Tee Off: American Vintage


Selection of tees from the spring/summer 2011 collection

The luxe tee market has imploded in recent years, mainly due to the growing casual movement in fashion and the rise of premium denim.  I remember buying my first luxe tee from C&C California and wearing it with my Seven Jeans (am I showing my age?).  Today there are so many brands out there, most of them from Los Angeles, including Velvet and James Perse.

And now there is my new favourite, American Vintage. I first discovered American Vintage during one of my fashion trips to Paris. I was always under the impression that the brand was American (who says names are misleading?) but after looking at the design, it was obvious it was French.

The tees don’t stretch and keep their shape well (which is a major bonus with anything made from cotton) and the quality is great. The fabric is super fine and sheer so they are versatile enough to layer or wear on their own. And then there are the design details which have the je ne sais quoi look I love so much  –  cool washes (from worn in styles to a gorgeous denim shade), pockets, raw edges, and a very chic muted colour palette. Other fabrics include fleece and silk. The brand has also expanded their range to include other separates such as scarves, jackets, shirts, trousers and cardigans, all made from their signature supima cotton. I am particularly obsessed with their super-thin cashmere sweaters which I have in almost every colour.

Last night I caught up with the brand’s founder, Mickael Azoulay, who was in town to celebrate local boutique Rue Madame’s One Year Anniversary. The boutique is known for its selection of hip yet affordable French fashion and carries the largest selection of American Vintage in Asia. Read on for more…

Why did you decide to start American Vintage?

I travelled a lot to the US at the time when vintage clothes were becoming a big trend. These trips inspired me and I noticed that there were no real T-shirt brands in Europe, so I decided to create one.

What distinguishes American Vintage from other T-shirt brands?

American Vintage was originally a T-shirt brand but evolved to offer a large range of clothes. It’s also not just about a basic cotton tee; it’s a combination of style and qualitative materials. This season we are working on vintage treatments to make vintage inspired tees that are thin and stylish. They can work with any other fashion forward pieces.

How can you tell a good quality T-shirt from a bad one?

The way the fabric feels and comfort are the most important. You know the quality is good when you touch it.

What are your best-sellers?

Anything from the Massachusetts family (called “MAS”) which is made from delicate supima cotton. These products are very thin, comfortable and delicate.

How would you sum up your aesthetic in three words?

Purity, lightness, femininity.

What T-shirt styles and colours are essential in any woman’s wardrobe?

Every woman should have at least one MAS tee in her wardrobe in a bright colour. It’s a foundation piece which you can wear with anything.

Prices range from HK$360 to HK$550. American Vintage is available exclusively at Rue Madame, Shop 3088, IFC Mall, Central, Hong Kong (tel: +852 2234 7880) and Shop 117-118, Lee Gardens II, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (tel: +852 2972 2021).

One Response to Tee Off: American Vintage

  1. Karen Gotthelf says:

    does ifc have more stock in size small now? I come in on a regular basis to check and all the colours were gone in size small – have you got new stok?

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