Ever wondered who the brains behind the beauty of Irving & Powell is? With a penchant for pinching her husband’s shirts, and a passion for a polished yet relaxed look - we shared 5 minutes with founder and creative director Victoria McEvoy to learn more about the brand we know and love.
How did Irving & Powell come to be?
I’d just moved back from the US with my little family - I wasn’t quite ready to dive back into the corporate world, I wondered if it might be a good time for me to create something. So I did!
Why 'Irving & Powell'?
I wanted to create a name that married together my love of New York (Irving Place – a much loved part of New York) and my Australian heritage (Powell Street – where I grew up). Irving & Powell is steeped in classic American Sportswear heritage so a nod to my time living in NY was really important to me. Plus I knew I wanted a name with an ampersand in it - graphically I love that symbol.
Describe I&P shirts in five words:
Classic, timeless, menswear-style, chic and colourful.
I have a history with shirts!! My first job was at Marcs in Sydney where the Elvis and Betty Shirts were king. I then moved onto Ralph Lauren, a brand that is synonymous with the shirt. I’ve always loved how effortless a shirt is. A shirt looks more polished than a t-shirt with the same amount of effort. I am also very drawn to men’s styling and construction, constantly pinching shirts from my husband's wardrobe, and that classic menswear styling for her was something I saw a lot of living in the US and I couldn’t find it back here in Australia.
First I&P shirt you created?
It all started with the Franklin shirt in Indigo. A colour I am absolutely obsessed with. I find indigos and navys so incredibly flattering and much more interesting to me than black. Plus it looks good with denim which is at the heart of every colour we choose at I&P.
Where are I&P shirts made? And why?
We make our shirts out of a factory in Melbourne. Our maker has been making shirts for decades and really knows his stuff. We originally started production out of China but it was really important to us to find a maker in Australia. Someone who was really open to working with us, who felt more like they were part of the team.
What about the fabric?
It’s no secret we like to keep things simple and classic so for us it has to be 100% cotton all the way. I have a personal aversion to stretchy fabrics. I know some people think it’s more comfortable to have stretch but I hate the way it feels on my body. No man I know would wear a shirt with stretch in it, the men I know are pretty picky about what fabrics they will wear and I feel the same way.
Tell us about the fit?
The Irving & Powell fit is relaxed but not oversized. We definitely see customers upsizing to get a little more room, without feeling swamped by the shirt. Consistency is also really key to I&P. So whenever we dream up a new silhouette we start with our Franklin Shirt and take it from there. We want our customers to buy with confidence.
Can you ever have enough stripes in your wardrobe? NO!
How do you come up with a new design? For me it’s always about colour and fabric first. And heritage is really important to me too. I am always inspired by shirts and pieces from history. Looking back at eras where fashion had function really inspires me. I am obsessed with workwear style from the turn of the century. The fabrics and styling are still relevant for today.
What’s next for I&P?
We’ve got a couple of things on the burner at the moment. I’m really excited to branch into a new category: pants! We’ve got a new classic chino pant hitting really soon and I can’t wait. Menswear is also coming back which I’m really excited about too. We launched with mens originally and it kind of went by the wayside because we couldn’t keep up with the demand for womenswear. I’ve got guys in my life who are still sporting the shirts they bought back in the beginning, constantly bugging me to bring menswear back. I’m excited to get them off my back.