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An Industrial Revolution in Design: Inseam Clothing & Supply

by David  Perry
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Dec 9, 2015

"I had actually forgotten a seam allowance on the side of the pants," John Robb recollects of a pair of custom pants he made while a student at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. "They were tight -- super-tight -- by accident."

And the recipient, Rob's future partner Jeff Diaz, could not have been happier, "These pants fit like a glove. I never had a pair of pants that fit me the way they these did."

From that mistake came the idea for Inseam Clothing & Supply, a store and fashion line made for men by men... with men on their minds.

Partners In Business and Beyond

Robb and Diaz form the complementary yin and yang at the heart of the Inseam appeal. Putting his eye for cut and line to good use, Robb looks to the sharp, crisp, yet rugged silhouettes of military and police uniforms (Parisian law officers are a particular wellspring of inspiration). Throw in a dab of youth culture and a healthy appreciation for industrial-looking fashion and the finished product is not unlike a 21st Century low-rise version of the jeans and trousers iconic gay artist Tom of Finland drew: classic and, dare it be said, bordering on formal.

"I'm a little more daring," explains Diaz, whose color schemes come from his childhood in the Caribbean. "I grew up in Puerto Rico, with color and lots of it -- the more, the better."

"He's amazing at 'color-predicting,'" Robb beams, noting Diaz often nails what shades and hues the market is trending toward well before they become the season's canon colors. A quick peruse of the Inseam website is a leisurely stroll through cool tints of grays and blues with occasional pops of rust and olive, each meant to announce the wearer, not the clothes.

The Perfect Fit

First established in 2001 in Provincetown, Inseam relocated to the larger market of Boston six years later. The brand then launched its online store, introducing people from all over the world to their distinctive collection while still serving local customers who are invited to stop by the Inseam studio, still in Boston, and enjoy the hands-on service that is one of the company's trademarks, as are the "Made in America" label and a fit as close to custom-made as possible. The hard work shows; the company has seen a 10 percent rise in profits each year since inception and is committed to domestic production.

Both emphasize that for all the aesthetics, their clothing is not simply stuffing a customer in something tight. In the 1950s, men's jeans were comfortable but billowy. Designer jeans swept in with the 1970s and cinched in everything so close that a simple walk down the street was a non-stop pinch. Inseam fits in the Goldilocks Zone between the two extremes, hugging the seat ("We do a great butt!") while giving a man's legs (or whatever else) room to move. With style.

"We wanted to design clothing that one could both wear to the office and continue out for the evening without a stop at home," Diaz tells EDGE. "Our collection imparts a sense of masculinity and sex-appeal without going over the top or marginalizing our customers. We manage to make people feel sexy while they are dressed."

Capturing the "sophisticasual" look, one of fashion's holy grails, is no easy feat. To that end, Inseam's wide-ranging customers have more than just a pair of well-fitting jeans or shorts to choose from; the collection also includes shirts, long and short, in their inventory. The designs, which include both collared shirts and graphic T's, are made to breathe and emphasize the chest and shoulders while slimming the midriff.

Sums Robb: "We want our customers to feel confident and empowered, and their self-esteem to be heightened."

Which is easy with the perfect fit.

David Perry is a freelance travel and news journalist. In addition to EDGE, his work has appeared on ChinaTopix, Thrillist, and in Next Magazine and Steele Luxury Travel among others. Follow him on Twitter at @GhastEald.


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