Can you tell me how did you develop this project? How everything was born? Is it clearly related to the way you dressed, in a way to how people have always recognized…am I wrong?
Upon closing our womenswear brand, Costello Tagliapietra last year we decided to take some time to revaluate what we wanted to do and where we wanted to be. We had a couple of offers to creative direct for other brands when this opportunity presented itself. We met our partners and they asked us what would you like to do and our answer was immediately plaid shirts. We both come from families of tailors and because of this we are just as in love with process as we are with design. We both wear plaid all the time, we even met wearing it and we love the history of plaid and the opportunity of bringing it into the future.
How did it come the idea to relate colours and type of shirt to old records?
We have a very large vinyl collection and we both enjoy finding record shops when we travel-spending hours flipping through records and discovering a record we have searched for years. There is magic to those album covers that we wanted to capture in these shirts. There is also something beautiful about picking up a shirt and having that emotional connection to it and the knowledge of that throughout your day. These shirts transport us to the first time we picked up those albums and turned them around in our hands and that is something we hope others will feel as well.
And why an e-commerce?
Cutting out the stores allows us to sell things at the cost of what we used to sell to those stores. We are able to give our customer a 125 dollar shirt that might costs anywhere between 250 and 550 at retail by cutting this middle man out. We did not want to make sacrifices in fabric or construction- each of our shirts is hand cut individually and then sewn with care using top quality interfacing, buttons and fabrics. With JCRT we can also do these large scale plaids that if made traditionally would eat up upwards of seven yards of fabric in order to match fully… with a twelve dollar a yard fabric you are already close to our selling price with fabric alone! When selling at retail you are always worried about cutting corners in all of the above so that you can meet their needs rather than the customers, at JCRT it goes right from under the machine to the customer so there is never any cutting of corners!
How can you wear a check shirt in a contemporary way? With what you should wear them? And on which occasions?
A plaid shirt can be worn anywhere when paired with the right jacket, suit or pant. They all look great with chinos or jeans but they look equally great with a suit and tie. We really wanted to create a plaid shirt that felt like a dress shirt in terms of cut and finish so that you could be just as comfortable in the office as you would on the weekend.
A male adventure after so many years in the female fashion industry and something that, to me, is very personal..so…should we think that this adventure was also born from a delusion from the previous path?
We very much still love what we did and are very proud of what we accomplished. Our decision to shutter Costello Tagliapietra was determined more by the way the industry itself was working and where it was headed. We both are really inspired by process and craft which for us informs what and how we design. The industry’s need for a constant stream of products and its general lack of care for quality, made what we did a very difficult thing to achieve. It was also disheartening to see the industry rally around poorly crafted clothing when the brands we loved did not get the same credit.
Will you continue with some female proposals?
We will in fact be introducing more and more pieces over time. We see them as laying somewhere between what we did at Costello Tagliapietra and what we did with our collaborations with Uniqlo and Barneys Co-op.
When can a man be defined as elegant? What is elegance to you?
Elegance comes through when the person is confident and holds him or herself in a way that exudes that confidence. To us, the Italian term sprezzatura exemplifies this and is a much more modern way to show elegance.
Does the word luxury have still sense nowadays?
Luxury today has changed. I am not sure that I am qualified to really say what it has become but in the past it stood for a superior quality and craft. It was something more than just trend, it was a heirloom from the onset and it was a way of life. Luxury stood for something aspirational not because a reality star wore it, but because it was something to cherish and love.
What must not be missing in a male wardrobe?
Of course plaid shirts!
Plans and dreams for the future?
We are really excited to see JCRT grow, to offer new products including pants and outerwear, and to realize the full potential of this brand.
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