Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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The Menswear Supply Shop is Live!

Menswear Supply Shop Announcement - Thread Theory

Today we launch the Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop!  Head straight on over to check things out or get to know some of my favorite new items by reading the post below:

Sew - Thread Theory

First lets talk about our sewing category because this is, of course, still the main focus of our shop.  Within this category you will find our sewing patterns and also all of the sewing tools, fabrics and kits that we have had in our shop for quite some time.  I’ve expanded on some of our best sellers.  For instance, isn’t this needle case and thread snip set by Vancouver Island woodworker Wray Parsons beautiful?Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-15

It is available in Cocobolo Rosewood and Yellow Cedar Burl to match the other tools that we stock by this artist.

We’ve added two new color options to our Bag Making Supplies Kit.  This Burnt Orange canvas is my favorite (it matches our logo!).

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-43This canvas is a different weight and is from a different manufacturer than the Olive and Grease options because our other canvas supplier no longer offers cotton canvas!  So, if you really like the Olive and Grease colorways, you will want to know that these are now limited editions and will be removed from our shop once we’ve sold out!

Now let’s move on to some completely new and really exciting items!

First off, meet the most rugged tote bag kit you will ever find:
Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-13

The Carry-All Kit is perfect for beginners.  It includes heavy-duty canvas featuring a screen printed design, cotton webbing for handles, and a scrolled set of instructions.  Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-40The designs are based off our Parkland and Alpine Pattern Collections so they are perfect for organizing your work in progress menswear projects.  If a non-sewing savvy viewer were admiring the bag, they would probably interpret the design as an encouraging message on a shape reminiscent of a beer label!
Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-41Next up:  I was VERY excited to find a source for really high quality plush waistband elastic!  And in perfect colors for manly Comox Trunks!  This elastic is incredibly lofty and soft.  It is comprised of knitted cotton and rubber and it will retain its width when stretched.  My favorite color option is the charcoal grey – super classy:

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-17

After creating the Strathcona Tee sew-along and after Matt had a chance to wear his new t-shirts for a while I made the decision to place my first really big order of fabric from the one remaining Canadian manufacturer of knit fabrics.  These knits are of far higher quality than I ever see used in ready to wear t-shirts (I clearly don’t shop in the right places!) and they are available in lovely bold classic colors.  You will find cotton interlock (for t-shirts), cotton fleece (for sweatshirts), and ribbing in our shop – all in perfectly dyed matching colors!Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-26

I’m excited about the black and white colors in particular because I find it really difficult to source pure black or white fabric (without some sort of print or obvious texture) in most fabric stores.  It drives me nuts when I want to create wardrobe basics or include black or white as a contrast element in a garment!Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-28

There are plenty of other new items in the sewing section of our shop with more scheduled for the near future!  This post would be miles long if I described each product though so let’s move on to our brand new knitting section :).Knit - Thread Theory

I am thrilled to announce that we now carry menswear knitting patterns and supplies!  We’ve started our collection by featuring British designer Erika Knight’s menswear book, pattern poster and yarns!Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-31

Erika’s menswear pattern book is the very best menswear knit book that I’ve found – the photography is spot on and really makes me want to get knitting right NOW (I’m planning to finally advance past scarves and dishcloths this winter lol).  The designs range from classic to more unusual (but still completely wearable for your average man).Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-12

Aside from the book, Erika’s other menswear pattern offerings are in poster format.  The menswear poster features some great staples and quick gifts (hats for Christmas gifts perhaps?).
Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-10

The poster uses Erika Knight’s yarns while the book uses a huge variety of yarns – both her own and yarns from other readily available yarn companies.  You can check out the required yarn and needle details on the poster product page!  We’ve stocked three types of wool: Vintage, Maxi and British Blue.  All of these yarns are from British sheep and manufactured entirely in England.  You can see that the colors are especially masculine and muted:Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-1

The texture of the Vintage wool is my favorite of the three:Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-3

 

