Shirts for Food

Denzel and I met a few years ago when we were both working at Baltimore Montessori Public Charter school. In the years since we met, we've each forged new paths (in the spirit of Montessori, of course!). Mine, obviously, has been to pursue the path of a clothing designer and maker, and Denzel's has been to become a local, sustainable farmer in Baltimore. Denzel's farm is called Five Seeds Farm, as he now has five children (one of whom was in my class a few years ago!). He started with a plot that used to be one of the many boarded-up row-houses in the city, and now has expanded to include another farm just north of the city line. They are "reviving the idea that farming is essential, artistic and exciting." Five Seeds Farm offers a June-November CSA, and so Denzel and I decided to do a trade: a CSA share for custom shirts and a necktie.

Not to mention that he's multi-talented--great farmer, great model!

Here's Denzel rocking his Shacket in Pigtown, Baltimore:

And here he is in his custom Red Clay shirt:

This is his final fitting at my studio (those trapezius muscles don't drape themselves...), in farmer gear, picking out his custom shirts and tie:

This upcoming summer's Five Seeds Farm CSA share is available for purchase now until February 15th at a discounted rate, and I can say based on last-year's bounty, it's going to be good. Denzel's farm features a lot of specialty veggies, such as mizuna, sorrel, and oyster root, all of which I became adept at incorporating into whatever pot or pan was heating on the stove. We ate really well last summer, and almost didn't have to plan our meals, because we could throw greens, roots, and fruits into the skillet and then wrap them in rice-paper or crepes, or saute and serve over rice, and all was delicious with very little effort. Very fresh, sustainably-grown grub.

Just wanted to share some pictures of the food that we made from the veggies from the share last season.  It was so much fun to be creative with each week's veggies.

Look how fun Denzel is! This is the friendly face you will see each Thursday if you sign up for his Five Seeds Farm CSA!

Special Order: Pencil Stub shirt

One of my good friends lives in Brooklyn, so we had a chance to hang out quite a bit during RCF. He is one of the only people in the world who will talk with me about the fashion details in a men's shirt for hours on end! He has a unique personal style, which I am often inspired by when designing. He really liked the original Pencil Shirt fabric, but had the idea that it would be a great addition to his wardrobe as a short-sleeved shirt.  He also is one of the few people alive today who really loves long shirt-tails, and always tucks his shirt in! The result was a simple short-sleeved shirt with one pocket. I have enough fabric to make one more, so let me know if you are interested!

Pencil Stub shirt

Exaggerated (by today's standards) shirt-tails

The five8ths logo inside the shirt, alongside my customer's initials

Folding the shirt-tails in preparation for mailing

Collarless Keyboard shirt

At the Renegade craft fair last month, I had the pleasure of meeting a man who said he had retired so didn't need to wear a shirt to work anymore, but he "just loves shirts".  His wife said he "needed a shirt like a hole in the head", but he was enamored with the Keyboard shirt, and raved about Ben's Wagon shirt and its banded collar.  He suggested the idea of ordering the Keyboard shirt with a banded collar, and so to visualize how this might look, I hid the collar inside the shirt and realized that his idea was actually a more striking design than the original!  I'm really happy with the results, and hope he enjoys wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it.


This week, I have been sewing a muslin version of each of the custom slopers that I drafted last week.  Drafting and sewing five different custom slopers at a time has emphasized the many differences in body shapes that aren't accommodated for in standard sizing.  These variations in shape are unique enough that when I hold up a finished pattern or muslin, it's like looking at a puzzle piece that will fit only in one space, and I am able to visualize the person for whom the muslin was drafted. Even though the outline of a men's shirt is generally rectangular, the subtle variation in cut built specifically for each customer is visible.