Jesse Szynal is not your average fashion industry entrepreneur. A chemical engineering graduate, Szynal worked in engineering sales until earlier this year. But the business casual dress code (or rather one particular problem therein) served as the ignition for what has become the undershirt brand Collected Threads.
“I could never find the right undershirt to wear beneath a polo or button up,” Jesse explains. “V-necks would always cut across my collar, crews were clearly visible, and a tank top for a guy who sweats? Forget it.”
Szynal’s temporary solution was to cut the collars out of his V-necks, but when one day at his parents’ house he noticed his father was doing the same thing, he decided it was time to take action.
“We started the brand in 2005 as a hobby, seeking to enable a man’s higher style with a subtle change to his wardrobe,” he explains. “We had some quality issues early on and learned it’s important to watch every detail and sign off only when fit, stitch, dye, packaging and even shipping methods are to your satisfaction.”
Now the product is perfect, and this year Jesse ditched the day job and took his undershirt, the jT, to market to an uproarious reception. “We actually wrote ‘Undershirt Violations’ at Project to guys wearing visible undershirts for function, not form. We would ‘impound’ their old undershirt and change them into the jT at the booth.” Jesse has plans to undertake similar operations in New York City, and we welcome him. CollectedThreads.com
This story appeared in the Notebook section of the November 2013 issue.