In a world of fast fashion it’s refreshing to find a company that is creating quality classic investment pieces at a reasonable price point. One such company that are encouraging the slow fashion movement is Threadsmith, an exciting new menswear company specializing in classic knitwear.
The man behind Threadsmith is Yves Shahar. A graduate of Parsons, Shahar has a clear aim to create timeless pieces that will remain in your wardrobe for years to come without breaking the bank.
Threadsmith only launched their website in September 2014 but having found a niche in the market, are already creating a buzz with their quality pieces. Here Shahar talks mens fashion, his experience at Parsons and his exciting future plans for Threadsmith.
I’d love to know a little bit more about your background Yves, where you grew up, and when your interest in fashion began?
Off the top of my head I’ve been to around twelve schools in China, Taiwan, America, England, France and Switzerland. I never stayed in one school for over two years until I went to Switzerland for high school, where I stayed for four years until graduation.
It was here where my passion for fashion began. My mother used to be in the textiles business so I was always around fashion but I never had an interest in it. My interest grew during a snowy winter in Milan around 2003. I wasn’t ready for how cold it was and my mother could tell. She couldn’t bear the sight of me shivering so we walked into the nearest store and she bought me a cashmere scarf. I hesitated to accept because I’ve never owned an item of clothing that was so luxurious. She insisted and put it over my neck, I immediately felt the warmth and was truly touched by her act of affection. I still wear that scarf now even though it’s tattered. The emotion that scarf brings to me is strong till today and that’s the same emotion I want to instill in others with my clothes.
How was your experience going to New York and studying at Parsons?
It was one of the best and worst times of my life. The best because I enjoyed some of the best food, nightlife, culture and amazing times with friends. The worst because I was constantly questioning whether pursuing a career in fashion was the right direction for me.
After graduating from Parsons did you work for any designers?
I interned at Bensoni for a few months but soon after graduation I returned to Shanghai.
When did you first see a niche in the market for affordable but quality menswear and when did you first come up with the concept of Threadsmith?
I first saw the niche 10 years ago. It was very hard to find value when you went shopping, especially when it came to knitwear. There was no middle ground for high-quality and well-designed clothing. If you wanted high-quality cashmere, wool, or even cotton, you had to pay a lot of money. When I found out this was due more to branding than actual material costs, I knew I had to do something about it. The concept for Threadsmith came to me around 2012.
Can you run through the process of starting the company?
The process is very different for everybody because we all have different situations. I made a lot of mistakes when I first started but learned from them along the way. From my experience the most important thing is first to make sure there’s a strong desire for your product before investing time and money into making it. Convince ten people to buy your product before it exists, then take it from there.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
Increasing awareness. There is so much information nowadays that finding an effective way to grab people’s attention is getting harder.
You are in the very early stages of the company, but what has been the reaction to Threadsmith so far?
So far the reaction has been very positive! Our customers really love the products and many of them wear Threadsmith daily. This probably makes me the happiest because I want the clothes to be enjoyed.
How many people are in your team?
I’m the only one working on this full-time. However, I couldn’t have taken Threadsmith to this point alone. I have amazing people around me that truly want Threadsmith to succeed and they help me when I need it. Without them I couldn’t have come this far.
In terms of the pieces you design, where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from people watching, movies, TV, magazines, books and shopping. I want to make clothes that people want to wear and the best place to start is to look at what they’re wearing.
Can you describe your creative process when producing the first Threadsmith collection?
Research, sketch, measure, prototype and repeat until perfect.
How would you describe a Threadsmith customer?
A Threadsmith customer is someone that is looking for value. They want to pay for what they get. Our customers are confident in themselves.
What makes Threadsmith different to other menswear brands out there?
Threadsmith’s focus is on timeless design and quality materials delivered at an affordable price. I believe that most menswear brands disappoint in at least one of these categories.
At the moment you focus on men’s basic knitwear, or for women who are looking for oversized knitwear, do you foresee your company expanding into a wider collection?
Yes I do. The reason I focus on knitwear is because I like to focus on doing a few things really well rather than a lot of things poorly. I think we have enough poorly made products in our lives and I don’t need to contribute to that.
Would you like to remain an e-commerce store or do you foresee Threadsmith being stocked in stores?
I see Threadsmith being stocked in stores as well. We have to be where our customers are.
What menswear designers inspire you most?
Tom Ford. His overall collections may seem out there but there are always certain items that catch my eye. If you look at the way he dresses himself he always looks so good by keeping to a few colors and sticking with the classics.
Who are your style icons?
Daniel Craig, Tom Ford and Steve McQueen.
In terms of Threadsmith collection, do you feel you appeal to a certain market (Asia, or western) or universal?
It’s universal. Anybody can wear Threadsmith. When it comes to clothing I think most people just want to look good and feel comfortable.
Can you tell me a little more about your views on fashion in Asia Vs, America, particularly men’s fashion? Are there any distinct differences you notice between the two markets?
Currently fashion in Asia, especially China, is heavily reliant on a few well-known brand names, whereas in America there are many options that people are comfortable to buy from. The market is shifting in China. Consumers are craving for better options to form their own identities. This can be seen by the declining sales in the luxury market.
What are your 2015 plans for Threadsmith?
We’re developing new partnerships and some amazing new products. I’m very excited for the upcoming year and can’t wait to show people what we’ve been working on.
And finally, where would you ideally like to see the company five years from now?
My goal, whether it’s today or 5 years from now, has always been to improve the life of as many people as possible. Right now I’m just focused on making the best clothes in the world!
For the full Threadsmith collection check out : Threadsmith