I love all the sartorial flourishes.
Clearly vests, fobs and chains are on the top of my list – that’s why I’m compelled to design them first. But I always love to don a hat. And this derby is a favorite.
I’m not sure why – perhaps because it makes me look like an Englishman, perhaps because it doubles as a hard hat thereby providing me with extra protection as I walk around the city, perhaps because I love the Avengers.
All I know is that the day I met my friends Rog Walker and Bianca Pandit for their photo essay “Waiting” – it was a good day to wear a derby.
If you’d like to see more of their work check out their blog speakingpixels.com.
And if you have an extra moment please check out my kickstarter video by searching for Sartorial Pairings at kickstarter.com.
Everyone knows I love fashion, but it’s possible that my passion for NYC may surpass my sartorial obsessions.
I was born and raised in NYC at a time when manufacturing was still part of the fabric of city life. When people with skills like sewing and tailoring could live in the city and raise their children here. It wasn’t all rainbows and sunbeams in my home as a kid, but my mom worked hard and taught us that if we made an effort we could succeed at anything we put our minds to. She was a seamstress and proud member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
She spent long hours sewing garments some of which ended up hanging in the finest department stores on Fifth Avenue. I didn’t always like the time she spent away from us at work, but I always loved the magic she could perform with a needle and thread. It’s with her in mind that I want to produce my capsule collection in NYC.
If you’ve been following my journey you know that a year ago I wasn’t sure where to get a pattern made or produce garments in quantity. In January I was lucky enough to learn about a new “City Source” event produced by the Garment Industry Development Corporation (GIDC) and FIT (Fashion Institute for Technology). It’s a semi-annual event to showcase the best garment industry suppliers in NYC. I spent hours wandering around talking to the various garment industry representatives at the event.
My project was too small for some and too large for others.
I began to worry that I might have to look outside of the city to get my needs met at a reasonable cost. Then I met Zoila of Zoila’s Sample Room and I knew immediately that my sartorial dreams could become a reality. And that I could also help provide real jobs for real people in NYC USA. Real people like my Mom and Zoila and all the people in her employ. While it’s a great feeling to make my own dreams come true it’s even more fulfilling to simultaneously extend a hand up to others.
How can you help – look at your labels – pay attention to where your clothing is made.
According to the GIDC’s website “recent reports verified by Merrill Lynch indicate that if each American spent an extra $6.41 on U.S. made goods each week, this alone would create almost 1 million new jobs. This equates to less than one dollar per day to save the U.S.A.” And – while I know it’s also self-serving – backing my kickstarter campaign will help not just me but it will allow me to help a lot of other real people including my new friend Zoila and the women and men who work for her supporting their families just like my Mom did decades ago.
Made in NYC USA.
It’s not just a catch phrase. It’s real jobs for real people.
It’s real families living in NY, NY: a place so nice they named it twice.
Throughout my life I’ve had to be self-reliant.
While I’ve received incredible support from family and close friends over the years I’ve also had moments where I was alone in the world with only my fears to keep me company. I’m proud to say that the determination I learned at my mother’s knee carried me through those dark moments and allowed me to pursue many of my dreams.
But until this year I don’t think I really knew how generous of spirit people can really be. While I am fortunate to be secure that my girlfriend and business partner Pamela Moore always has my best interests at heart, the Failure Club experience challenged me to break through any self-imposed limits and accept help from others. Throughout this year I’ve turned down some offers of assistance as has been ingloriously captured onscreen.
But I have accepted far more than could ever be recorded.
One of the main reasons I dabbled in the flea market game off and on throughout my life was the variety of the people I get to met. And establishing QP & Monty in the age of social media gave me the opportunity to truly capture the spontaneous fun. For the past two and a half years we’ve been documenting the mood of the market every weekend and posting it on our facebook page. Sometimes I’ve taken the pictures and sometimes I’ve allowed the pictures to be taken of me asking only that the photographer share a copy with us. And when they do we post those as well.
While I remember almost every interaction I never know how lasting my impression has been on others.
Well this morning I received the most flattering and humbling message of support from a very talented artist Lisa Honda (google her – her work is beautiful). She reminded me that we met at the market last year and that she had taken a photo of me, which I unearthed from our facebook page to show her that I remember her too! But I never would have guessed that she not only remembered me, but she has been consciously following my progress.
So Lisa Honda you’ve given me a great gift not just by encouraging me with my kickstarter dreams, but also by teaching me that you have to be thankful for every person you meet.
Because as I’ve learned – you never know who’s got your back!
Simultaneously opening a shop and launching a kickstarter campaign doesn’t leave a lot of time for grocery shopping. Therefore we’ve been eating a lot of delivery at my house. Tonight it was chinese.
