Introducing the five8ths Classic bowtie

Just in time for the holiday season, we are pleased to introduce a

new five8ths product, bowties

Ever since we have been making neckties, customers (and potential customers!) have been asking about bowties. We have taken the time to develop a bowtie that matches the quality and style of our shirts and neckties, and we are now ready to share it.

 We have started with a classic bowtie shape, also known as a "thistle" or a "butterfly" bowtie. This is a versatile shape that works well for a variety of occasions and face-shapes, and can be worn by men or women.

Our bowties are made by hand, in our Johannesburg workshop, of fine linens and cottons from Italy, Japan, and South Africa.

Our bowties are self-tie, rather than pre-tied. Self-tie bowties are more sophisticated, and allow the wearer to personalize the shape to fit his or her preference. They can be tied straight and neat, or left a bit less tidy. 

Our bowties are made with adjustable hardware, to fit a wide range of neck sizes. We are also happy to make the bowties in a custom size, by request.

You can find a range of bowties at our shop in Maboneng in Johannesburg or on our



Brown twill Shacket

Last week I finished a custom order for a brown twill Shacket, for a 6'9" tall man. I flipped the facings so the wrong side faces out--it would almost look normal worn inside-out! I hadn't made a sample of this version of the Shacket, so wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I really like it!

Wirebrush shirt

The Wirebrush shirt really needs to be seen in person to appreciate its subtle design details. So, I'll try my best to bring you to it with this meager blog post.

The medium weight Italian cotton twill fabric is double-sided. The light grey outside looks slightly brushed due to its texture, and the inside is darker grey with a delicate peach-fuzz soft pile. I won't blame you if you decide to forego the undershirt and go straight shirt-on-skin.

Although the fabric is typical of a dress shirt, the styling is borrowed from old-time work shirts. The rounded-bottom pocket and sleeve plackets are reinforced with stitching in the shape of an X. The top-stitching is slightly contrasting in color to the grey twill fabric.
The shirt has a classic dress-shirt front band, and a standard-spread collar, but the collar stand is squared off at center front.
One of the first people to order a Wirebrush shirt got it in the mail and wrote with enthusiasm, "...I plan to wear the hell out of it!" Mission accomplished.

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!

Fall/Winter 2012

The men's fall/winter line is now available and viewable online.

I have already made a few standard sizes of each design, and have enough fabric to make custom sizes as well. Please be in touch if you'd like to place an order.

If you'd like to see them in person or have measurements taken, you are welcome to make an appointment to visit my studio in Baltimore, or visit my booth at these upcoming fairs in Brooklyn, NY:

Renegade craft fair Holiday Market on November 17-18, 11AM-6PM

Brooklyn Night Bazaar on December 15, 6PM-Midnight

I am also happy to mail swatches of fabric if there's something you want to see in person but aren't able to meet me in Baltimore or Brooklyn.

Keep warm!

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.

Introducing: Colored Pencil Shirt

This fine cotton shirting fabric is composed of horizontal stripes in a kaleidoscope of colors up-close, but only a few feet away, the tawny base color dominates and creates a neutral tone, broken up by a horizontal, textured, faintly-green stripe.  High thread-count, 100% cotton shirting.  Available at Brooklyn Renegade craft fair in sizes 38, 40, 42, 44, and 46, in addition to custom-sized orders.