It was a decade ago that Todd Shelton, namesake of the esteemed Todd Shelton menswear brand, first unleashed his brilliantly minimal and genuinely purposeful line to a polished following. It was a classic and inspiring tale of “the chase”, that internal hustle to realize a dream, and given the whole small fish-big pond conundrum, he could not have chosen a more difficult path. From the laid back den of Southern charm that is Tennessee, to the frantic and predatorily competitive fashion battleground of SoHo, Shelton and his old world, seasonal trends- be- damned approach to a man’s wardrobe quickly emerged as a champion amongst contenders. The pricing was right (selling directly to its base has allowed the Todd Shelton brand to remain affordable). The intent was genuine (the direct connection to the consumer enables the label to better understand its clients’ needs). And the finished product was exquisite in its simplicity (no unnecessary details and no shoddy materials. No fleeting gimmicks). It appeared that Shelton and his brainchild had achieved the proverbial Zen of his craft.
But two years in, his gut told him otherwise.
His line was produced in China, offering him a friendly bottom line and more convenience than a readily available alibi. But it defied sense. How could he be the architect behind such an honest and sincere catalogue of threads, only to cut down his own vision through the impure means of overseas production? And far worse than the threat of shrunken girth in his own wallet, Shelton understood that such practices morphed him into a cog in a very dangerous machine. These days, with each order sent to China, America loses a piece of itself. The loss of capability in creating things becomes the gateway to further deaths, namely our heralded innovation capacity and our global pedestal as a creative mecca. As the Todd Shelton brand saw it, our heritage and identity was worth far more than any dollar amount.
So the company became a Made In America operation.
From Jersey City, amongst the ghosts of textile giants (and perhaps possessed by their immortal commitment to sincere and proud craftsmanship), to the computer or smartphone you are reading this from, Todd Shelton is a company that once wove a closet so instinctively “right” for a man that even an overseas DNA might have been acceptable. That Todd Shelton is what it is and shares a soul with patriots of yesterday, today and tomorrow? Well, it just might leave us with a smile that is eternal.
And who could expect a smile as anything but everlasting? At Todd Shelton, they don’t do trends.