Now on to the Literature category!
Read - Thread Theory

I had tonnes of fun choosing books since I’ve always been quite a book worm.  Our shop is now stocked with a selection of menswear fashion tomes – both inspirational and educational.Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-34We’ve created an entire section for fiction as well but you will see our little copy of Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester is the only title in this section at the moment.  I hadn’t planned to stock fiction but when I came across this little book I new that it’s archaic tailoring terminology and endearing illustrations deserved a place in our shop!Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-35

Which brings me to the section which, for me, is the most important addition to our shop: Tailoring
Tailor - Thread Theory

When I began to get serious about sewing menswear, the concept of tailoring intrigued but also completely overwhelmed me.  I hope the Thread Theory perspective on tailoring will dispel this feeling of intimidation from the thoughts of many prospective tailors!  Here is my first step towards making tailoring approachable: The Goldstream Peacoat Tailoring Supplies Kit.
Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-21

Within this kit you will find a pre-assembled double breasted canvas front (which is like a very elaborate form of interfacing – it provides structure to a tailored coat).  You will also find beautiful wool shoulder pads, sleeve heads and a stunning melton wool and canvas undercollar.  Here is the gloriously pad stitched Italian-made melton wool undercollar:

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-20All of the kit items feature machine pad stitching (which eliminates a LOT of work for you!) and the very highest quality of components such as horse hair, linen canvas, and pure wool batting. Here is a close look at the layers involved in the canvas front:
Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-19

It can be trimmed to suit your size of Goldstream Peacoat (or any other double breasted coat or suit pattern).

We are selling a few of the items from within the kit as separate products too.  This way, if going full out tailor is a bit of a leap for you, you have some smaller options to start with.  Check out the soft wool batting within these shoulder pads!
Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-42

 

This has been only a very brief introduction to a few of the items within the shop.  There are many more for you to examine in detail!  To wrap things up before you head over to peruse the shop, let me point out that it is the perfect time of year to spread your sewing related Christmas wishlist among family and friends :P.  To make things easy for them, let them know that we now have gift cards available in our store!  You can find them in our Gift section.

I hope that our new menswear supply shop gets you itching to #makemenswear!  As I mentioned on Friday, I would love to hear your suggestions for additions to the shop.  We have a number of additional products lined up to add to the shop in the coming weeks before Christmas and we are hoping to add something new to the store every two to three weeks for the foreseeable future.  So if you simply can’t find a tool or fabric that you need for a menswear project, shoot us an email (info@threadtheory.ca) and we would love to consider that item as a future feature within our shop!


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Behind The Scenes: Introducing The Menswear Supply Shop (Launch Date: Nov. 1st!)

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-19

Well, after all my hints on Instagram, the blog and Facebook over the last couple of weeks, it’s finally time for me to put it all out in the open.  We’re heading in a new direction with Thread Theory and we’re doing this in a big way!

Let me introduce you to the Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop – launching Sunday Nov. 1st (only two sleeps left….eeek!!!).Menswear Supply Shop Announcement - Thread Theory

The Menswear Supply Shop is our way of bringing menswear to the forefront of maker’s minds.  We have created a curated online shop featuring project kits, sewing tools, fabrics, tailoring materials, knitting supplies and literature perfectly suited to menswear making.  You will be able to peruse our shop by scrolling through the following categories: Sewing, Tailoring, Knitting and Literature (with more categories coming in the future…are you interested in Leather-work for instance?).

Waistband Elastic - Thread Theory

I have been researching and buying like a maniac and am really excited about the well-rounded selection of tools, fabrics, yarns, patterns, books and notions that have resulted from my shopping spree.  Many of the items have been chosen to work with our patterns specifically (I can’t wait to show you the kits we’ve created!).  Other items – such as many of the books – have been selected to promote an appreciation of menswear in general.  I hope more people will be excited to launch into menswear projects if they are inspired by the function and fashion of modern menswear first!

Literature tis the season - Thread Theory

Matt and I are pleased that we have been able to compile this project in time for the busiest making season – our shop is ready to assist you while you embark on all of the menswear gifts that you have planned!  As part of the launch of the supply shop, we will be releasing gift cards this Sunday so that you can leave it up to the recipient to choose their project if you prefer!

Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter before Sunday morning in order to receive a discount code that will be sent to newsletter recipients only!  You can sign up here.

 


 

Now that you know what to expect this coming Sunday morning, here is the story about how and why Matt and I decided to take Thread Theory in this direction.  Let’s start at the very beginning:

My Dad hamming it up at our very first Thread Theory photoshoot.

My Dad hamming it up at our very first Thread Theory photoshoot.

Way back in 2013 (not really that long ago but it sure feels like it!) when the only item in our shop was a very early rendition of the Newcastle Cardigan PDF, Matt and I sat on the little patio behind the duplex that we shared with my sister and her boyfriend.  The sun was shining but Matt and I didn’t really notice it.  I had just finished a year of fashion design school and had no desire to begin a career in the hectic ready-to-wear fashion industry.  Matt was taking a few random courses at the local university and was between jobs.  We had recently found out that we would shortly have nowhere to live because my sister and her boyfriend were parting ways and Matt and I couldn’t afford the rent at our duplex without their contribution.  Thread Theory was such a new baby at that point – each PDF pattern sale was a cause for immense celebration.  Long story short, we were at loose ends with too many choices for the future and too much change occurring all at once.  At times like this, when we are overwhelmed by the present, Matt and I like to daydream about the distant future.   So we sat on our patio in the sun and came up with this daydream:  Somewhere, many years from that moment, we were both self-employed and working from home, far removed from the concept of ‘climbing the career ladder’ that seemed to paralyze the both of us with uncertainty.  In this daydream we were running a business that encapsulated the DIY lifestyle that we longed for.  The business we ran provided makers with all of the equipment that we always struggled to find for our projects.  It incorporated both of our interests and provided us with all the equipment needed for the various projects we hoped to embark on.

At the end of year school fashion show - can you see the uncertainty of the future looming over me?

At the end of year school fashion show – can you see the uncertainty of the future looming over me?

This daydream felt like a silly one given our current situation that seemed to require the immediate acquisition of both jobs and housing.  Enormous changes have taken place since that daydreaming session on the patio and we have, for the last couple of years, managed to keep a roof over us (thankfully!), put our noses to the grindstone and pressed onwards with the development of Thread Theory as a niche menswear sewing pattern company.  It has been hugely rewarding and fulfilling.  At times I can’t imagine doing anything else!  I work on Thread Theory full time these days (and have done so for almost two years now) and Matt works on Thread Theory in his ‘spare’ time away from his other jobs.  He still dreams of being fully self employed (a dream that is coming very close to reality these days!).  Up until about six or seven months ago, I maintained the opinion that Thread Theory would remain a menswear sewing pattern company indefinitely and I would launch a new business whenever I needed to expand into new projects.

KendraModelling-30

This situation changed not long ago when we were partly through the development of the much anticipated Lazo Trousers (our yet-to-be-released second pattern for women).  As many of you can probably guess, we ran into many stumbling blocks with this pattern and have also been delayed in the development of a menswear pattern that has been in the works for several months.  Our pattern maker is exceptionally busy and successful these days working on several different aspects of her career.  I am also extremely busy due to the increasing time I spend on other aspects of our business such as customer service and shipping as Thread Theory grows.  As a result of our two busy schedules pattern development had ground to a snails pace and each change we made to a pattern felt like an enormous mountain that would take months to climb.  Clearly, our system needed changing!  And this is where the generousity of our patternmaker comes in…at a course that I took with her this summer she suggested (as she has before) that I should take over pattern drafting myself.  This concept overwhelmed me because I was already so busy with other aspects of the business but she insisted that it would be more efficient in the long run.  She graciously offered to train me in her computer system – an offer that I could NOT refuse because Sabine is, in my opinion, exceptionally skilled at drafting, exceptionally highly trained and, to my knowledge, is the only pattern maker in North America that works with Grafis (which I consider to be the best and most accurate pattern drafting software).  How could I refuse such an opportunity???  To put this in perspective – imagine if you were ordering a suit from the best establishment on Savile Row and the head tailor approached you and insisted that he would put his other projects aside and personally train you until the you had become a head tailor on Savile Row yourself.  You get the idea…

