Journey of the T-shirt

Vikas V Patil, photographer based out of Bangalore is inclined towards shooting candid moments, street photography and special moments of life. He’s also co-founded a start-up called Lytkraft. Vikas takes us on a visit to Tirupur, a famous and well known textile district, located close to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. He gives us the story of the ‘t-shirt’!

1

Life is a journey, today let’s see something interesting. A small snapshot of a place called Tirupur. Recently, Tirupur has become famous, particularly for international clothing brands.

Tirupur is known as the knitwear capital of India. There is a good chance that the t-shirt you are wearing now is from here. Let’s get inside and see how the t-shirts are manufactured.

Tirupur is known as the knitwear capital of India. There is a good chance that the t-shirt you are wearing now is from here. Let’s get inside and see how these t-shirts are manufactured.

We enter a factory in Tirupur, not without a security check of course! Meet Mr.Suresh!

We enter a factory in Tirupur, not without a security check of course! Meet Mr.Suresh!

Let’s check out this knitting factory owned by Mr. Kumar. He gave us a complete walkthrough of his unit and explained every minute detail.

Let’s check out this knitting factory owned by Mr. Kumar. He gave us a complete walkthrough of his unit and explained every minute detail.

What you see here is a single jersey knitting machine. Have you ever wondered how a cloth is made? Knitting is one of the processes to make clothes. The stripped cloth at the bottom is the knitted cloth used for making t-shirts.

What you see here is a single jersey knitting machine. Have you ever wondered how a cloth is made? Knitting is one of the processes to make clothes. The stripped cloth at the bottom is the knitted cloth used for making t-shirts.

So that`s the process, but you need to input yarn threads of different colours to get the desired cloth.

I guess we usually experience this, that time when the thread gets tangled while stitching? Imagine making a huge cloth from single yarn? What you see here is a single thread being pulled inside a machine of needles to get knitted cloth

So that`s the process, but you need to input yarn threads of different colours to get the desired cloth.

So that`s the process, but you need to input yarn threads of different colours to get the desired cloth.

These are the small parts of the knitting machine, which pull the threads with very less tension on the yarn thread.

These are the small parts of the knitting machine, which pull the threads with very less tension on the yarn thread.

This is the final knitted cloth for stitching the t-shirt.

This is the final knitted cloth for stitching the t-shirt.

Cool, we have the cloth ready. Let’s now enter a garment industry where the knitted cloth is cut in various formats to make t-shirts.

Cool, we have the cloth ready. Let’s now enter a garment industry where the knitted cloth is cut in various formats to make t-shirts. Emel is one of the well-known brands in automatic sewing machines sector.

This factory is owned by Mr.Rajan, who is standing towards our right.

This factory is owned by Mr.Rajan, who is standing towards our right.

We have seen this before right? Yes thread, but we hardly use it! This is not the case in garment industry, it’s like their daily fuel to run the factory.

We have seen this before right? Yes thread, but we hardly use it! This is not the case in garment industry, it’s like their daily fuel to run the factory.

One of the important raw materials for stitching our t-shirts is enforcement thread. It should be of the right colour and material which will perfectly blend with our final t-shirt.

One of the important raw materials for stitching our t-shirts is enforcement thread. It should be of the right colour and material which will perfectly blend with our final t-shirt.

A finished sample t-shirt from Mr.Rajan`s factory. Now that the t-shirt is ready, is it the end of the story? Noooo…

A finished sample t-shirt from Mr.Rajan`s factory. Now that the t-shirt is ready, is it the end of the story? Noooo…

Now we enter the final stage, a place where finishing is done. This is an automated embroidery factory where company logos are embroidered on the t-shirts.

Now we enter the final stage, a place where finishing is done. This is an automated embroidery factory where company logos are embroidered on the t-shirts.

For the kind of embroidery design we saw, it requires 6 different coloured threads.

For the kind of embroidery design we saw, it requires 6 different coloured threads.

What we see here are huge embroidery machines which can take in almost 9 different colour threads at one shot. Complex process! Well this factory has 40 similar machines and in one shot it can produce 40 similar designs.

What we see here are huge embroidery machines which can take in almost 9 different colour threads at one shot. Complex process! Well this factory has 40 similar machines and in one shot it can produce 40 similar designs.

The semi-finished t-shirts cannot be directly put under the embroidery machines. A special kind of embroidery holder/frame is put to each and every t-shirt and then placed under the machines.

The semi-finished t-shirts cannot be directly put under the embroidery machines. A special kind of embroidery holder/frame is put to each and every t-shirt and then placed under the machines.

Some happy employees in Rao`s industry. They closely watch every step to avoid any defects and ultimately we get to wear these so called branded clothes. Hats off to every individual involved in this process.

Some happy employees in Rao`s industry. They closely watch every step to avoid any defects and ultimately we get to wear these so called branded clothes. Hats off to every individual involved in this process.

Yes our final product is ready!! "American Eagle"

Yes our final product is ready!! “American Eagle”

Before the t-shirts are dispatched to respective locations, these t-shirts undergo rigorous quality checks. Lastly, the QC checked t-shirts are sent to warehouses and eventually to retail stores for you to swipe your credit card and wear the t-shirt.

Before the t-shirts are dispatched to respective locations, these t-shirts undergo rigorous quality checks. Lastly, the QC checked t-shirts are sent to warehouses and eventually to retail stores for you to swipe your credit card and wear the t-shirt.

Wow!! We learnt a lot today? Relax, hit a bar in your locality and sip a glass of chilled beer this weekend. From this post, we want to give our readers a small snapshot of the t-shirt industry. Cheers and thanks to all those people who are involved in making these t-shirts. Thank you.

Wow!! We learnt a lot today? Relax, hit a bar in your locality and sip a glass of chilled beer this weekend. From this post, we want to give our readers a small snapshot of the t-shirt industry. Cheers and thanks to all those people who are involved in making these t-shirts. Thank you.

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About Shruti Bharath

Social entrepreneur and developmental writer, passionate about creating workable solutions in the areas of improving employability of youth and women through skill enhancement/training and generation of productive and sustainable employment opportunities.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Fundamentals of Knitting: Knits You Touch Every Day​ and How They’re Made | The Fashion Robot

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