Zak from Sydney’s Skunkworks Bikes introduced me to Troy O’Shea recently. Troy is the manager of a men’s clothier in the city who rides regularly with the local early morning crew and has a penchant for handcrafted quality. He also makes cycling caps from traditional Japanese fabrics.
Your caps are superbly made. Have you had much experience with haberdashery?
Honestly, I only started sewing at the end of 2014. I’ve always had an interest in clothing, design and fabrication but never really thought of making/designing anything myself.
But mid-2014 I came across some beautiful handmade cycling caps on a trip to San Francisco, and I decided that I’d give it a go myself. Within about two months I’d bought a sewing machine, taken a couple of classes and started making caps.
What is the significance of the Japanese fabric? What do you like about the traditional Japanese designs, and have they got a special name?
Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with Japan and Japanese culture. Living in Japan for almost three years, I quickly recognised the time and dedication that everyone devotes to achieving perfection, which was incredibly impressive and really resonated with me.
Therefore, when I began looking for material for my caps it really was an obvious choice as Japanese fabrics are really second to none, in both quality and design. I’ve only really used more traditional prints to date like the classic Seigaiha wave print, beautifully hand-dyed Indigo cottons or soft Kimono silk.
But I’m very excited about experimenting with more traditional Japanese fabric and prints in the new year like Boro, Sashiko stitching, Wabash and even selvedge denim.
What do you find appealing about the Japanese aesthetic?
I love how simple and timeless Japanese design is. Not only in design, but in everyday life the Japanese believe that beauty need not be overstated, over-decorative or loud.
This aesthetic has always resonated with me, and kind of suits my personality and my sense of design as well. That’s probably what I find most appealing.
Why do you like making things by hand?
I actually really enjoy the entire process from choosing fabrics, design, cutting and sewing. I love the fact that each cap I make is different and handmade by me, from start to finish, and I get a real sense of achievement from making each cap.
So I guess it’s kinda of a personal thing to me. But, in a world where a lot of things are mass-produced and readily available for the consumer, I think people appreciate something that is handmade, unique and more personal… so I love that I can offer something like this.
Are your caps for sale, and can we purchase them?
Of course, almost every cap I make is for sale! However, because they are all handmade by me and me alone, they take time and are not always available. I’ll look at launching a new website in 2016, where all my little creations will be available for purchase, but for now my Instagram account is the best way to buy a cap.
If you see something that you like, and it’s still listed for sale, then please email me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Troy O’Shea Handmade Instagram