And while I know it’s a bit corny — and not in the least bit chinese — I sometimes partake in fortune cookies. Tonight mine was full of wisdom.
It said, “It takes guts to get out of ruts.”
While I didn’t think I was in a rut a year ago — if I hadn’t met Morgan Spurlock’s producer on my way home from the market at the end of October and learned about Failure Club the movement founded by Philip Kirakofe — that’s exactly what I’d be in now — a rut.
But I have come a long way.
Instead of continuing on the same part-time path I applied to be a participant in the show and gave voice to my secret dream of opening a haberdashery. And within a week of that chance meeting I was in a room with six other brave souls who were also inspired by Philip to put a voice to their secret personal or professional dreams.
Now — almost a year later — we may not have all achieved our goals, but we have the guts to put everything on the line for our dreams.
I have opened my shop and with it a whole new chapter in my life. Now I’m trying to raise $29,425 in 30 days to achieve the second part of my goal by launching Sartorial Pairings my mens apparel and accessories brand.
And — since I am no longer in a rut I have the guts — to ask for your help.
Please visit kickstarter.com, search for Sartorial Pairings, watch my video and — if you like what you see — make a pledge, select your reward, and then share the link with your friends.
If you caught today’s episode of Failure Club you would think all was bleak in my sartorial journey.
But as we all know every failure brings you closer to your goal. And — in our case — every market we had the honor of selling at brought us closer to our own shop. As is often true in everything in life — some days at the markets were amazing and uplifting and we reveled in the camraderie of our fellow vendors — and some days fell at the opposite end of the spectrum.
But much has transpired in the last three months since our Chelsea Market pop up shut down and we pulled out of Williamsburg — and I pulled my hamstring — and I wrenched my back.
We had a quiet, but extremely eventful summer on Bleecker Street and have — this is when the confetti falls from the ceiling — moved into our own shop in NYC’s west village at the intersection of Greenwich Avenue and Perry Street.
At the moment my fellow Failure Clubbers were most worried that I’d still be at the same point in month 12 as I was in month 1, it all clicked in. And my efforts to find a permanent home for our shop were rewarded. While the idea that remaining in a market would have indicated that I had made no progress is clearly off base, it would have meant that I had failed at achieving my stated goal.
But with Jessie’s help I improved the look and feel of my shop — with Gina’s help I upgraded the marketing materials for my business — with Elizabeth’s help I opened up my eyes to the world of social media — and as a result I was able to build my market business into one that sustained me full time rather than one that had essentially been a part time avocation at the beginning of the year. Even if I had failed to open our shop I would have achieved Failure Club success because I changed my mindset.
Everyone knows that setbacks are part of life. But until you swing for the stars, fall to the ground, and get right back up swinging you haven’t reaped the most important reward of Failure Club – resilience.
But I can’t rest on my laurels now. It’s time to come back swinging again! As you may know I have a two part goal. In addition to opening the shop, I am launching a new menswear brand called Sartorial Pairings. What started as an idea for a blog where I could share my musings on haberdashery has become a passion.
And I could use your help to get it off the ground.
Last night I took the plunge and launched a 30 day raise-it-all-or-gain-nothing fundraising campaign on kickstarter. So please go to kickstarter.com and search for Sartorial Pairings. All I need is $1 each from 29,425 people to launch my brand.
See I meant it – I’ve come out swinging again!!
P.S. Even if you don’t back us I would be eternally grateful if you would check out the acknowledgements because there is a long list of incredibly talented and abundantly generous people who helped me in the last year. And they deserve more than confetti – they deserve a ticker tape parade. Thanks to Failure Club I know that if I put my mind to it I could pull one off.
I’ll just need to dip into the pool of resilience I’ve filled this year!
It’s been ten months since I began my Failure Club journey and two and a half years since we launched QP & Monty. And – while we have more work to do to fully realize our dreams – I’m so happy to announce that I am opening my shop. So since I’ve achieved part of my goal I’d like to celebrate with my friends and favorite clients!
Please help me reflect on our accomplishments and move forward the other part of my goal to launch a menswear brand by joining me as I launch our Kickstarter campaign for Sartorial Pairings – the brand!
Together with our friends at Moustache Greenwich Tonsorial we’re hosting an event to help you get ready for Fall. So please join us on September 6, 2012 for wine and cheese and styling and profiling!
I will be there for sartorial advice and the master barbers of Moustache will be there to pamper you with the most luxurious skin and hair treaments.
Who: QP & Monty and Moustache Greenwich Tonsorial
What: Get Ready. . .Get Set. . .Prepare for Fall Fashion Event
Where: 55 Greenwich Avenue, NY, NY 10014 – at Perry Street
When: Thursday September 6, 2012, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Why: Because We Love You