Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sweet Tees 2: Q&A's with local t-shirt designers

What inspires them, who wears them, and why their tees are necessities.

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 1:12 PM

The Varsity Tee in hot pink.
  • The Varsity Tee in hot pink.

The Mink Clothing Company
Q&A with Co-Founder & Creative Director Matty Mink

What’s that little soft patch made of anyway?
Well, about a year ago we did a super limited release where we used genuine mink fur for the patch. I think there are only like six of those t-shirts in existence. But normally we use a few different types of faux fur.

Is it on everything MINK makes?
That's the idea but we've released a couple items without it. And that was only because it didn't necessarily fit the aesthetic of that particular product. 

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sweet tees: Local designers' high-style T-shirts

Mink, Ides of March, Threadish, SLOH, and Bluelucy take the tee to a new high.

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM

The Tampa Bay designer tee scene has expanded since local apparel company Black & Denim (now with a retail location at Channelside) made a mark with its distinctive American-made, Americana-themed attire. Now many new brands have marched into the picture, each with its own perspective. The tees featured below cost $20-30, more or less, which makes shopping local super affordable (and, as always, fabulous). (For extended interviews with the designers, go here.

“We wanted to establish a signature that would make us stand out.” —Matty Mink

The candy-colored t-shirt with a camouflaged ferret — or was it a weasel? — on the front caught my attention. Then the soft patch on the sleeve caused me to feel up the stranger wearing it at my friend’s birthday brunch. Turns out, the camo creature is a mink named Sir Barrington, the color is “mint” and the t-shirt is from The Mink Clothing Company.

Every shirt bears the furry patch. “It’s this little certificate of authenticity sewn right to your clothes in plain sight,” says co-founder and creative director Matty Mink.

Dig it.

“Mac [the guy Matty brainstorms with] came up with the original idea for the patch. We were in that early stage of the company where we were trying to really define the feel of the brand. Mac suggested putting a little piece of fur on the sleeve. It just made total sense.”

They experimented with it to decide on exact measurements and placement. “Even the way the patch is sewn on is extremely particular.”

Matty suggests pairing Mink with your favorite jeans and “dopest” sneakers. “But,” he says, “I’ve seen people wear a Mink tee under a suit jacket with chinos and Gucci shoes and look better than everyone else in the room.”

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Nigerian-born shoe designer Shola Yusuf realizes her dream in Tampa

Posted By on Sun, May 11, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Shola Yusuf at home. - LESLIE JOY ICKOWITZ
  • Leslie Joy Ickowitz
  • Shola Yusuf at home.
When a woman survives a near-fatal car crash and the first thing she seeks is her missing Christian Louboutin, you know she’s got a thing about shoes.

That was Shola Yusuf’s reaction even before leaving the scene of her accident, which took place in NYC in 2009: She put the EMT to work finding the shoe that had slipped off her foot. And although the crash left her with a broken femur, she was driven to walk again by a fierce desire to wear those Louboutins. The experience also prompted the pharmacist and entrepreneur to take a step in a new direction:

Shoe design.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

New Spanx store shapes up International shoppers

The popular shapewear store opens in Tampa.

Posted By on Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 9:46 AM

A sizable crowd gathered on the lower level of the International Plaza early Friday morning, awaiting the grand opening of the new Spanx store. Fans of the undergarments and shapewear waited in a very lengthy line for a chance to peruse the store, while models wearing Spanx tees and tutus (with their Spanx strategically peeking out beneath) strutted around carrying clever, Spanx-centric signage—“United we slim,” and “SPANX has your butt covered.”

For Spanx creator Sara Blakely, the opening was a homecoming — Blakely was born in Clearwater and attended Clearwater High School.

According to Blakely, opening a store in Tampa has great personal significance.

“It’s because of this community that I’m the person that I am today,” Blakely said before cutting the ribbon (appropriately made out of hosiery) to open the store.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn was on hand to introduce Blakely, calling her the “pride of Tampa.”

The praise is certainly warranted—with the creation of Spanx, Blakely became the first self-made female billionaire. Yes — billionaire.

Since Oprah named Spanx one of her “Favorite Things” in 2000, the company has grown exponentially. The bodysuit shapewear has become a staple on red carpets — allowing stars to look seamless and slim in their couture gowns. Spanx retail stores are popping up across the country — adding momentum to the slimming movement.

The Spanx retail store features the famous shapewear, along with pantyhose, active wear, swim wear and men’s wear. Appointments are available with members of the Spanx Transformation Team for one-on-one styling consultations.

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