Fashion Writing – Teddy Stratford Shirts & Audrey Magazine

Article written for Audrey Magazine, read the full piece here.

How the Police of Bangkok Inspired a New York City Dress Shirt Company

 

Normally, National Public Radio (NPR) is considered at the forefront of distributing news and cultural programming, not as a media outlet for fashion. But one podcast is beginning to change how the global fashion industry is viewed.  Rather than a constant stream of modern trends and red carpet celebrity drama, which at times feels more like a reality television show, NPR host Jacki Lyden was given the task of presenting the topic in a way that will appeal to listeners.

Regarding her new production, she explained, “We have to do it as anthropology—and more like a salon of the air.  That’s where public radio audiences would come in—in the amazing cultural context of fashion, and as business, diversity, history, entertainment and social commentary.”  Hence, The Seams: Clothing Is Our Common Thread: In Every Stitch, A Story was born, and from its recent beginnings Lyden has used the world as a palette and shared stories that force us to think about fashion as a complex, yet engaging academic conversation instead of an image roll of pretty outfits.

Lyden’s first episode on theseams.org pulled us into the streets of Bangkok with entrepreneur Bryan Davis, who credits his extreme fascination with the police attire of the city as an influential obsession that would lead him on a successful kickstarter campaign for a patented dress shirt.

“I was reading about the police department, so I was particularly tuned into the police, and I noticed the police had these awesome uniforms, these really close fitting, sharp uniforms,” Davis states during the recording.

During a traffic stop, Davis found an opportune moment to question the officer where the uniform was from.

Luckily, instead of a ticket, he received an address for a local tailor, “My friend and I walk in to the tailor’s…she’s got to translate.  But what’s interesting in Bangkok is that the police all get their uniforms completely custom made.  This tailor was measuring me up asking, ‘Do you want cuffs on these pants,’ and all this stuff and then he got to a point where my friend couldn’t translate she didn’t know the word apparently for zipper…I want a zipper I’ve never seen that before!”

Taking inspiration from the uniform, Davis enlisted the partnership of master tailor Carl Goldberg and launched the company Teddy Stratford.  Using campaign money, the “Zip Fit Shirt” was released featuring a zipper hidden under a faux button placket to create a slim, stream-lined look.  In order to maintain the high quality that can be easily lost with mass production, all shirts are hand made in New York City with a retail price of approximately $185.

This experience shows us how every piece of clothing we have carries with it some anthropological and/or sociological aspect.  Clothing isn’t only just a reflection of individualism, but part of a giant industry that battles financial and ethical concerns along the way, which is what Lyden’s series for NPR hopes to address to a growing consumership.  As the podcast advances, we aim to share with you more compelling features, and if you are interested in listening in, visit theseams.org to check out the latest aired episodes. – See more at: http://audreymagazine.com/how-the-police-of-bangkok-inspired-a-new-york-city-dress-shirt-company/#sthash.GYQQbp54.dpuf

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