All posts tagged: men’s fashion

Chapter 5: You Only Get One Chance to Do This Right…Don’t F it Up.

Another poignant moment came thanks to an acupuncturist. I was in a session for a leg injury and I told him the story of my bag. He said, “I have another patient I should put you in touch with. She’s a gem and she’s high-up in fashion design. Let me call her for you.” He did. And he put me in touch with her. This sent-from-the-fashion gods woman offered to meet me for coffee on a beautiful summer morning. I thought I’d need to impress her because she was a high-power consultant at Saks Fifth Avenue. I met her on a street corner. I walked with her to an uber-crowded Starbucks and she said, “I hate waiting in line for corporate coffee. You wanna just hit the coffee truck?” Again: the kind of grounded attitude I never expected in the fashion world. We walked out, I splurged with $2.50 for two light-n-sweets from a coffee cart and we sat on a bench. I told her my concept and showed her sketches and even brought swatches …

Chapter 4: Who’s Carolina Herrera?

So I called Ben Liberty. A brief phone conversation revealed a super friendly man who seemed far-from-pretentious when he listed the companies for whom he creates samples: Gucci, Coach, J.Crew. Once again, I was talking to a behind-the-scenes fashion mover-and-shaker who voiced full enthusiasm for my project. Spoiler alert: throughout the entirety of my research and building this company, everyone everyone EVERYONE has been nothing but helpful and enthusiastic. I expected Project Runway attitude and fashion snobbery. Nothing could be further from the truth. (Well, actually, Howard with the Italian fabrics was condescending and unimpressed, but then again, I didn’t actually tell him what I was making.) So, in person, Ben ended up being a blue-collar Bostonian with a fantastic small factory on the far Lower East Side of Manhattan. “I used to be one of hundreds. But 9/11 destroyed our business. No one could get to us. Everything south of Chambers was closed off for months. We couldn’t do business. That’s why I’m the only one left.” His factory was about 1,000 square feet …

Chapter 3 – International Color Cartel

So I called the fabric guy. It was just before Christmas and he said, “I can’t meet until the new year. I’ll be in Italy making decisions about colors and textures.” I had it in my mind he was one of the international color cartel that decides what the rest of us poor consumerist schlubs will be force-fed for the next year. A few weeks later, my design partner (James) and I were ushered into a conference room lined with 4 rows of 12×12 fabric swatches. Fabric guy (Howard) knew he was dealing with newbies. His eyes-half-mast behind the glasses demeanor gave away nothing. He wasn’t a shark ready to take advantage of us, but I could see the sigh behind his Elliott-Gould-in-Ocean’s-Eleven glasses that said, “this is such a waste of time.” Before meeting Howard, I told James I wanted the bag to be leather – like Louis Vuitton bags, but dyed deep navy blue. “Ok, well Louis Vuitton isn’t leather, first off.” “Oh.” “It’s coated canvas.” “Coated with what?” “Um…plastic.” “You mean, these …

Chapter 2 – Starting the Path

So I called a good friend, (also an actor), who had some experience in design, James Brown. I asked him, “I have a random idea for a design I’d like to ask you about. Can you meet me at the playground where I bring my kids?” A few days later we met at a playground, aka my office. “What do you think of making a stylish diaper bag for dads?” He didn’t guffaw in my face. Phew. First step down. Right away, James put together some inspiring ideas and notions of other bags. A week later, we met up at a coffee shop (so we’d have a table for sketching) and laid out a basic idea of a messenger bag. I mentioned, “I’d like the bag to be deep navy blue. Like Louis Vuitton material, but blue.” Armed with a design, I first reached out to a friend, Mike Lubin, whom I like to call “the unofficial president of an unofficial gay dads club” with which I’m remotely active. I texted him a pic of …

So…Now I Confess…

While my blog is often about my personal/public therapy, it’s now truly my own confession time. I started blogging to sell stuff. I know, I know. Once again, I’m a monster. Worse than when I went hoarse yelling at my youngest due to his #tearlesscrying. But lemme explain: A few years ago I founded a company making “baby gear for stylish dads”. See, when I was expecting my first son, I wanted a really nice diaper bag. Something super stylish, super masculine, and not necessarily inexpensive. I was thinking, “I’m cool with paying $250 for a bag that states, ‘I’m a proud dad and I’ve got style.’” Shockingly, I couldn’t find anything like it. So I had a kid, got a dumpy bag, became permanently sleep-deprived, got some gray hairs, had another kid, became ten times more overwhelmed and under-rested, and then decided, “I think I’ll start a company making stylish baby gear for dads. I’ve never been a business person, I studied international affairs and philosophy 87 years ago in college, and I’m just …

Dear Mr. Dolce & Mr. Gabbana,

“I wish I had some Dolce & Gabbana crap so I could burn it.” – One of my witty Facebook friends I usually don’t get worked up by stupidity. Luckily, there are enough hotheads in the news and social media that I can sit back and enjoy the public stoning of broadcast faux pas. Instead I get worked up about nerdier stuff. Like campaign finance reform. But many people have asked me what I think of the recent comments by fashion moguls (and gay partners of 23 years), Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. First off, I roll my eyes at their “bling” with gold logos splashed all over tacky glasses, bags and clothes. But then I really rolled my eyes when I read their statement that children of IVF are “children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteruses for rent, seeds chosen from a catalog.” D&G later stated, “Our views are traditional, not judgmental.” I give them credit for sticking their ground and not making public apologies to rectify the vicious backlash against their brand. And semantically …

Chapter 6: Blind Pitching

I emailed our bag drawings to a friend who organizes a dads-and-kids club. He responded immediately and said, “You need to talk to my friend, Amy Meadow. She’s a fashion consultant.” “But, wait,” I texted. “What did u think of design?” “It’s awesome!” Phew. Validation is nice. I’m such an actor. I called Amy. I pitched my idea, talked about my own search for a cool diaper bag, and made self-conscious disclaimers about my own un-stylish jeans-and-t-shirt aesthetic. Over the phone I could hear her typing. “Ohmigod, this is a great idea. I can’t believe it doesn’t already exist. Ok. We can talk more, but my expertise comes in later. First you need to talk to my friend, Julia. She’s an international bag sourcer.” “Thanks so much. This is awesome. Um, also, because I’m so fashion-unconscious, do you think I should start subscribing to Vogue Men, or something, to be more fashionably aware?” “No. Your naiveté is refreshing. Hold onto that. And go call Julia.” Phew. Less tedious work for me. I’d rather remain naive, …

Bag Project Chapter 4: What’s a diaper bag for? Sunglasses.

During our meetings to discuss mission statements and blankets and company names, James and I of course discussed aspects of diaper bags. He’s not a father, so I told him the basic needs: “We need pockets. Lots and lots of pockets. We need to feature the pockets whether or not people use them. I mean, I don’t use pockets. I’m not that organized. I dump things into my bag. The only time I actually organized the contents was taking a flight, and even then, the contents spilled out during security screening, proving my point that there’s no point in organizing the insides of a bag. Still, pockets were a selling point for me and they will be for prospective parents.” James laughed. I went on to make a personal point, “However, I did use the pockets on the outside of the bag. There was quick access for a bottle, for pacifiers, and – I’m a little embarrassed to admit – a pocket for my sunglasses.” “The important things,” James laughed. “Happy daddy makes a happy …