Apparel of Laughs

Breaking A T-Shirt World Record

You might have seen that we have been attempting to break a world record! Over the last lockdown as a way to promote Apparel of Laughs, I undertook the fun task of trying to beat the record for the largest display of origami t-shirts. I’ve always had a great fascination with world records and breaking one has always been an aspiration for me. So with a lot of extra time on my hands, I thought, why not?

The record started by officially applying to Guinness to make sure they knew that I was about to start. They also give you all the guidelines that must be followed so all the records are above board. Once I’d applied and been accepted to attempt the record, the next challenge was finding enough origami paper. Believe it or not, buying origami paper in bulk is quite difficult. It took a good while searching online for the perfect supplier. Once I’d found one, I was able to order a large box of 4000 pieces of origami paper. One of the stipulations made by GWR was that I had to submit to them the exact method I would be using to fold the paper into t-shirts. Thankfully, they accepted the method and I was able to get cracking.

Pile of Origami T-Shirts World Record
The Pile of all 4032 Completed Origami T-Shirts

I started folding the shirts on March 31st and continued folding each day until April 28th. I certainly got quicker the longer I did it. Folding thousands of shirts wasn’t as boring as you might think. As most of it was just muscle memory by the end, I was able to enjoy plenty of Youtube videos, TV, and podcasts while folding. Each shirt has 10 different folds to turn it from a boring sheet of paper into a recognisable t-shirt. Every shirt took around 2 minutes to make with the average time I was folding each day around 3 – 4 hours. My personal record for a day was folding 250 shirts, but to be honest I don’t think I got much else done that day.

Final Origami T-shirt World Record
The final piece of paper ready to be folded.

Once I had folded all 4032 shirts and wrote a number on each, it was now time to find a place to display the shirts. The record is for the largest display; it doesn’t mean anything until they are shown to the public. Thankfully the first place I contacted were very happy to allow me to use their space to show off my hard folding work. The Maketank in Exeter is the perfect venue for my display and they were incredibly hospitable while it took us a few days to set up. The setting up was a bit of a struggle early on. We had decided to use some wooden batons to hold up string on which we would hang the shirts. The problem was that the wood would bow out and cause the string to sag too much. Even by the end we still couldn’t completely remove the sag. It took us a day and a half just to set up the wood to be able to hold the weight of the shirts. Once everything was pretty firmly in place, it took us another three long days to hang up all 4000 shirts over the two windows.

Thankfully the whole plan came together and the whole display looks great. Now it’s up, we now need to get an origami expert to be an independent verifier for GWR. We shall also be trying to get as much publicity as possible for the display. Within the next few weeks you should be able to see and hear about the project from various outlets. But the whole installation won’t be totally complete until I have the coveted Guinness World Record certificate in my hands. Until then if you are in the Exeter area make sure you check out the display, and if you take any photos we would love to see them! I will update this blog post if and when I get any more news about our record attempt!

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