because I wanted them for myself, and creating a store was the best way to do that! I’m so flattered that others were keen on the designs too.
My favourite design is the “No Thank You (Please Just Go Away)” tee. I first came up with it as a statement against single-use, non-recyclable plastic bags after seeing someone put a plastic yoghurt pack into a plastic bag, and then double bag it!
By parodying a known product, the classic 80’s “THANK YOU” bag, I hope that it can start conversations about how we consume plastics.
What methods are you using to spread the word about your brand?
I mostly use my Instagram profile to increase awareness. I make sure that I regularly post great images of the tees, and use a scheduling app to keep me on track.
I also keep the store looking fresh by always updating my designs – as often as I can anyway!
What’s the ambition with your store?
I hope I can keep the 80’s slogan train rolling throughout this tumultuous period in our history. As a designer, it’s so hard to feel like you are contributing something valuable. My ambition with my Teemill store is to change a few minds and give people some 80’s joy through activism.
I feel that there are so many political avenues that I would love to support and explore. Also, it’s really cool seeing people on my Instagram that love my designs and wear the slogan t-shirts proudly!
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own brand?
Start! The hardest part of any project is sitting down and starting, or in so many cases, finding time to start. Also, try not to worry – I was always worried that there would be a backlash to some of the statements or that they wouldn’t be well received, but the response has largely been so positive and lovely.
When it comes to designs, expect to revise and perfect, and don’t be discouraged if you have to start again.
No first attempt is exactly how you imagine it in your mind and most of my designs went through more than a few adjustments.
That’s a great little tip, Laura. How would you sum up your brand in a couple of sentences?
My style is fairly unique but I feel like it resonates with the 80’s/90’s kid in us all, and I hope the message of activism, political, social and environmental engagement resonates through the popular medium of 80’s fashion. Protest like it’s 1986!
We love it! It’s refreshing to see brands take on a unique approach to raising awareness about current issues through t-shirts. We can’t wait to see more designs and more people joining in the 80’s activism as your brand grows. Check out Laura’s Teemill store.