One of the many vendors I had the pleasure of meeting last week was Kirby Allison, creator of The Hanger Project. As many of you know, Kirby’s e-store began as a place that offered something surprisingly hard to find – nice hangers. Behind every good suit is a good hanger, and yet finding one was surprisingly difficult until Kirby’s company made them accessible.
Kirby began his career as an investment banker, but decided to take a risk and try his hand a creating something that was clearly missing in the men’s style community. With the help of Styleforum, the Hanger Project was created in 2007 and has been expanding ever since.
I had the opportunity to see and try some of Kirby’s hangers at the trunk show and they’re exactly as great as I had hoped. The flared edges on the jacket hangers fill out the space in the delicate shoulder area of tailored clothing, allowing it to drape as if someone is inside it. Of equal importance is the fact that they come in four sizes; I know from experience that most common wood hangers measure around 18” across and are much too big for my tailored clothing. Suits and sportcoats are expensive, and it only makes sense to store them with something that will protect that investment. The Hanger Project also has a similar number of hangers for women’s clothing, which are also sized and made to the same standard as the men’s.
Another great improvement over the traditional wooden hanger is Kirby’s felted trouser bar on his suit hangers. Most suit hanger have a metal “clasp” that holds the trousers in place; I know from experience that this puts a crease in the garment and can even leave an unsightly mark. Kirby’s felt bars hold the trousers in place with friction rather than a clamping force, and because of that they leave no trace.
One of the most impressive things about Kirby’s site is that the stock has grown wildly over time, and now includes a very vast number of items. Hangers remain a staple, but now there are ties, scarves, shoe care items, and even quite a few “I don’t know what it’s called but I need one”-type things. Some are practical, some are esoteric. All are well-made and functional. Some of my favorite non-hanger items are the Maglia Francesco umbrellas, shoe shine water dispensers (as seen in this sweet video), and even these “thing holders“ – I never knew what to call them, but Kirby has them in stock. The Hanger Project also has some clothing accessories like great ties, scarves, knitwear, and so forth. All the clothing items in his store are well-made, attractive, and come from high-end brands like Drake’s, Inis Meain, and Ettinger, to name just a few.
All told, Kirby is doing a great job of bringing many hard-to-find items into one store. There is no question that he is the go-to source for good hangers, but the breadth of his store suggests that his site could become a resource for your entire closet. I appreciate Kirby’s efforts to only bring products that maintain a high level of quality, and look forward to seeing what other great items he can track down.
The man himself – Kirby Allison at the Styleforum Trunk Show