Philip frames professional milestones
The entrepreneurial spirit is all around... and sometimes it's right next door. Meet Philip Soriano, co-founder of the men's lifestyle brand Hugh & Crye and our DC office neighbor. When he's not busy being a young entrepreneur, Philip is soaking up all life has to offer. Whether it's a sourcing trip to India or a dinner out with friends, he's constantly honing in on the details that make each experience meaningful. So, when faced with the challenge of decorating the Hugh & Crye office, he worked with us to figure out how best to display all the treasured pieces that best told their brand story. Here's a look into that process.
First things first. Tell us about Hugh and Crye! Hugh & Crye is a transformational men's lifestyle brand. We started by making shirts that fit lean and athletically-built men better than any other ready-made shirt you'll find. We've since moved to other product categories, like blazers, t-shirts, accessories. Our goal is help empower men to lead better lives. Currently, we're tackling that by challenging the status quo of ill-fitting mass brands, uninspired custom clothing and unsustainable sourcing. We're looking to expand beyond that in the future. And we're excited about it.
How did Hugh & Crye get it's start? Pranav, my business partner, was having a hard time finding shirts that fit. He saw that men's dress shirt sizing is archaic and serves very few people well. Dress shirts usually fit guys in the neck and sleeve and the rest of the shirt is a parachute. He measured hundreds of friends and coworkers and saw that you could break them down into a few sizes. He decided to create our first line and test it. I met him shortly after that and we launched the company together. The first 3 years was tweaking our original 6 sizes and then adding another 6 sizes to perfect the fit. It was a lot of work, but was very fulfilling to work with customers to create these sizes.
"I love seeing a concept birth from an idea into a fully-executed initiative."
Tell us a bit more about the creative process. Where do you find inspiration for your designs? A lot of my inspiration comes from people. Understanding what makes people tick. Getting to know their work, hobbies, etc. And hearing about their stories. I also find inspiration in helping others understand things about themselves. Travel inspires me a lot. I really geek out about the history of civilizations, things they did, why they did them. I also love talking to strangers when I'm traveling. It probably goes back to #1; understanding their culture, how and why certain things are done. I also enjoy elevated experiences. From my time serving in restaurants and knowing what goes into hosting others, I really enjoy excellent experiences. Whether that's at a museum tour, a hotel stay, a restaurant interaction, or a shoe purchase, I get inspiration from those interactions.
We are constantly inspired by the content we see on Instagram. What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts? @edit_lab_ – Brian Miller is very good at capturing beauty in everyday life, mainly through architecture, design, food & drink; @PatrickJammet – for food porn; @SeanMHotchkiss – Sean's photos are a perfect way to satiate my wanderlust; @AdreienRadford - His shots capture the best that DC has to offer; @MasterWilliams - he puts a very humanistic touch onto his (already very) excellent shots. It's a nice blend of art and real life, it's inspiring.
Your clothing line is very polished and playful. How would you describe your style? Err. Modern meets utilitarian and comfort.
Favorite thing about your job? I love seeing a concept birth from an idea into a fully-executed initiative. I enjoy understanding the process and people it takes to complete it - it's fulfilling seeing that in action.
So what did you frame with us to tell the Hugh & Crye story? A whole gallery wall of items.
One of our original patterns: It's the pattern of a left front panel of a shirt. It shows one of secret sauces in action: the fact that we don't grade linearly. (Usually in mass shirt-making, their grades between sizes are linear, so when you increase the size of a shirt, it increases equally, everywhere, like a balloon.
Photo of Pranav and myself: Capitol File wrote about us in one of their magazines. They sent out Greg Powers to shoot us. He captured a very modern aesthetic and us in our element. He did an excellent job of getting reactions out of us (read: turning us into models). He's a very talented photographer and the picture reminds us of a time during our early days and the process of working with him.
"My first two shirts were from this collection. They're very special."
Indigo hand-block printed fabrics: This was the fabric that we used for our first line of square-end ties - these ties breathed life into wearing a tie and allowed us/our customers to wear ties for fun. These fabric swatches show some inconsistencies in them, a by product of the hand block printing process. Every few inches, the fabric was dyed using blocks by a network of artisans. This printed fabric was a departure from woven materials we used in the past.
Fabric swatches: We framed the Hugh & Crye dress shirt fabric swatches from our first collection. These were the first shirts that created Hugh & Crye and the first fabrics that brought Pranav and I together. My first two shirts were from this collection. They're very special.
Illustrations: We framed 3 illustrations that symbolize facets of our brand.
Riksha: A nimble, 3-wheeled vehicle can weave in and out of traffic and gets places quickly. It has no doors and allows anyone to come and go as they please. We typically ride these when we're traveling on sourcing trips - a source of adventure and inspiration for us.
Giraffe: It represents body types. We all have parts that are disproportional. That's how Hugh & Crye got started and the giraffe is a celebration of that.
Curry plant: Pranav's mother gave him a curry plant when it was very young, a few years into starting H&C. Similar to our business, it was a labor of love keeping it alive. That said, it's alive and thriving and much bigger than it is in the drawing. We also like the notion of giving items that are meaningful and have.
We love how the wall came together. So many cool pieces. What do your visitors think of your framed moments? Everyone loves them. They're really excited to see the story of the brand and key totems of the history of Hugh & Crye come to life through the frames.
What are you excited to frame next? Now that we started framing, it's addicting! I'm interested in framing a few more totems that we have at Hugh & Crye. I'm also looking forward to getting some personal things framed: pictures of loved ones, post cards from family members, and a receipt from an early date that my girlfriend and I had.
Let's tell your business story.