Stylemaker: Exposed Seam
Today we are introducing a new series: the Stylemakers! These occasional posts will highlight people changing the the way we do things in Boston. Our first Stylemaker profile features Jenifer Stark of Exposed Seam, a company making accessories for cyclists.
I went over to the live/work studio in Fort Point that Jen and her husband share, and we chatted about what she is trying to do with Exposed Seam, and the path that led her towards making accessories for cyclists. Jen learned to sew when she was very young, from her grandfather’s second wife, an Italian seamstress. Jen and her brother would go to their house after school, and Jen spent much of that time in the sewing room. During high school, she would rip apart her clothing and recraft it into something that better reflected her. More than high fashion, Jen was really interested in how things fit together.
Jen went to McGill University in Montreal for undergrad (as I did!), majoring in Mechanical Engineering. After university, she wanted to combine her love of textiles with her skills in engineering, and worked for a sewing machine company, and then in logistics for sweater design company. With a certificate from RISD in knitting, she has published knitting designs under the name Blue Alvarez. More recently, fashion design classes at MassArt grew her knowledge of textiles and sewing, and led to the creation of Exposed Seam.
Exposed Seam makes a “StaySharp Commuter Cuff” to protect pants from becoming torn or grease-stained from contact with bicycle gears. At some point, most cyclists have arrived to their destination with a right leg smeared with black bike oil. My husband was in South Boston on his bike when someone handed him a card for Exposed Seam, with the tagline “don’t be that guy!” The concept of something to protect and hold down that troublesome right pant leg is so simple, and yet so genius!
Jen said that she had been surprised that the accessory didn’t already exist. Her husband Jonathan (an amazing photographer), bikes 2 miles each way to work, a short enough ride that he wears his work clothes on the ride. After several destroyed pairs of pants, her asked Jen to design something that would allow him to ride in his work clothes and seamlessly transition from bicycle to work day. She came up with something reminiscent of spats, more common among military clothing, to hold down and protect the pant. After four or five versions, she had designed something that worked really well, and a few months later they began to sell them from their studio.
Made of strong, easy-to-clean and water-resistant nylon with waterproof backing, the cuffs attach with velcro and have a small reflector strip on the back. She may begin making other accessories, such as small tool pouches, out of the same strong fabric. As demand for the commuter cuffs grew, Jen partnered with Precision Sportswear in Fall River to produce the cuffs, keeping the production small and very local. The cuffs come in a wide variety of colors, and can easily fit in a pocket or bag when not in use. Such an easy way to stay sharp!
For more information on Exposed Seam, visit their website. Images courtesy of Exposed Seam / Jennifer Stark.
Do you know someone who is changing the scene in Boston? Send your Stylemaker nominations to info[at]thebostondaybook[dot]com!