Anyone interested in high-quality menswear is undoubtedly familiar with Taylor Stitch. Having long since graduated from their origins as a custom shirt-maker, the label has greatly expanded their work to incorporate everything from field jackets to chinos. They have even thrown some phenomenal collaborations into the mix as well.
Most recently, Taylor Stitch debuted their first ever women’s collection comprised of indigo tanks, tees, sweatshirts, and pique dresses. In light of their continual growth, I caught up with Taylor Stitch co-founder Michael Maher to find out more about what drives the label and what we might expect in the future:
What drove you all to expand on your initial ready-to-wear men’s collection to offer more than just button-up shirts?
We started Taylor Stitch with this idea of making the best button-up shirt possible. From there, we started to look into the other part of a wardrobe: the pants, the tee shirts – that sort of thing. We realized that there still really wasn’t anything we’d want out there with our kind of look and feel. So naturally we thought the Taylor Stitch brand could expand to all of those specific categories to offer that guy our sort of product. That concept continued into designing amazing basic clothing that is very easy to wear, so the goal of Taylor Stitch went from trying to make the best shirts to trying to make the best classic, simple menswear. We want anyone to feel like they can approach Taylor Stitch anytime and comfortably buy an entire wardrobe and know that everything is going to come together. We’re not here to create these crazy esoteric collections that only work with the stuff that you buy that season. Our goal is to have that pair of Taylor Stitch pants that you bought in 2010 be just as good in 2013 – especially given that you can wear them all the time, whether at work or just out on the weekends.
You all have done some great collaborations so far – my favorite of which being your work with Rancourt & Co. Can you talk about what drove those projects and how you see them evolving in the future?
A lot of the collaborations and things that we do come from friendships. The way we look at who we want to work with boils down to admiring what they do and vice versa. If we can find a common ground to work together, to create something better, then we see what happens. With Rancourt & Co. especially, I grew up playing hockey in Maine against Kyle Rancourt. And we didn’t even realize it until later.
That’s a small world kind of moment!
Yea. And we were never close friends by any means but after we had both graduated college and started getting into work and some other things, I ended up getting in touch with his father after I moved out to San Francisco. We both realized that we were working in the same world, so we ended up getting back in touch and became friends again. Now we’re sharing our work with one another! [laughs] That sort of thing will continue to develop more and more as we build relationships with other makers.
Do you all have any plans for future collaborations?
We currently have some projects that aren’t fully confirmed but we aim to do a couple collaborations a year to keep things fresh. We’ll definitely continue doing more stuff with Rancourt. It all depends on where the overall business goes. We just launched a shirt with some friends out of Philadelphia, so that’s something we’ve been working on for a while now. We definitely will have some collaborations coming out in the spring but we don’t know exactly what yet. [laughs]
Seeing as you mentioned new products, I wanted to ask you about your inaugural women’s collection that you debuted a couple weeks ago. Is this something that you’ve always planned on doing or did it just come about?
It was mostly based on popular demand. It makes sense for a clothing company to eventually get into womenswear – especially if you have a certain niche carved out in the industry. Generally women’s clothing is very trend-driven, so we wanted to pair it back the same way that we approached our men’s collection – namely crafting solid, dependable basics. We wanted women to have an option for a well-made black and white tee shirt or whatever was lacking in – or from – their wardrobe. Essentially it’s just a new application for our same approach to clothing in general.
So are you all planning on expanding the women’s collection to the same extent as your men’s to offer an entire wardrobe selection?
Right now we are slowly working our way into it. It’s like any sort of business; you test it before you move forward. We’re trying to see how women receive what we’re doing – to figure out where we’re strong, where we’re not strong, and change whatever we didn’t do well the first go around. For all I know, in two years we’ll have a complete collection but for now that’s more of an aspiration than an exact plan.
Speaking of reception, have you all had a lot of support from the surrounding community in San Francisco? It seems like it’s a great place to launch a label!
Oh it’s amazing! We’re located in the Mission District for that exact purpose. We have such a great community here with so many small businesses around us that it allows us to really do some fun stuff. Even for our women’s collection, we didn’t want to include it in our men’s store because we didn’t think it quite fit, so we went to two other stores down the street who were happy to carry the line. It’s really a great place to get something going and help other people out as well.
That’s awesome. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me about what you all are up to at Taylor Stitch and I look forward to seeing what you unveil in the coming months!
Absolutely, thanks for having me.