TailoringSupplies-003

I am in the very VERY early days of my training on Grafis.  Sabine will be helping us to finish the Lazo Trousers and the partially completed menswear pattern as her schedule allows and she will be making it a priority to train me until I am confident in Grafis.  She has even suggested that we work on an actual Thread Theory pattern while she trains me so that I have something to add to our pattern collection as soon as the training is finished!

I don’t want to rush myself in this process – Matt and I agreed that it would be beneficial for no one to hurry through training and begin launching patterns before I was fully confident in computer-based pattern design (in school I learned paper pattern drafting so this is a whole new ball-game).  We decided to come up with an alternative plan for Thread Theory so our shop would not become stagnant during my training.

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-36

Which brings us full circle to that daydream on the sunny patio in 2013!  We pulled out some contact lists and product brainstorming notes that I had created over the last couple of years and jumped headlong into the job of turning a menswear supply shop from a dream into a reality!

So thank you for your patience while you wait for the release of the Lazo Trousers and future menswear patterns.  Don’t worry, they are coming!  We just don’t want to launch any designs until we are completely satisfied that they are accurate, approachable and flattering.

Menswear Supply Shop - Thread Theory

And we hope you are as excited for the launch of our supply shop this Sunday as we are!  If you have any menswear tools, notions, patterns, books or fabrics that you think would be a great addition to our shop, we would love for your recommendations!  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca.

Lets #makemenswear!

 

 


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Your Fall Menswear Sewing Projects

It’s so exciting to see the photos that have been added daily to #makemenswear.  Thanks for participating!  I hope you’ve found the hashtag inspirational.

Head here to read more about the #makemenswear contest.  There is still time to enter the giveaway since it ends on November 1st.  Each entry added to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will be counted (even if you add the same photo to all three social media platforms, all three photos would be counted as three separate entries for simplicity).  Also, you might want to add #makemenswear to photos that you posted in the past – these will still count as an entry!

Most people have been using the hashtag on Instagram so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites from there in case you are not an Instagram user:

Just a little something for my Dude

A post shared by Victoria Bain (@veebane) on

Some #dudesewing on the blog. @thread_theory #sthrathconahenley ftw! http://bit.ly/1uIr9U2

A post shared by Meg (@megret79) on

 

I look forward to seeing many more photos added to #makemenswear!

We’ve also received some great emails lately from people wanting to share their finished projects with us (the best kind of email)!  Here are a few recent ones:

Strathcona with lengthened t-shirt sleeves

This Strath features lengthened short sleeves to suit Steve’s preference.  It is sewn in a beautiful merino wool by Sonia for her husband.  See more on Sonia’s blog.

Jedediah Pants with decorative topstitching

I love the subtle decorative topstitching on the pockets of these Jeds (click on the photo to see a larger version if you can’t see the detail).  Natasha is doing a Sewing For Men theme on her blog at the moment and recently posted photos of three pairs of Jedediah Pants that she made along with details about the learning process.

Newcastle Jacket

I love this Newcastle that Bego emailed to me.  She sewed it as a ‘test version’ before sewing a final version for her brother.  She used wool (rather than a knit fabric) and lined the entire cardigan with a sheet.  She was so happy with how the test version came out that she’s kept it to wear herself!  I love the patch pockets with rounded bottoms that she added.  I want one of these in my closet this fall!

 

Lastly, something that really put a smile on my face when it popped up in my email inbox!

10th Dr Who Goldstream Peacoat

The 10th Dr. Who’s coat!  Jo made this modified Goldstream Peacoat for her son who is a big Dr. Who fan. The coat is beautifully sewn and Jo reports that it was one of the best gifts she has ever given to him due to his excitement over it :).


