Curated Cotton came through my radar via Houston Tidbits. I checked out the website and loved the tees (especially the cactus print tees), which are made locally in Houston. I learned that they were going to have a trunk show at Saint Cloud in Rice Village, so clearly I had to go check it out. During the event, I was able to meet with Shelly, one of the co-founders of the brand and also picked up a tee for myself.
Curated Cotton was officially founded June 2015 by Shelly Bishop and Paige Thompson- who are both working in the creative industries. Shelly started sewing and crafting in high school. She graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. Since then, she has held an extensive career is just about every aspect of the fashion industry. She is currently a fashion stylist by day and co-founder of Curated Cotton by night. Paige- also a Baylor grad, majored in Studio Art and Graphic Design. While there, she explored multiple mediums in the art world, which included designing t-shirts. She then moved on to study at Chicago Portfolio School. After graduating, she worked for an advertising agency, before eventually moving on to Nashville, where she is currently based. She is an Art Director by day, and freelance designer, fine artist, and Co-Founder of Curated Cotton by night.
November 2014, Shelly picked up a copy of Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS and finished it in two sittings. This helped ignite the concept for Curated Cotton. She further explains, “There are a few different points she made in the book that really resonated with me, and sparked the idea to design and sell tees. Right away I knew I wanted to ask Paige to help me execute designs, as we’ve worked together on projects in the past, and I love what she does. The timing was right for Paige, as she had also been thinking about starting something on the side. We each shifted our vision a little, and the result is Curated Cotton. Even though I first had the idea for Curated Cotton last November, our site didn’t officially launch until June. There is so much that goes into everything, and we really wanted to take the time do it right. We are based out of Houston and Nashville. Our tees are hand-pulled at Black Swan Screen Printing in the Heights, and shipped out from Houston, but we sell them on our website. I am a night person, and as I was winding down for bed, the name Curated Cotton came to me. I’m a huge sucker for alliteration, so that was a big plus, but I also love the meaning when you break it down. Originally, a curator was someone who was responsible for artfully and meticulously piecing together the best of the best to bring together a fantastic art or museum collection. The term curate is now much more commonly used, especially in the fashion world, to describe something that is thoughtfully and stylishly put together. Using what we’ve learned in school, along with our own experience, Paige and I place so much attention on detail and every decision we make to “curate” our brand. On the other end of the spectrum is cotton, which is casual, organic, effortless…We don’t ever want to take ourselves too seriously, so we thought about how funny it actually was to say that you ‘curate cotton…’ something so simple being so scrutinized.. But it’s actually the perfect way to describe and sum up who we are and what we do.”
Shelly credits her styling background to helping build the brand’s chic ‘west coast’ vibe. “Probably because I grew up in San Diego, I feel best in jeans and a white tee. My personal style is sporty, relaxed, and a little retro. I love mixing high and low pieces to achieve that cool-girl look. Styling for Curated Cotton is very personal for me, since it’s working with our own designs. I think a tee is a super versatile piece. I love to dress mine up and wear them out to events. I like that it’s ironic to wear a tee for evening. Each design we have kinda takes on a personality of it’s own. I like to envision the personality of that tee as an actual girl, and style it from there…how I would picture her wearing it..”
What sets Curated Cotton apart? “I’m a big fan of vintage, and the thrill of the hunt – the feeling you get when you take the time to find those special pieces that no one else has. Paige and I put a lot of effort into researching tees, and selecting the best fit and style out there. We then spend even more time on the design process, going back and forth making adjustments until we are 110% in love with the design. Once the perfect tee and design are in place, our screen printers hand-pull each shirt. When you buy a Curated Cotton tee, you know not a single detail has gone overlooked,” Shelly explained.
The tees range from $40-$55, depending on how many colors and screens are used to make them. Each tee is screen printed by hand on soft, high-quality shirts made of 100% cotton.