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February 20, 2014

Shipley & Halmos: Greetings from Canal St.

Leave it to the cultivated yet comedic design duo behind Shipley & Halmos to combine their menswear expertise, aptitude for product design, and irrepressible sense of humor all under one roof.

We stopped by their limited-run, Canal Street-themed pop-up shop while visiting New York last week. Canal, if you’re unfamiliar, is a mecca of cheap tchotchkes and tacky NYC souvenirs—and while Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos found inspiration in the low-brow thoroughfare around the corner from SH’s posh design studio, their own iterations of typical Canal trinkets are undeniably sophisticated (and often hilarious).

Keep reading for a look inside the Shipley & Halmos pop-up shop—which you can still visit* through this weekend—and get a healthy dose of the dry wit and attention to detail that informs the brand’s impeccable clothing. We even asked Sam and Jeff a few awkward questions…


*Open through Sunday, February 23, the S&H pop-up is located at 385 Canal St. (between Thompson and West Broadway), New York, NY 10013.




MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Why did you decide to open a Canal Street-themed shop?

JEFF HALMOS: “Our office is on Greene Street, very close to Canal. We’ve been here for six years. For a while now, we’ve wanted to make our own versions of some of the cheesy graphic tees one might find when browsing the various shops along Canal. It really all started there. Designing a few tees turned into designing all the other paraphernalia to accompany them, to opening a small kiosk where we sold everything, to opening a curated pop-up shop where we also sold our collection.”

SAM SHIPLEY: “I’ve always wanted to make a movie about Canal Street (just ask Jeff, he’s sick of hearing about it). I’ve gone as far as the historical research, some character development, basic plots and so forth. I’d call it Grey Market and Liam Neeson would be my main man, but alas, I’ve never gotten the time to put real pen to paper, or fingers to keys, as it were. Our shop is just a cover for research.”





MSD: Have you made many purchases on Canal Street in the past?

JH: “My two favorite purchases are probably a wood back-scratcher thingy as well as a killer iPhone case with a tiger hologram. Both were found on the corner of our block.”

SS: “Nothing of note, really, but if you’re in the market for ‘REALLLLY YELLOW GOLD’ that in no way is above 14K (I think they dye it), head up to the blocks northeast of Bowery.”




MSD: Have you ever paid for a foot rub or other “services” on Canal Street? How was it?

JH: “The zone of Canal where we hang doesn’t get down like that. We’re in the classy area, the ‘LouisVuittonGucciPradaRolex’ area. Best recognize.”

SS: “I once had a band practice space in a basement close to Canal, in Chinatown. Now, I’m not saying anything about Canal, but in any building just off of it, it’s best to never go down or up the stairs (my apologies to those who live in nice apartments in the area). Anyway, this band space/cave was so dungeon-esque, that when the building burned down (and it did), the only damage done to our gear was that the firemen sprayed it with water and shorted all the circuits. So, as a point, I don’t venture in those zones anymore.”








MSD: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on Canal Street?

JH: “A woman a couple buildings up from our office purchased two pug puppies from a guy on the corner of Mercer and Canal. I’ve always found that funny.”

SS: “Found a turtle—you know, the little ones? Quarter-sized. It’s a fact and very obvious that the people around and on Canal sell these little guys, but this one fellow was just walking across the street. I couldn’t handle the thought of him being smashed, so I stopped my bike, threw him in my bag, and then tried to find a vendor to take him. NO ONE would take him. I’d say, ‘You’re selling these damn things right there…’ and point to the bin of turtles, and they’d say, “No, no, we have no turtles here!” And I would say, “Then what the hell are these?!” They would just pretend that they didn’t exist. So after doing the routine over and over, I actually SOLD the damn thing (poor little guy) to a vendor for a couple bucks. Who knows what happened to him. I hope he escaped, fell into a gutter, got mixed up with some green ooze, met a talking rat, and loves pizza.”






MSD: What does Canal Street (and its proximity to your guys’ studio, which has a slightly different vibe) say about NYC in a larger sense?

JH: “For all the money there is in New York, there’s also an unmistakable grittiness. In many ways, Canal Street exemplifies that. If you want to walk from Soho to Tribeca, both very expensive neighborhoods, there’s no avoiding a lovely stroll on Canal.”

SS: “My take is a bit more pessimistic (surprise, ha). Canal was created to drain a disease-laden body of water called the ‘Collect Pond,’ which once served as a drinking reserve. But after time, people used it as an outhouse, trash dump, convent morgue—they even built a prison over the top of it. It got so wretched that they had to drain it into the Hudson by building a canal. That canal is Canal. I love that it’s held on to its roots to some degree. You can buy probably ANYTHING you want there, if you ask the right person, and none of it (except Made In S&H of course) is original! The traffic is insane and the police just allow it. There are busts every day with undercover cops—you can watch if you’re lucky. Kids from Alabama picking up fake IDs—it’s all there!”



Last weekend! Pay Shipley & Halmos a visit at their pop-up shop while you still can:
385 Canal Street, New York, NY 10013.

If you’re not in the NYC vicinity, you can nab #MadeinSH Canal-themed knickknacks at the brand’s official website—and shop S&H clothing right here at Nordstrom.com.

SHOP: SHIPLEY & HALMOS

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