What started as a romantic lark between Gwen and I, to simply import fine dress shirts from Paris to NYC as an “extra-curricular” project, has become a passion and career to design, manufacture and sell our own line of menswear. We began 13 years ago with a simple concept: to make perfect shirts for the increasingly casual American, specifically New York City, workplace. At the time our approach was rather novel—when you lose the tie, the shirt suddenly carries the wearer’s personality. And thus in our own small way we believe we helped launch the Era of the Shirt. Even now as menswear reembraces formality and at the same time a renewed freedom of expression, the shirt has remained the aesthetic centerpiece of the wardrobe, the other articles in essence serving as the frame. In every collection and certainly in our current seasons, we feel that we have remained true to our particular vision that blends a modern, slim, NYC-centric aesthetic with oldworld tailoring quality and techniques, and colored in lively yet elegantly nuanced hues and patterns. We believe that our culture is entering a new golden era of menswear creativity, and we hope to be a significant player in that movement. Sincerely,
James Jurney Jr.
My first serious job was as an interior design assistant at the venerable design house of Parish-Hadley Associates. I spent a year practically living in the D&D (Decoration and Design) Building on 3rd Ave, searching out the latest and greatest and of course most luxurious fabric for our clients. It was this immersive experience with materials that has informed my entire approach to fashion design, and explains my preoccupation with sourcing the finest fabrics for our collections. James and I were engaged in 1997 and simultaneously started working on a menâ€™s shirt line that evolved out of a side project we were researching. We were originally going to import shirts from Paris but after some local due diligence we decided they really werenâ€™t all our style so instead we started to figure out how to design a line ourselves. Somehow it all started at the Kiosk on 39th Street. I just showed up looking for a list of domestic shirt factories, patternmakers and resources for shirt fabric and mother-of-pearl buttons. We started our first ready-to-wear line with the fit, energy and colorful palette that we thought filled a needed gap in New York dress down business finery. We spent our days at our shirt, suit and pant factories learning about the construction and styling of tailored garments. The real excitement began when we started getting requests from people who liked our style but had specific size needs that we could not accommodate with our ready-to-wear sizes. Back we went on a string of factory visits to learn how to design truly bespoke garments, and we soon gained prominence downtown as a popular spot for custom shirts and later custom suits. We have spent quite a few years now refining our take on New York dress up and dress down elegance that is highly wearable. Our collections are also highly individual and exclusive so as not to make our clients feel like they see themselves coming and going. My love of fabric that started at the D&D Building has flourished with the finest quality construction, the crispness of design, and the balance and richness of color from all the wonderful mills that Europe has to offer. Sincerely,
In the summer of 1998 we launched Seize sur Vingt with our own boutique on Elizabeth Street. Following the tradition of the bespoke clothier, we began by designing finely tailored clothing in fabrics and fit that are both youthful and elegant. We design and produce men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and made-to-measure shirts and suits, sportswear, shoes, and beautifully made accessories. Our primary point of focus is highest quality fabrics and construction targeting a mostly male, urban professional and creative industry clientele. The signature look is slim, tailored, clean and minimal, with refined detailing such as thick Mother-of-Pearl buttons and collar stays, simple sterling silver belt buckles, and bench-made Goodyear-welted shoes. Our production is exclusively with family-owned and operated workshops in Italy, Portugal and England. However the vibe is 100% NYC-LA; the SSV man is definitely a modern American, who wouldn’t be confused for an English or Italian expatriate. In 2005 we began to explore our slightly rebellious and tongue-in-cheek side with our younger-brother spin-off Troglodyte Homunculus. Here we have found new freedom to use materials and styling not normally ascribed to classical tailoring, or otherwise repurposed for a funkier vision. More importantly, our Troglodyte collection focuses on the concept of fashion functionality, addressing practical problems with novelties such as the “travel shirt”, the “driving shirt”, the “marine mobile sweater” and the upcoming “dancing sleeves jacket”. Throughout all of our collections, the common denominator is limited-edition production with inspiration and resources from the oldest traditions in clothing. On October 1st 2009 we made the big move from Elizabeth Street to a much larger headquarters at 78 Greene Street. Here, with additional studio and storage space, we are able to effectively nurture, develop and expand our collections to reach a greater audience. Our current growth trajectory is focused in Los Angeles and the online arena, with a long-term goal of global distribution in key cosmopolitan centers.
New Yorker, November 25, 1998 Departures, September 2002
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78 Greene St New York, NY 10012 Tel: 212.625.1620 16sur20.com