It’s Memorial Day weekend, and I’m taking advantage of some downtime to strategize for the future. I’m looking through designs I’ve created over the last few years that never made it into production. And I’m reflecting on why they dropped by the wayside. A lot of them are ones that guys would look great in. So what happened?
My fashions are mostly sold in stores such as Neiman-Marcus, Saks, and smaller specialty stores. These stores have their own ideas about what will sell, and those ideas influence what they buy from me. What happens is that my customers only see what stores buy. I actually design two or three times as many things as make it to market. So the stores are a huge filter between me and my customers.
Over the years, the stores and the fashion industry have also defined me as someone who makes crazy, mathematically inspired, wildly patterned shirts. For this reason, stores tend to buy my most special and unique pieces, the ones that stand out for being exciting and different.
I’m not complaining! It’s fun do design these pieces. I’m never bored!
But I fear that I may have let down the “regular guy” dressing for the “regular day.”
That is, I think there are a lot of guys who like the style and quality of my shirts (and pants, sweaters, socks, and jackets!), but might find some of my more artistic designs too bold for everyday wear.
I like my “special” stuff and would not dream of creating a line without shirts like “Dentrite,” or my new line of digital prints.
I also like the challenge of making that “deceptively simple” shirt. The one that, at first glance, looks like just a regular shirt – but as you look at it more closely, you see the complex weave or interesting texture or subtle mixing of colors. I like designs that slowly pull you in.
I promise to never be the designer who puts an emblem on a polo shirt and calls it a day! But I will certainly make interesting shirts that are both easy to wear and fascinating at the same time.
So, that’s my weekend! I am literally being a critic of my own work, analyzing how I can create a line of menswear that has a more rounded selection, appealing to a wider group of guys. I always want to design for that artistic guy who likes to be on the fringe, *and* that sophisticated guy who appreciates good design that is more subtle, while still being very special.