A couple of months back, we pledged our support for the Kirrin Finch Kickstarter campaign. It was our first foray into the world of crowd funded clothing manufacturing.
Now, a new Kickstarter campaign has caught our attention. Ben Douglas Clothing Co. has come out with a line of made in New Jersey dress shirts that are as unique as anything we’ve come across recently. Their offerings include the classic unlined button down collar. But they also include shirts with detachable spread and cutaway collars. Aside from New & Lingwood in England, we know of no other shirt maker who still offers detachable collars.
Once upon a time, principally before the advent of the automatic washing machine, the detachable collar was the default for all dress shirts. It allowed the collar (which received the most wear, owing to its proximity to the skin) to be laundered more often than the body of the shirt, saving time and wear.
Legend has it that the stiff, detachable collar was invented by Troy, New York housewife Hannah Montague. One day, in a fit of pique over having to wash the entire shirt when only her husband’s collar was soiled, she detached his shirt collars and laundered them separately.
Troy soon became the epicenter for production of the stiff collars, turning out millions of them each year.
Over time, the predilection for detached collars waned as men gravitated toward softer, attached versions. But as Nick Smith teaches us in Metropolitan, small details like a detachable collar are symbolically important.
You’d think that, since I’ve waxed rhapsodic about the Ben Douglas shirts, I’d have thrown my hat into their proverbial ring. Alas, no.
If I was in the market for off the peg dress shirts, I would definitely give these a try. But Hamilton has all my shirting needs met for the foreseeable future.
However, Ben Douglas is also offering a quartet of American made repp ties (at the classic and highly desirable 3.5″ width), and we signed up for one of those. Delivery is scheduled for August, and once we have ours in hand, we’ll summarize our impressions in a blog post.
We’ll let Ben Douglas summarize the appeal in their own words:
We set out to create a brand with soul – a brand with grit; a brand that appreciates the stories and details that inspire who we are. Ben Douglas Clothing Co. turned out to be more than a brand. It’s a living tribute to the well-dressed gentlemen who came before us. We’ve been hard at work for almost exactly a year – the designs are finished, the patterns are tweaked, and the fit perfected. Now we need your help to land the final punch.
With a pitch like that, how could we resist.