Inquiries & Responses vol. 07: Ryan Berger of Simple Threads
Posted on January 24, 2012
This is the seventh in a series of interviews with people who have a keen interest in menswear, style, design, or generally cool stuff. Most of these people are doing something of great note that you should absolutely take a look at. If you haven’t heard of Simple Threads then it’s time to expand your blogroll. Ryan’s been dishing up stellar photography paired with great anecdotes about products, travels, and brands since 2010 and has been growing within the community with each passing month. The dude can write, which is important, but what really makes Simple Threads stand out is the photography; I guarantee at some point you’ve seen his signature split-toned early-evening-sunset-soaked photos of his growing collection of great American made clothing. I spent a few hours with him and his fiancé in New York City at the Pop-Up Flea (he provided the photos for the linked post) this past fall when we decided to do this interview. He’s an all-around genuine guy who’s got some great things to say about thinking for yourself, buying American-made, and gives a nice rundown of some brands he’s very excited about. Click below to read the entire interview as well as view some great photos from Ryan.
Inquiry & Response
Ryan Berger, creator of Simple Threads.
AC: Let’s take it from the top; you live in Florida, you take incredible photos, you do IT work…where does this menswear thing come from and what compelled you to start Simple Threads?
- RB: I started Simple Threads to write about and post photos of the stuff I liked enough to buy. I always hated typical product shots, with a white backdrop and whatnot. So I really based the blog off of the photography and really showing all of the details that make the product worth the money. I don’t even remember where the idea came from, I just wanted a creative outlet so I started it. It just sort of took off from there.
AC: You mentioned you had some interest in starting a brick-and-mortar shop near you in Florida. Any chance you could elaborate on the idea?
- RB: My fiance and I want to start a ‘general store’ in the small town we live in. Everything from US made paper stock and soaps, to jeans and vintage pieces. Everything would be made here, and of the best quality. This area really has nothing like that, and I wanted to bring peoples attention to why buying American is worth every penny.
AF: What’s coming up in the future for Simple Threads or what would you like to see happen?
- RB: I really don’t know. I never thought I would of gotten almost a million hits in the year since I started the blog last year. I really am focused on working on with some awesome brands and doing little collaborations on nice products. I want to travel and visit factories, and take photos of the process on how the garments I wear are created. I just love meeting new people and seeing new things. I really want to work with some of my favorite brands on photography stuff as well. Look books & all that jazz.
- RB: I think every man should learn to dress themselves. You shouldn’t follow any rules, or ask anyone anything. “Menswear” has taught “men” how not to think for themselves.
AC: What are some companies you’ve become excited about since starting Simple Threads?
- RB: Man, where do I start! There are so many small companies making amazing product in the United States, it would be impossible to list ’em all! Here are some of the ones that come to mind:
- -Layerxlayer: Patrick & Leah always surprise me with the uniqueness of their carryalls. I cannot tell you how many people stop and ask my fiance where she got her bag from. Aside from that, the construction and materials they use are top notch. I can’t wait to see what’s next for them.
- -Tellason: My good pal Mikey over at Woodlands turned me on to Tellason when I was in the market for a pair of 100% American made jeans. Everything that goes into a pair of Tellasons is domestically sourced. The hardware, thread, denim, and production is all sourced in the USA – which is really important to me. They make a great pair of jeans with a fit (the Ankara) which is perfect for me. These guys continue to keep things extremely simple, but extremely good.
- -Rogue Territory: Karl puts some serious work out for a one man operation. The construction that goes into his garments is ridiculous, and it results in an end product that is basically indestructible. The double-indigo work shirt he made was my first American made shirt, I still wear it at least twice a week.
- -Left Field NYC: Another one man deal that consistently puts out great product. There’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple, and thats what Left Field is about. Their chinos fit great, and are made to last. I had the honor of meeting Christian while I was in NYC and this guy lives and breathes Americana, he’s the real deal.
- -Post Overalls: Lead designer Takeshi Ohfuchi consistently knocks it out of the park with his classic designs and fabric choices. I had been lusting over Post Overalls for well over two years and finally just picked up two pieces (and got to meet Takeshi) in NYC. It’s just really easily wearable, and timeless stuff. I think that is the most important thing you should take into consideration when buying clothing.
- RB: Right now, I’m shooting with a Nikon D200 and a Sigma 50mm 1.4. Only lens I own, and I like it that way.
AF: There’s a whole host of great companies making things abroad that might be better engineered or designed than similarly conceived products created here (making things like raincoats, wooden spoons, whiskey tumblers, etc.). Do you think as American companies are establishing or re-establishing themselves as excellent brands, there’s something to be learned from our foreign counterparts? On the converse, would you say there’s more for foreign companies to learn from our manufactories?
- RB: It’s crazy to me that a lot of people, from all over the globe are buying American made garments. I buy local to support jobs here in the country I live in. The high standards of garment construction in America is being brought back by a lot of these smaller businesses that want to make stuff how we used to make it. I think that’s really neat, and I want to support that. My favorite designer is Takeshi from Post Overalls, and he’s been making all of Post’s garments stateside since the 90’s. It’s nothing new, more people are just starting to take notice and appreciate a well wearing shirt or pair of pants. Buying quality over quantity is of becoming cool again.
You can view Simple Threads by clicking here.
You can view more of Ryan’s photography by clicking here.
You can read vol. 6 of this series with Teppei Teranishi by clicking