Another visit with New England's coolest tradey lady, Taylor Johnston
As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things I spent time working on these past few months was my capstone class. The class consisted of two projects; in depth stories loosely based on the theme assigned. The first was the cripplingly specific "inspiration," the second "leading women." The latter initially felt a little pointless after the results of the election, but looking at the larger picture, highlighting and amplifying the achievements of women, or any other members of "other" groups, only becomes more important in the face of a political administration hell-bent on returning the country to a time well before anybody but white men were able to be seen as equal.
Which leads me nicely onto the subject of our second project, Taylor Johnston. The last time we met, she was taking me around the indoor courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This time, my friend Emily and I visited her in Cohasset, a tiny coastal town on Massachusetts' South Shore, to see the studio from which she sells her line of women's workwear apparel.
She started the company after an interaction with legendary NYT street style photographer, Bill Cunningham, at her previous job at the museum. She, like many women working manual labor jobs, found that there were no real options for her wardrobe outside of thrift store finds and ill-fitting men's workwear clothing.
As somebody who puts a lot of stock into appearances and style, her cause of wanting to give the option of tailored (pardon the pun) work garments specifically for people to be able to take more pride in their work really resonated.
actually met Taylor through her work for Gamine, the workwear company, about a year and a half ago, while I was working at Boston.com. She was going to appear at the American Field Market I was writing a piece on, and I chatted with her on the phone for about 45 minutes to get two quotes.
She was, and continues to be, a prophetic yet down-to-earth fountain of wisdom, intellect, and empowerment, and I've enjoyed working on every piece I've been able to rope her into since. She's been getting a lot more press recently, and her business is really growing. I highly encourage you to check out her site, and I'll pop a few other pieces that have featured her at the bottom of this piece.
Unfortunately, the book we made, while cool in its interactivity and modernism, is a little difficult to access unless you have an iPad. With an iPad, it's a stitch. Click this download link here, connect to Wifi, download, and enjoy reading in the iBooks app. Our piece is about halfway through, entitled "Taylor Is As Tailor Does." (Again, sorry about the pun.)
Without an iPad, it's not impossible, just a little less glamourous. I've uploaded a PDF of the book, which only lacks the interactivity and access to one gallery of photos. It's a little lower resolution to fit Squarespace's file upload parameters, but trust me, I took the photos and they are beautifully sharp! You can access that PDF by clicking here.
Both Emily and I are really proud of this, and hope you enjoy it as immensely as we did working on it.
- Here’s my interview with her about American manufacturing and the American Field Market for Boston.com, in September 2015: https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2015/09/12/born-in-the-usa
- Here’s an interview with her in NY Mag, which is one of my favourites: http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/05/finally-cool-solid-workwear-for-women.html
- Here’s a piece on her background, and life before Gamine: http://www.cultureisland.com/visualhappenings/small-talk-taylor-johnston-gamine-workwear-founder
- Here’s a profile in the Boston Globe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2014/10/01/she-digs-work-clothes-that-work-for-women/nqvOZscdpB9FGtNec229sL/story.html
- And lastly, a piece she was interviewed for in the New York Times earlier in 2016: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/business/smallbusiness/durable-designs-for-women-who-wrangle-and-weld.html?_r=0