When Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra launched JCRT, a plaid men’s shirt line, last year, they took the traditional route: approach mills for fabrics and use traditional shirt factories to make the product. But Tagliapietra, who used to design the women’s line Costello Tagliapietra with Costello, said this process came with limitations.
“There wasn’t very much room to play,” Tagliapietra said. “Sometimes we wanted to change a color, but mills are very reticent about that. Also, we were pulling from the same plaids everyone else was pulling from.”
Their solution was to partner with Resonance, a new fashion group, to open their own factory in the Dominican Republic and purchase Italian digital printers that allow them to produce a variety of plaids in limited quantities. This system enables them to make new designs within 48 hours and release new prints each month. The shirts, which range from XS to 4X, come in three different styles — the Wyoming, Brooklyn and Portland fits — and are made from various cotton fabrications. They retail for $125.
“We can literally print one if we want to. We have this unlimited world of exploration and discovery and we don’t have to commit to 4,000 yards of fabric,” Tagliapietra said. “Each shirt is individually hand cut, so you are getting all of the beauty of a bespoke shirt for $125.”
This week, they soft-launched the Plaid Mix Tape Volume III collection. The patterns were inspired by album covers from artists including Depeche Mode, The Cure, Sinéad O’Connor and My Bloody Valentine.
“Traditionally, plaids have always been about representing cultures, clans and tribes and that’s been something that’s very interesting to Jeffery and me,” Tagliapietra said. “We love the idea of these plaids telling stories. They represent music and books that we love and we see the customer loving that.”
According to Tagliapietra, the brand will begin to move beyond shirts and offer sweatshirts, boxers, pants and vests. The goal is to remain direct to consumer and produce exclusive capsule collections with boutiques.
The designers stopped producing Costello and Tagliapietra several years ago.
“The whole system felt antiquated, and I didn’t know what the answer was so we just kind of stopped it, took off a year and decided to do something that felt completely out of our comfort zone but still a part of who we are since we are both tailors by trade,” Tagliapietra said. “This almost hearkens back to that and our grandparents. We grew up around tailoring and fussing over the width of a cuff.”
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