Seaplane Shirts Will Make You Radiant.
By Kevin Perry
Beauty is skin deep, but sometimes it has trouble shining through the everyday façade. To cull the dazzling wonders that simmer beneath the surface, it takes a keen eye.
“There are 10,000 colors in your iris,” analyzes Schuyler Brown. “We use that, and we use skin tone and we use hair color, creatively with our shirts. When the customer comes out of the dressing room with the piece that’s just spectacular, everybody turns and looks.”
Brown is the creative force behind Seaplane Shirts, a blast of brilliance nestled stylishly in the Uptown Design District. “We grab and celebrate the beauty that’s in the wearer. Seaplane is about all the colors in the sea and the sky. In these colors, we have exactly what’s necessary to make each person radiant!”
His quest for opulence brought Schuyler from his hometown of Philadelphia to North Carolina, France, and San Francisco, but there were several designer detours along the way. “When I decided to start Seaplane ten years ago, I didn’t have a product and I didn’t have a customer.” Stitching together his myriad recollections, Brown continues, “I only existed online; I started the company in my mom’s attic. Then I did all these shows all over the country, these Pride shows and artisan fairs and rock festivals like Bonnaroo. We worked hard on the road to build our customer base.”
Finally, Brown’s traveling show descended on our grateful hometown, and his reception was raucous. “I never experienced in all my life the uptake of my product than when I did my show in Modernism Week in one of the houses on the tour. I set up a little boutique in one of the bedrooms. It was exhilarating for me because I had customers following each other around the room, this little room with like three of my racks in there, a couple hundred shirts, looking and going, ‘Are you gonna buy that?’ Following each other around the room. It was so exciting!”
Punctuating his gleeful stroll down the memory runway, Schuyler concludes, “I never sold shirts faster than I did in Palm Springs.”
“I was on the road until 2017,” he continues. “Everything that is fun and the essence of what I’ve done is here in this little store at 1009 North Palm Canyon. So this is ten years of work in here.” And it’s been a labor of luxury. Brown’s process is uniquely painstaking, blanketing the globe for resources while focusing on each shirt with an unparalleled intimacy. “I buy up these remnants in LA from these brokers. Stuff comes from all over the world – France, Britain, China, India, Pakistan. So, I buy up these last bits of materials that I think are fun for one reason or another.”
Schuyler then produces a limited series of garments from the finite yardage he harvests. “I’ve probably done more than 1,000 prints in small batches… So, for instance, the shirt that I’m wearing was done in 12. Only 12 pieces were made. And I’m in number one. Each one has these digitally printed tabs that give the name and the unit of the collectible (we hope) shirt!” The resulting designs are so personal to Brown that he names each one and writes a story about them. With a conspiratorial aside, he exclaims, “And some of the stories are true!”
Turning from playful to purposeful, Schuyler narrates, “What I wanted to do years ago was to create a direct to consumer brand and so that’s what I’ve done. I wanted to cut out all of the turkeys in the middle… To try to make a fashion brand is really, really, really grueling.”
And Palm Springs is reaping the benefits of Schuyler Brown’s diligence. Seaplane has emerged as a fleet-leader in the fashion scene, but their feet are still firmly on the ground. “We’re not trying to be too dressy or snobby or anything. These are accessible products.”
Stepping back and taking the long view, Brown concludes, “People get confused about Palm Springs. They think it’s just supposed to be ritzy and old and big, big money – well, actually, I want to celebrate the part of Palm Springs that’s about bringing good design to the people. That’s what I think I can contribute. And also helping people feel beautiful. That’s a gift, and I want to give that.”
It’s a generosity of spirit and creativity grand enough to warm the Inland Empire… yet cool enough to keep turning heads. Thanks for landing in Palm Springs, Schuyler.
Seaplane Shirts | 1009 N. Palm Canyon