Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Genesis of Graey - Part 1

While studying haute couture at the Chambre Syndicale, during lunch breaks I would often walk into Colette, which was literally down the street on rue St. Honore. Colette, for the uninitiated, is quite possibly the most awesome boutique in the world. The boutique is a fairly large space by Paris standards, with three floors. The bottom underground floor is a cafe, the main floor sells accessories, CDs, books, gadgets, fragrances, etc, and the top floor sells clothing. The store is awesome to walk around because the clothes are displayed like art in a gallery -- very sparsely and on mannequins. Most of the clothing is a very tightly edited collection of designer clothing, but there is a corner for high-end t-shirts.

After visiting Colette, I started becoming interested in starting a line of high-end t-shirts. I noticed that most of the tees I saw were silkscreened tees, but there were a few that were embellished, like the Prada and Isabela Capeto tees.

Once I was back in New York, I started to think about ideas of making creative t-shirts. In addition to trying out many different ideas, I came upon this cool "lace" (I found out later that the lace I found was actually embroidered laser-cut satin) and started playing with placing the lace on tees.

Meanwhile, through someone I met at Elie Tahari, I got a job working on the business side of things at Barking Irons, a contemporary menswear line that started with t-shirts. Since most of my previous experience was in designer wear, I wanted to gain firsthand experience of business in the t-shirt market.

I also started trying to come up with names for my line. I didn't want to use my own name since this was my first venture. I initially wanted to use a certain female name, but when I looked into trademarking, I discovered it was already trademarked by many different entities. I finally came up with the name Graey by putting the two spellings of grey together. I wanted a name that was distinctive yet neutral.