Who would have thought such sweltering heat would have given birth to a fresh new t-shirt company! It's hot here, intolerably so. Worse, much worse, is the humidity. It weighs down upon one to such a degree that all the ceiling and standing fans in the apartment and office have shared sense of inadequacy. Yet this sticky Hades is home to great creativity, particularly in the area of design. Some years ago, when I first started out on my own, similarly unbearable summer conditions gave me the idea for my company name - Swelter. Somewhere along the line, I thought it would be great for a t-shirt brand. Mid last year, that brand saw the light of day and is now being worn by quite a few people (bless them!) from around the world. Today's the day I start to share with you some of the Swelter designs and the stories behind them (hey, and if there aren't any, I'll make them up. You might want to help me along there.) Right now, I have no energy, I'm in the mood for a chat, and I keep filling up my glass with water. Pray for rain!

Monday, 29 January 2007


Of course, it all depends on what t-shirt you're wearing. If it's plain or sophisticated (or just plain sophisticated), then you're probably heading for some langoustine at that trendy new restaurant (in today, out tomorrow) with the massive sundeck overlooking the ocean, featuring lounging celebrities and champagne buckets. However, if your t-shirt is way past its sell-by date, flopping comfortably against your chest or breast, with thinning threads here and there, it is probably more appropriate for you to scoot over to your local for some fish and chips and a beer or three. Or, if you're in my neck of the woods, a bunny chow (more of that later) or some samp and beans with a tad too much chilli.

What got me onto all of this? Well, the other day I came across the most delightful foodie site, It's in the top five of the 7th Annual Weblog Awards.


Enticingly written, it has some really great food imagery shot by Matt himself, an art director turned photographer and very friendly guy. I urge you to nip over to Matt's place right now and wish him the best of luck. Oh, and ask him about his favourite meal and what he likes to wear when he eats it. Chances are, Matt will even share the recipe.

Talking about recipes, here's how you make a bunny chow. Grab a loaf of fresh bread, cut it half or in quarters, scoop out its middle and fill that with a curried stew of meat or beans, then place the soft bread that you scooped out on top of the curry, forming a lid. When you're brave enough to start eating (this one can be very hot!), use the "lid" to dip into the curry and then, once you've consumed that, tear off sections of the side of the loaf, taking care not to tear below the curry line, and use those to scoop up the remaining curry. The bunny chow was invented in Durban, South Africa and has a whole political history which I will probably go into on another occasion (perhaps with a new t-shirt to celebrate this great street food!) but, in the meantime, feel free to read Allan Jackson's article on it.

Friday, 26 January 2007


Valentine's Day is such a rip off yet we buy into it every time. Roses cost three times as much as on a normal day. Restaurants raise their prices and their snootiness. Expectations all round are high and tension mounts. After the first blush of romance, we tend to pass the whole thing off as greedy commercialism. But heaven help us if, on the day, we do not profess undying love in some way or another.

May I recommend a different tactic. This time around, bypass the obvious, save a lot of money and do something that is much closer to the heart. Give each other t-shirts. Ones that demonstrate love, of course. That are real and simple and not all flash and bling. And that will be enjoyed long after the 14th of February. Which will be round sooner than you can say "I love you" so best you begin your online shopping now. Of course, if there is nothing you see here that takes your fancy, why not make your own! I can't vouch for how pretty they will be, but they will certainly be more personal. Either way, best you hurry.

Thursday, 25 January 2007


I was in New York over Christmas this year and was given by my dear partner two of Helen Walters' famous books on t-shirts - the latest, 300% Cotton and the previous one, 200% Cotton. Both cleverly named sequels to her original brainwave, 100% Cotton. I urge you to get your hands on them, devour them, share them if you absolutely have to (but know that they will most likely wander and friendships will be severely tested!)


I've been extremely privileged to have been born and brought up in Africa. No matter how much the Western world has brought in its influence, Africa is still a Dark Continent and hopefully will always be that to a large extent. It is wild, vast and awesome in the grandest meaning of the word. Whether you are honoured enough to live here, or lucky to be able to visit, one thing is for certain - you will always be touched by this great land. You will realize that you are a very small part of something much greater, that is beyond you yet connected to you, and that connects all creatures that touch its soil. Of course, such immense experiences and feelings demand a t-shirt, the greatest wearable art form and means of portable expression. Not just any t-shirt, mind you, but one from the good spirited and passionate African t-shirt brand, Swelter. A very global brand, I may add - the designs come out of Africa, the shirts are made in America and they are worn all over the world. Try this one on for size.