So…menswear…has this been something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
Ironically, we started our career making clothes for private clients and special projects, equally working for men and women. The last two big projects we worked on before we started Costello Tagliapietra were a Nine Inch Nails tour and wardrobe for Bruce Springsteen! At the time of the launch of our brand, men seemed less likely to be experimental in their clothes and womenswear seemed like a better place to start where we could still be creative and sell at the same time. In the back of our minds we knew menswear would come, so we continued to make our own clothing as well as for private clients and we waited for the right opportunity to do it in a way that felt interesting to us and for the brand.
Do you find it to be significantly different from making women’s clothing?
In what way?
We approach design for men and women with the same ideas. We like for clothes to be about personal expression,for there to be an inherent realism and still hold a certain romance to them. It could be as simple as a color or a line of stitches, the details that tell the bigger story and make something seemingly simple feel modern and special. There are very few things we can create today that have not existed to some extent sometime in the past. Tools like Tumblr prove this with post after post attesting to the heavy referencing most design disciplines employ to their work. Knowing this…it is about how you lend your own voice and experience to that piece that sparks a new life to an idea and hopefully speak to a wide enough audience at the same time.
Switching over to Tumblr seems like an unusual step to take. What prompted the move and will we see any direct sales of your women’s line through there?
(I have to say I like the kind of casual feel of the Tumblr site)
We love the way Tumblr offers us an easier way to communicate to our audience. The website will feel more alive and give the visitor a new experience each time they visit. There is also something special to see what people respond to in real time and be able to respond to that and better understand them as a customer. And, yes, we will begin to add more products including dresses to the site as we build it out, we see this as a better way to understand who we are as a brand just as much as what our visitors want as consumers!
Tell me more about the Perfect Cardigan. I’ve never owned anything made out of Ponte that I am aware of, what made this THE fabric for the Perfect Cardigan?
I know you two have been using AirDye for a while now. Please tell us a little bit more about the process.
We have been making cardigans for ourselves out of pontes for a while now. It allows for a more tailored appearance to the cardigan, somewhere between an unstructured jacket and a casual sweater. We like fabrics that have body to them and drape simultaneously and this one was a fabric we developed that had a cool touch and a modern feel. We trimmed it with rayon grosgrain to add contrast and we used Airdye to print on the ultra suede patches. We began working with Airdye for our Spring 2010 collection and have continued each season seeing this as an obvious choice considering that we are saving over 45 gallons of water (per dress) from becoming unusable “black water” as well as saving 95 megajoules of energy and 3 kilograms of greenhouse gas! We have not had to sacrifice on fabric quality or design in anyway, we see using this Airdye technology as an ethical means of dying versus traditional means that can be very hard on our ecology.
What’s next for C&T menswear?
We are looking at mens as category driven, aesthetically it is dandy-like takes on the archetypes of menswear. The Costello Tagliapietra Men’s collection will roll out by style slowly building into a full wardrobe. The new site will be a place to really see who our customer is and what he wants to wear, hopefully it will be similar to what we love too?