Lead & Light, based in Indiana, is a brand I happened to stumble across one day while perusing my usual list of t-shirt blogs. Some of the designs in this talented designers (Sam Kaufman) tool chest are really classic works of art. I think what attracts me to Lead & Light, somewhat like the Lincoln Supply Co, is the designers passion for originality and the effort he puts into his craft. Screen printing is not a complicated process. However, the difference between a good t-shirt, and one that lasts a lifetime, is in the details of the process and passion of the manufacturing life-cycle.
Lead & Light has a very “musical” feel to their line. Not musical as in Marry Poppins, but more of an indie rock scene. This isn’t really a stretch for me to say as they do have a section on their site dedicated to musicians that get Sam’s attention. This feel of an underground rock certainly plays out in his designs, and I think he really carves himself a nice niche in his chosen look and feel. As you can see from his store, his shirt designs really are “unisex” and I think both men and women would look good sporting any number of them.
Lead & Light print their shirts on high quality American Apparel shirts. These shirts are extremely comfortable and soft to the touch. Like most American Apparel shirts, they have a more “athletic” fit, and are slimming in the core. I typically buy American Apparel shirts slightly larger than most other shirts due to my broad shoulders (and ever-expanding man-gut). The ink used for printing feels more water-based, and that makes it extremely soft as well. I’ve had my Lead & Light shirt for a few months now, and it has held up to many washings and wearings.
Delivery from Lead & Light was fast and prompt. After payment, I feel like I got my shirt in a matter of a week. That usually means that the shop has to get it packaged within 24 hours and out the door to make that work. I really appreciate this, as once I have committed to buying a shirt online, I want to have it in my hands as soon as possible. Call me impatient, but getting new shirts in the mail is like a mini Christmas. The other thing I really like is Sam sent along a hand written note thanking me for the purchase. Not sure why, but this goes a long way with me. I love when I get hand written notes or little pieces of swag along with one of my shirt orders.
I bought the “Mindless Manufacturing” shirt for $20.00. With shipping, my total came $25.68. That in itself is an awesome deal for this kind of shirt. If you look on their site now, however, they are selling that shirt for $17.00. I’m not sure if it is a mark down for the holidays or the winter months, but it is a steal for the kind of shirt you are getting.
In the end, Lead & Light exemplifies the kind of indie brand I hope FiveOneTwo becomes. The passion Sam puts into his designs and products is clearly evident in the final product. He has some edgy shirts, but all of them are wearable and sure to turn a few heads. I highly recommend them, and hope everyone snags some swag from these guys.