Welcome back to another installment of Behind The Label.
In this installment, Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos of design duo Shipley & Halmos do a candid Q&A: They share their favorite piece from the new S/S’11 menswear collection, goto runway music and the grail of secrets: menswear longevity.
The Men’s S/S ’11 lookbook of the current collection follows the interview.
Behind The Label | Shipley & Halmos
Why did you feel compelled to do men’s?
We wanted to make clothes that we wanted to wear but couldn’t find.
Simple as that.
Where did inspiration come from?
New York has definitely influenced what interests us. Our studio is in Soho. We see interesting things and meet interesting people almost every day, whether walking our dogs or just going out for a bite to eat. Ideas are everywhere!
NY is…: inspiring
What is your biggest challenge as an independent menswear designer?
A man’s wardrobe is pretty basic. We don’t have tops that have twenty different necklines, like in womenswear. So that can be a challenge, but it’s fun because we’ve maintained a consistent silhouette since the beginning. Our guy comes back each season for the fit, so why change it? But of course, no one wants to buy the exact same thing every season, so we add little details and change the color palette or the type of fabric. The challenge is taking something that’s familiar to our customer and giving it to them in a way that feels new and refreshing.
Favorite piece from the current collection:
Our double-breasted trench from Spring. The fabric is a cotton/nylon, and is super breathable.
What is the biggest strength as a menswear designer?
You get to make clothes for yourself. In menswear, there are a growing number of designers, but guys like to find a good basic and wear it out until you can’t wear it anymore. So, it’s great that we get to make clothes to fill the void not only in what we like to wear, but also what other guys out there like us want to wear.
What do you want peeps to know about Shipley & Halmos?
We don’t consider ourselves just fashion designers. Our company is more of a design firm in that we can satisfy a lot of different creative outlets like self-publishing books, designing furniture, and collaborating with filmmakers and musicians. It’s great that in our business we incorporate all of those things and stay true what our brand represents and offers.
Who do look to and consider men’s style/design contemporaries?
We’re friendly with a lot of the up-and-coming designers, but we try to focus more on what we do, in terms of making clothes, rather than labeling ourselves a part of something larger. We have a lot of interests outside of fashion, so we try to balance our “fashion time” with our free time.
You netted accolades for doing Trovata: The Ecco, The Perry Ellis Award for Menswear and the Vogue Fashion Fund —are you that concerned with establishing Shipley & Halmos in the same way?
Awards are nice, especially when they come from your peers, but that’s not the end goal for us. We want to make sure our guy has everything he needs in his wardrobe. If that gets us noticed, that’s cool, but we have a lot of ideas and projects for our company that keep us pretty happy with what we’re doing. Busy, but happy!
What music is playing on your runway with looks for Fall ’11: Tough one. We’ll have to go with a Pandora station of Deerhunter, Neon Indian, and of course, Waka Floka.
Favorite menswear shops around the country?
We love Odin in New York, Bird in Brooklyn, and Confederacy in LA.All of those have been very supportive since we started the brand.
What’s your secret for menswear relevance and longevity?
We try not to take ourselves too seriously. We’re having fun making clothes. The curing of cancer will come in our spare time.
What do you feel is your biggest contribution to menswear?
It’s all in the fit for us. We offer clothes that are based on tradition, but with modern details that emphasize fit and comfort. We want a guy to put on our clothes and feel like they don’t have to be tailored or that they’re overly precious. If we’ve done that, then we’ve done our job.
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