What Does A T-Shirt Have To Do With Identity?
The quickest answer is The Shorter & Longer Tees are based off of a shirt I, the creator of The Keep Collection, took from my parents, a shirt that was with me on a few of my favorite days, a shirt that became the one that I wear when I want to communicate exactly who I am & where I come from. I created The Shorter Tee & The Longer Tee to give myself two more options that fit a similar bill since the original tee is literally hanging by a thread.
That original tee & its characteristics help me tell my particular story. It suggests that I'm maybe too nostalgic (as it's faded). It hints at my ambivalence towards my own femininity (as it's gender-neutral). It discloses my affinity for France, for boats, for the ocean (as it's striped). It speaks to my respect for my parents, their values, the awe, admiration & fear that I have of where they each come from (as it's their hand-me-down). It borderline shouts that I like looking a little disheveled (as it's full of holes). And these connotations betray just how much instinctual posturing lies behind the t-shirt, how much of a sham its "effortlessness" is. In fact, each time I put it on, I put it to serious work.
In this edition on Identity, I explore what it's like to be a specific person with plenty of assistance from contributing friends. We talk confidence, race, portraiture, being a perpetual outsider & getting dressed, and we present The Shorter Tee & The Longer Tee: the two The Keep Collection signature pieces that I've chosen to be the backbone of this brand. Though our other products & apparel pieces will be limited edition, these tees are around for good. I can't think of better ambassadors for myself or for The Keep Collection. Here's to hoping to you find a way to make them part of your wardrobes & selves.
Melanie Broder on why confidence might be overrated.
An interview with Raul Valenzuela, one of the many people behind the creation of The Shorter Tee & The Longer Tee.
Kendra Mitchell, on her particular racial identity.
Jan Sidebotham on two very different worlds: the evangelical & the adamantly secular.
I’d like to introduce the first three to complete The Keep Questionnaire: Hattie Lindsley, Sally Emery and Amanda Reid, three ladies from different parts of my life who I befriended out of interest in & respect for their style.
A timeline for the making of The Shorter Tee & The Longer Tee.
Background on The Shorter Tee & The Longer Tee, the first apparel items by The Keep Collection.
For a minute, suspend your disbelief that you could come to agree that putting on clothes is a form of spiritual practice.
Because nothing's more fascinating than self-representation.