Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pun(c)tuation By Tarboo

What is your shirt's story? This may seem like a unimportant question initially but there is a lot behind that piece of clothing that you are wearing. The material had to be produced, the fabric dyed, the pattern cut, the seams sewn and perhaps the shirt was then shipped a VERY long way so that it could be hung on a rack with twelve other shirts just like it in the middle of a store with four floors filled with endless other racks. This is often times the story behind an item of clothing and along with this basic story another piece is usually forgotten. The story behind the person who may have been paid very little and worked many long hours in order to ensure a competitive price. It is extraordinarily easy to separate yourself from this path that is taken by most of the clothing in our stores. I am most certainly guilty of it. I find myself seeking out basics on the cheap or going the inexpensive easy route to get a style that I know will be out as soon as it is in. Never a very rewarding endevour. Why do I bring all of this up? Well, as I mentioned I would be doing in my post on Saturday I got a chance to spend a couple hours talking with Matt Noren, Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes and their friend (and the muse behind one of their designs) Tilson at Pun(c)tuation Gallery on Capitol Hill. Matt and Maikoiyo have come together in a creative collaboration to create Pun(c)tuation by Tarboo; a line of clothing with a much different kind of story then the example above. Both Matt and Maikoiyo have a deep interest in well made clothing that stands the test of time both in style and durability. During my visit we talked extensively about Northwest heritage brands such as Filson and Pendelton and about the beauty of the history behind these companies. Both Matt and Maikoiyo recognize that the way these brands have always created clothing is rare thing today and they want to take part in bringing people clothes that lasts as well as clothes that their customers are excited and proud to wear. After looking at the product that they are creating for the shop it is easy to see that Seattle has a new classic on their hands.

It is also rare nowadays to know your salesperson. While talking with Matt and Maikoiyo it quickly became clear that their goal wasn't to just sell me a shirt. They wanted to know about me... Why I dress the way I do, what is important to me when I buy a piece of clothing, what sorts of items I have been looking to add to my wardrobe... I honestly can't remember another time that a salesperson asked me these things. They explained later that thier goal lies much deeper than simply selling an item when someone comes into Pun(c)tuation. They hope to develop a relationship with their clients so that they are able to create a community of people who know where their clothing came from and are excited to tell others the story behind it. By fostering an interest in the art of handmade clothing and helping people notice the detail of a well made pocket or an antique button they hope that the items they sell will be well loved and live on for generations because of their timeless style and undeniable durability (the unavoidable result of fine fabrics and hand sewn garments).

Now, I have the difficult task of choosing which of their shirts I am going to make a part of wardrobe. They recently started making a women's line (although, you readers well know that I would have purchased one of the men's shirts in a heartbeat anyway) and I can't wait to add another shirt to my current rotation of about four favorite tops that I just can't seem to stop wearing. On Tuesday though I certainly wasn't leaving empty handed. I purchased a beautiful scarf handmade by Maikoiyo's girlfriend Ashley who was the stunner standing with him in the photo I posted Saturday. Her scarves are quite the masterpiece. When I held it for the first time in the shop and felt the fabric and construction I got so excited about wearing it in and making it my own. Here it is on my chair at home waiting for me to wear it when I go out later.

You can check out Pun(c)tuation Gallery at their website and Tarboo Inc. at theirs or, even better, stop in! It is a pretty special experience. These guys really care about what they are doing and it shows.
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