Thanks for sharing your projects everyone!  Have a great weekend – I’m at an indigo dying workshop this weekend on nearby Denman Island so I know I will be having a great one!


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The #makemenswear Giveaway

makemenswear hashtag - Thread Theory Designs

Help me to create a hashtag for DIY menswear!

Every time I post photos to Instagram and add hashtags I find myself wishing there was a general hashtag that I could use and peruse that featured everything to do with making menswear.  There are a number of specific hashtags that provide me with a constant source of inspiration (#menwhoknit #menwhosew or your amazing projects that you’ve tagged #threadtheorydesigns) but I have been unable to find a general category featuring DIY men’s garments.

So let’s make one!  From this point onwards I will be using #makemenswear as my go to hashtag when using Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  Will you do the same?

makemenswear contest  - Thread Theory Designs

If you use #makemenswear between now and Nov. 1st you will be entered in a draw to win a secret DIY menswear prize package (valued at $100 CAD!!!).

Why is the prize secret?  Matt and I are working on a very exciting project that will be released on Nov. 1st – your prize pack will be created using the contents of this secret project!  Over the next two weeks we will be releasing hints and sneak peaks about our secret project and the prize contents…and of course we will be tagging these sneak peeks with #makemenswear!

I imagine #makemenswear will become an inclusive way to be inspired by menswear projects of all types.  I hope to see:

  • Menswear sewing projects
  • Elaborate tailoring projects
  • Lovingly knitted sweaters
  • Rugged leatherwork
  • Needlework patches
  • Screen printing designs
  • Garment mending and dying
  • Shoe-making projects
  • Waterproofing endeavors
  • Gear-making projects (backpacks, camping gear, laptop bags, camera cases…anything intended for use by a man)
  • Menswear fashion inspiration (exhibits, ready-to-wear, books and films)
  • Lots of WIP shots
  • Tips on sourcing menswear making materials (posted by shops and makers)
  • Whatever else you might be making or inspired by as long as it is related to menswear!

I hope this hashtag will not be brand specific or focus predominantly on one area of the making community (I don’t intend for it to be mainly Thread Theory projects, mainly sewing, or mainly knitting for instance).  It would be so amazing to search #makemenswear to get access to everything from places to source selvedge denim to natural dying recipes!

Photoshoot for makemenswear giveaway - Thread Theory Designs

There is currently only 1 post on Instagram featuring #makemenswear and it is a photo that I took two days ago as a hint about the big project that we’ve been working on.  I hope you will help me to fill this hashtag over the next two weeks!

Here are some specifics about the giveaway:

The prize is a physical package of menswear making goodies worth $100 CAD.  We will ship the prize worldwide for free.  The winner will be selected at random.  Entries will be compiled from all photos using the #makemenswear on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  You are welcome to enter more than once – every photo that you use #makemenswear on will count as another entry!  The same photo posted on multiple social media platforms will count as multiple entries.  The contest will close at 5pm PST on Nov. 1st 2015.  The winner will be contacted using any contact information featured on the social media platform that their photo was posted on – make sure your contact info is up to date and that you check your social media pages on Nov. 1st!

I hope you join me in my #makemenswear mission!


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October is Slow Fashion Month

slow-fashion-october

Did you know we are almost half way through Slow Fashion October?

Slow Fashion October is a celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe.  This event has been launched by Fringe Supply Co.’s creative mastermind, Karen Templer.  She created an outline of the month on the Fringe Association blog mid-way through September.  It will help you to get familiar with the concept.

If you want to dig into the good stuff and be inspired, head to Instagram and check out #slowfashionoctober and follow Slow Fashion October.  You will find a wide range of textiles work (knitting, sewing, visible mending and natural dying to name a few) posted by a refreshingly huge variety of Instagramers.  I’m really enjoying perusing this hashtag because it is introducing me to many new ways to enjoy textiles!

