Hugh & Crye raises $38K (so far) on Kickstarter in bid to banish the billowing, bulbous T-shirt

Hugh & Crye, a D.C.-based menswear startup specializing in button-downs and blazers, last week opened up a modest $30,000 Kickstarter campaign to bring its custom-fit approach to T-shirts. It only took a few days to blow past that goal.

With 22 days to go, the campaign has so far netted about $38,000 from 700 backers, each of whom is (presumably?) hoping Hugh & Crye has finally solved the most persistent crisis to befall casual menswear since the advent of the cargo pant. That is: bulbous, billowing and generally heinously-fitting tees. For the differently-skeletoned American, there is nothing worse.

Hugh & Crye, which is manufacturing the shirts entirely in the U.S. (Los Angeles, specifically), has eschewed generic S, M, L, XL sizing in favor of a combination of height —short/average/tall — and build — skinny/slim/athletic/broad, making for 12 possible sizes. They are not, said CEO Pranav Vora, trying to be all things to all people. “Our sizing system is really geared toward the lean and athletically built man,” he said.

So what’s wrong with the prevailing T-shirt? The failings go beyond just the lack of taper. The sleeves, for example: “Small, medium, large sizing tends to cut arm holes very big,” Vora said. “And in doing so you can get more guys to fit into it, they can slide their arm into the sleeve much easier. For most guys, you get these unwanted billows of fabric under the armpit, which we loving call flying squirrel syndrome on dress shirts. T-shirts have the same thing.”

Hugh & Crye’s T-shirts are cut with a raised armhole, with the sleeve running to mid-bicep. Shirt length is guided by a customer’s height selection, and are meant to be worn untucked. If the shirt runs past the back pockets of a wearer’s jeans, it’s too long, Vora said.

For contributing to Hugh & Crye’s Kickstarter, backers receive a number of T-shirts that scales upward based on their pledge. Upper-tier backers also get membership in what the startup is calling the “H+C Creative Council,” proving input that helps guide the company’s design process.

Hugh & Crye, whose roughly 10-person staff operates out of WeWork’s Wonder Bread Factory location, does most of its business online. The company also maintains a storefront on O Street in Georgetown.

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