We know them for their modern-meets-classic clothing, but we’re starting to reallize the Shipley & Halmos boys are into more than just designing our dream wardrobe. Soon, they will be book publishers. In lieu of showing this fashion week they’ve chosen take on a huge project.
Last night, we caught up with Jeff Halmos and Sam Shipley on the Women’s CO-OP floor of Barneys’ Madison Avenue store, the first stop on their “Fill In The Blank Photo Tour.” After almost four hours (two in men’s and two in women’s) of meeting with customers, the pair was exhausted. “Four hours is way too long,” we heard one of them say, with 13 days and 12 cities left to go.
In each of the cities they visit, the designers set up a professional photo booth to take pictures of willing Barneys CO-OP customers, who will also fill out a mad libs-esque questionnaire followed by a release form because, come fall, select photos and questionnaires will be compiled into book intended to create an expansive portrait of the Shipley & Halmos customer. If last night’s guests were any indication, that customer is cool and stylish and if anything the book will likely contain some great street style. We’re also pretty curious about how all those mad libs will come together. The book will be called “We’re An American ______” and will be sold at Barneys stores.
We love this idea and wanted to hear more about how it came about and what the future looks like for the young designers, so we talked to Jeff (Sam was busy playing photog).
Fashionista: Who came up with the idea?
Jeff Halmos: We were talking about finally taking the time to go out and visit customers in stores outside of New York. We didn’t want to just go and stop in; we wanted to make it sort of a project to engage people that we meet and bring them into our creativity. Either we would introduce them to Shipley & Halmos if they’ve never heard of us before, or, if they’re fans, we get to meet them and talk to them. So far, we’ve met a combination of the two.
What were your expectations?
Well, we were nervous that people would be shy but that was definitely not the case today. We thought people might be shopping and look over and ahhh there’s photos, they’re not quite sure if they wanna be a part of that, but that was definitely not the case because people were definitely very, very happy to get in there and go crazy. I think the mad libs helped to get them thinking in a more creative way. They’re not just standing there posing; they’re actually engaged.
Where are you most excited to stop?
I’m most excited about Seattle! I’ve never been there and Sam’s parents live there. I’m also excited about Austin–somehow Sam and I have never been there either.
Planning anything for Fashion Week?
No, we’ll be doing market appointments, but this [whole project] is a lot and we’re working on some other things following right up with this. It’s a huge creative project. We have to come back and put together the book and art direct it so that’s gonna take up a lot of our time.
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
We definitely hope by that time we have our own store, or stores. I hope we have more time to do projects like this where we can get out of the office and do things because we have so many ideas it’s just a question of being able to find time. We have a really small office, it’s just a few of us. Hopefully in 5 years, we’ll have more people to take care of day-to-day.
See below for tour dates. If you happen to be in any of these cities, we definitely recommend going. In addition to getting to meet. (In our opinion) two of the cutest (and most talented) designers around, you’ll get a free limited edition tee and sharpie, and you might end up in a book!