Pieces Celebrating Textiles

The concept of Slow Fashion is especially relevant to me right now because I joined a local group called Pieces: Celebrating Textiles several months ago.  We are busily working away on an exciting plan to support the growth of Slow Cloth and Textiles Art in the Comox Valley.  We want the Comox Valley to become a destination for Slow Cloth just as it has already become a thriving center for the Slow Food movement!

mending hands - slow fashion october

Mending Hands at an Eat Make Mend – a monthly Pieces event where we get together to prolong the lives of special garments at a local cafe.

One of the Pieces founding members creating a very succinct write up on Slow Cloth for our business plan.  It is a great read to introduce you to the concept:

“Slow fashion” coined in 2007 by Kate Fletcher (Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UK.) is antithetical to fast fashion. Fast fashion pumps out clothes at ever faster rates with; cheaper prices, poorer quality, increasing amounts of chemically derived fibers and massive amounts of waste and pollution. Slow fashion is both an ethos and practical approach to cloth production and clothing purchases that puts the art and heart back into the production process.

This ethos cultivates thought about what we buy, how much we buy, who we buy from, how long we wear it for, if we really need it, if it is made from fabrics which are heavily laden with chemicals and helps us to factor in the people who make the clothing. The slow fashion approach brings awareness to the treadmill of unconscious consumption and how that is filling our wardrobes with clothing that is quickly discarded.

More importantly slow fashion provides a wide variety of options to gradually or quickly, depending on your skills and budget, fill in your wardrobe with sustainable clothing options. And most importantly, for the purposes of this business plan, slow fashion provides vast opportunity for textile artisans and makers to create prosperous textile businesses in order to fill what promises to be a large demand for sustainable clothing.

She also compiled a number of inspiring links to pair with her write-up:


 

As menswear makers, we are all part of the slow fashion movement – this is the month to celebrate the time we take to make!


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A Magazine About Menswear Sewing

Seamwork Menswear IssueIf you enjoy reading about menswear sewing you will probably already realize that menswear themed articles and books are few and far between.  Yesterday, Seamwork Magazine took one big step towards changing this by releasing an entire issue devoted to menswear sewing!  Seamwork Magazine is an online monthly publication created by the team behind Colette Patterns.  It features two sewing patterns per month and a huge array of interesting articles.  The entire content of the magazine is free to read and a subscription of $6 per month will give you credits to download two patterns from the magazine’s pattern database.

Seamwork Menswear Patterns

The Menswear Issue includes two patterns as per usual – this time modeled by both men and women.  The patterns include a raglan sweatshirt (which is a basic design that was REALLY missing from the list of available menswear patterns.  I’m glad that hole has been filled at last!) and a cozy quilted vest.  I think Seamwork styled these pieces on both the male and female models very successfully.  The unisex concept sometimes makes me a little nervous since the emphasis is usually placed on suiting the female form while the garment only just passes as menswear.  This isn’t the case with the Seamwork patterns – they are basic menswear staples!

Seamwork Menswear Bespoke

Patterns aside, the articles in this issue are what I especially would like to talk about!  I wrote one :).  You will find my article under the heading “Bespoke Tailoring on Savile Row.”  In it I discuss the history of the tailored suit, the relevance of Savile Row at the heart of the tailoring tradition, and the process you might expect to experience if you were to order a tailored suit.  While completing my university degree I majored in history and wrote many essays on the relevance of fashion and sewing throughout various historical periods…writing this article reminded me of how much I used to enjoy the research process!

There are a many other articles within this issue that are essay-style and an excellent read – check out “Male Sewist” and “Dedicated Follower of Fashion.”  Plus, there are a number of tutorial based articles, including one that I will be using as a reference in the future and I bet you will be too: “Common Pattern Adjustments for Men.”  Learn about balancing a shoulder seam and adjusting a for a full abdomen (plus other alterations).


 

If you are constantly frustrated by the lack of easily accessible menswear sewing resources out there, make sure to comment on the Colette blog to thank the Seamwork Team for all of their hard work in creating this menswear resource.  We want them to know that the menswear focus is well worth their while (that way they will be more likely to devote their focus to menswear again in the future!).