How This Designer Reinvented the Classic White Button down
AN INTERVIEW WITH FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR MYA GOLDBERG OF THIRTEEN SEVEN
It’s not very often that someone can come around and reinvent a classic style that’s a staple in everyone’s wardrobe.
Sure there’s been lots of iterations of the little black dress, or the perfect dress pants, but what about the #1 style of all classics or essential items in your wardrobe?
What about the classic white button-down shirt?
Well, friends...meet Mya Goldberg and her brand Thirteen Seven.
Growing up in New York City, a place that she describes as equal parts glamour and grit. Both feminine, and masculine, both casual and formal, both tough and soft.
This way of life is something that has been a constant theme and source of inspiration in Mya's life.
Her brand Thirteen Seven was founded just last year in 2016 and has reinvented this classic item as something both modern, luxurious, more stylish (in our opinion), and most of all better functionality.
As a woman, if you’ve ever had the boob gape you’ll know exactly why Thirteen Seven was born.
Her shirting line is, in my opinion, such a unique and modern take on the classic white shirt. Above all the styling and the fact that it’s made in NYC and ethically also play a big part in the brand’s appeal.
As Mya talks about her career background in more depth you’ll be surprised to learn that she did not get into the fashion industry until later into her career.
It just goes to show that if you have a great idea and set your mind to accomplish a goal, you absolutely can make it happen.
Tell us about your background in fashion and what inspired you to start Thirteen Seven?
“I was born and raised in NYC to immigrant parents. My father is in retail and my mother is an artist who at one point had a small boutique where she sold her own hand-made dresses.
My family’s stores opened up in Soho back in the 80’s, and walking around that area and downtown in general had a huge impact on me growing up. Seeing the stark contrast between uptown and downtown ingrained this deep fascination with mixing grit and glamour.
Being able to find balance in opposing elements has been a constant theme in my life, and I try to carry that through into everything I do.
My degree is in graphic design, but I quickly learned that I am a tactile person and love to work with my hands. I transitioned from that into prop styling for fashion photography, which is what I did for many years.
During my years as a freelancer I also often worked backstage during fashion week, which was always thrilling. From there I ended up working on helping to art direct and build an ecommerce site for my family business.
I have always been connected to the fashion world, but never before directly as a designer.
When I decided that I wanted to start designing my own shirts, I enrolled in many classes at FIT and started various internships in the fashion industry.
It was important to me to learn from the ground up and to gain “street cred” in the garment district.
There definitely is a steep learning curve. Just speaking the fashion language is huge in itself. It’s important to sound like you know what you’re talking about, even if you’re not sure!"
How did you come up with the idea for Thirteen Seven? Was it an ah-ha moment?
"The idea for Thirteen Seven was less of an ah-ha moment and more of a process.
I started off taking a sewing class for fun and from there the bug hit me.
I have always had a passion for shirting though and my dream for years had been to design my own shirts - it just seemed so unattainable for so long.
When I finally decided to go for it, things started to fall into place.
There were multiple issues to solve, but fit, specifically boob-gape, jumped to the forefront.
The name Thirteen Seven actually comes from my initials, MG, which are the thirteenth and seventh letters of the alphabet. It also happens to be the number of the house I grew up in!"
Tell us a little more about the line and who the Thirteen Seven woman is.
“The shirting line is modern class with a unique edge, and the focus is on the staple: the button-down shirt.
Great style doesn’t exclude function.
We made it a design priority to overcome the most dreaded aspect of button-downs: BOOB-GAPE. Forget wrestling to keep your shirts smooth and gape-free. Put away your arsenal of undershirts, safety pins, and double-sided tape.
We know, the struggle is real.
With our shirts, you can rest assured you will always be gape-free. It’s our guarantee.
The Thirteen Seven woman is a modern, stylish woman, who wants to balance fashion and fit.
She is feminine, but edgy. She wants to look sharp, and dress up, but doesn’t want all the frills that often attach to women's shirts.
Ours is a more minimalist, slightly edgy, and fun look. Kind of sharp casual."
What made you want to create an ethical/sustainable company?
"I think being ethical/sustainable is something that just has to be in your values.
It’s almost impossible to be perfect, so you kind of have to pick and choose your battles, but from the large aspects like picking a factory to what you do with your fabric waste, you just have to try and think about what makes sense and feels right.
You have to ask around a lot and use any sources you can find to lead you in the right direction.
I took classes on sustainability in business as well as attending seminars at trade shows and joining groups online etc."
Do you have any advice for someone who is wanting to start their own brand?
"The best advice I could give is that it’s an iterative process.
For me especially, good ideas come out of the process.
Don’t spend too much time thinking and dwelling, just do, even if you take little steps.
Also, fashion is ever changing, so if something isn’t perfect this season, you can always improve it for the next!
What’s been your biggest accomplishment thus far, or a moment where you thought “wow, I did that!”
My biggest accomplishment is seeing the birth of my brand.
Launching the site, having the inventory to sell, and being able to stand behind what I do and share it with the world.
I believe in my product so it feels so good to see women wear my shirts and feel confident and great in them.
I know I am solving a real problem that so many women face, so that alone keeps me going."