Saturday, September 12, 2015

Thom Browne's Studio

I like color.  But, Thom Browne is making gray and monochrome exciting.
See more detail photos at
Take a look at this video interview in his office.

Two of his responses stood out to me as a maker:
This collection is 90 percent hand-pieced intarsia. That’s a lot of work. It took around three weeks for one seamstress to make one jacket. Not everybody, when they see the finished garment, will understand all the work that goes into it. But the people that do will really understand how special each piece is.
In the video, you can see a woman on his staff cut and sew the embellishments. Another cut of the video shows the impeccable welt pocket on a suit jacket. I wish I could afford his clothes because they are so achingly beautiful.

Well, actually the last sentence stood out:
I think the tailoring aspect of what I do is very in tune with the way that I live, and my office, and my store, and even my house, because of the uniformity of it, and the rigidity. Especially for women, I love to keep pushing the idea of uniformity, and not so much choice. I think there’s something really refreshing when things don’t change too much.
I just finished knitting four subtly different bath mats.

I've also been thinking a great deal about design and how to present information. At work, I'm alternating between trying to fix some broken legacy software and writing, filming and editing tutorial videos about how to work with data.

That had me going back to the lessons of Edward Tufte.  To really highlight differences, you keep all but just one thing the same.  Then the change or newness will really pop.  That's why scientists do controlled experiments, changing just one thing at a time.  That's why Thom Browne's clothes really speak to me.

Anyway, I hope you check out the Edward Tufte books and the clothes of Thom Browne.

DD has asked for another ruffled skirt made from recycled shirts.  She wore hers to rags.  It was getting kind of short on her anyway.  I took in the elastic of my skirt and she's wearing it now.  She loves it so much, she's worried about having a replacement in the wings.  This one will be the sixth in the series.

I'm off the thrift stores for supplies.


  1. Have you come across the clothes designed by Natalie Chanin yet under the brand of Alabama Chanin? 100% handmade in America. You can buy the finished garments (Roseanne Cash does), kits to make your own, or books with patterns to make your own. Lots of reverse appliqué and extensive use of jersey knit. Many an accomplished knitter is falling down the alabamachanin rabbit hole and reporting that they love both the process and the clothes.

    1. I saw the Project Alabama clothes about 15 years ago at the 'Susan' boutique in Burlingame, CA. Back then, she was working with post-consumer waste t-shirts that she vat-dyed in AL.

      She later switched to organic cotton so she wasn't constrained by the size and shape of the t-shirts.

      Even back then, a jacket was $3,000. If I had a spare $3,000, I'd replace some of the doors in our condo that we left for 'later'. ;-)

      Do you remember the skirt I made w/ her techniques?

  2. I wasn't reading your blog in 2010 so this was the first time I read that post. That is a beautiful skirt - do you still wear it? A half thought should have sufficed for me to surmise that you know Chanin's work, given your deep commitment to making.

    1. Yes, it's the perfect weight for autumn in CO or winter in CA.


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