Today we speak to the awesome and amusing designer Sam Shipley.
I moved around a bit when I was a kid: Chicago, DC, Denver, etc… My dad is a serial entrepreneur and I always worked for him each summer. In ’92 we moved to Crested Butte, Colorado and I began snowboarding. I competed for years and eventually ended up going to CU, Boulder. My goal was to ride five days a week and eventually go pro. While I was at Boulder I met a few friends that knew I was a painter and we dreamt up a small brand and gave it a go after school.
That brand was called Trovata. It was 2002. Very quickly we found ourselves in the fashion spotlight. Retailers and editors were responding to our West Coast meets East coast vibe. We moved to New York City and won the CFDA/Vogue FashionFund, the Ecco Domani Award, and the CFDA Award for Menswear. It was humbling, surprising and mostly a lot of fun. I mean, before we moved to NYC, we were in Newport Beach, surfing at lunch. We were unconventional.
In 2008, one of Trovata’s co-founders (Jeff Halmos) and I started an eponymous brand, Shipley & Halmos—a design focused brand that used American cool as our starting point. We grew up together and truly shared one hell of an experience. Our true motto was to design anything we want, when we wanted, which allowed us to design furniture, books, art materials, clothes, shoes, etc… We had an amazing run and learned so much.
A few years ago, we were approached to reimagine Haspel–a legacy men’s wear brand founded in New Orleans in 1909. This brand has contributed so much to American fashion–they originated and popularized the seersucker suit and led innovation for lots of fabrics we take for granted today; synthetics and wash-and-wear textiles for example. They were really ahead of their time but also very rooted in this classic, Southern way of dressing.
We had carte blanche to reinvent who the modern Haspel guy is. That was three years ago and it’s been great to work with the fourth-generation owner, Laurie Haspel Aronson, on rebuilding this incredible name. We’ve retooled the seersucker suit but added a whole sportswear collection that is gaining traction at great retailers like Nordstrom, Trunk Club and Ron Herman. It has been an awesome experience so far.
Today, I live in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with my wife Allison–who is also a designer. It isn’t Colorado but I get upstate enough to catch a few Brook trout here and there. Besides, New York is it own creative ecosystem and has had a profound effect on me.
As for my personal style:
Jeans: Currently I am wearing Acne jeans. With denim it really is worth dropping some extra coins to get exactly what you want. We did collaboration with Raleigh Denim and can’t wait to wear those too.
Shirts and sweaters: Shirts are a tough one to get specific with. The key for me is to mix it up as much as possible. I like to wear vintage, Shipley & Halmos, Haspel, Muji, etc… I like to play with proportion too. I wear a lot of 90s sized dense knit crew necks.
Pants: Pretty much only wear jeans. I may not have a sick Benz but the job does afford me this luxury.
Suits: Haspel. They are one of the OG American brands and tailoring is their specialty. Not to mention they are made in the USA, which is always a plus.
Shoes: Just like everyone else, I’ve been into sneakers. I’m a huge basketball fan and so my loyalty lies with Phil Knight and crew. My favorite shoe right now is the Nike Inneva Mid (all grey).
Accessories: Here’s where my scrubbiness ends. I religiously wear a Cartier Tank. It’s about as flash as I get but it is everything I want in a watch: clean, gold, a touch of personality and timeless.
Outerwear: Winter is my favorite season (I grew up in Colorado and Chicago) so outerwear is key. Right now I’m splitting time with a Shipley & Halmos leather biker jacket, a vintage M-1 bomber, and a vintage drop shoulder mineral blue topcoat.
Favorite Cologne: This one is easy. At Shipley & Halmos we worked with the awesome duo over at D.S. & Durga to develop a scent that somehow mashed Florida x Colorado. It turned out amazing, like a pine forest wearing sunscreen. Well it smells way better than that sounds.
Your favorite App: This one is so tough. I’d say what blows me away every time is streaming an NBA game on my phone. It’s just incredible that you can watch live sports in your hand while sitting in a cab.
Favorite piece of technology: I record a lot of music and I don’t have huge studio space so I recently bought an Arturia Analog Lab midi keyboard with an analog software package that mimics the best analog synths out there. It has completely changed the way I record and the expression my songs have.
Next tech purchase: My Macbook needs to be upgraded. That purchase always hurts a little.