#InTheStudio with Rails

Aug 16, 2016

When all we want to wear is the ideal, easy–weekend plaid shirt, we immediately reach for any one of our richly hued Rails styles. They're a favorite of anyone on the INTERMIX team—ask anyone about their favorite color, and they'll say, "Do I have to choose just one?" Here's how founder Jeff Abrams makes sure you end up with the perfect buttondown to spend your weekend (or weekday) in.

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Why was it so important for you to create the perfect plaid shirt?
"From inception, I focused the Rails collection on classic silhouettes, reinterpreted in a relaxed, contemporary way. Shirts are a timeless staple, and I wanted to build from this traditional concept and give this category a new direction by using high quality rayons and tencel blends in our plaids, prints and denims. Our fabric has a cashmere–like hand–feel and drape that create a more feminine and contemporary silhouette than traditional cottons."

Where do you find inspiration for your collections?
"I spend a lot of time traveling for work and for pleasure—Europe, Asia, South America—and I always take time to absorb the nuances of different cultures and aesthetics. Being a visual person, I find inspiration in everything from architecture, landscapes, textiles—anything I'm surrounded by that catches my eye. We're lucky enough to be based in LA, which is a constant source of inspiration, from the Rose Bowl flea market to exploring the diverse areas like the downtown Arts district, Silver Lake and Venice."

What goes into the creation of a Rails plaid buttondown?
"We start with our color and trend inspiration mood board, pulling from various sources. We then create our patterns, whether it's traditional plaid tartans, white–based, open plaids, buffalo checks or smaller scale mini checks. We have an expansive archive we pull from, but also develop new patterns every season to keep things fresh."

"Once we've defined our general palette, we hand design each color combo into these patterns and have swatches and handlooms produced for review and tweaking. Many of our colors go through three to four versions before finalizing the perfect handloom. Then our sample garments are produced. We use different weights and weaves of our unique fabric blend depending on the garment and season. We then fit the sample to make sure it’s perfect before approving for production."

What makes your plaid shirts stand out from the rest?
"Our shirts are incredibly versatile. They have a cashmere–like quality, but the wearability of an everyday shirt and can be styled in many ways. They are also great as layering pieces. Many girls use their shirts as accessories—around the waist, shoulders. We love a Rails shirt buttoned up to the top with a sweater layered over for a more sophisticated look, or layered under a leather jacket with skinny jeans for a cleaner aesthetic."

Celebrities love your line. Who do you think most embodies the Rails girl?
"There have been countless amazing girls wearing Rails so it's very difficult to single out one. I remember shortly after I began designing the shirts that Kate Moss was spotted wearing one, and I really felt like I had arrived! I always love to see celebrities wearing Rails, but I get more enjoyment now from seeing more non–famous girls wear them in their everyday life."

"The INTERMIX girl embodies the Rails lifestyle and aesthetic perfectly. Her finger's on the pulse of contemporary fashion, she's constantly on the go. She's traveled, cultured and aesthetically minded–interested in music, art and fashion obsessed! She's sophisticated, but also someone who's casual and relaxed. Rails lends itself to her lifestyle as she can wear our brand in any situation without feeling over or underdressed."

Which new style do you think would look good on anyone?
"As always, our classic plaid shirting and colors are year–round staples. The white, navy, coral color pairing is a great transition from summer to fall, and navy with red is a traditional plaid that will stay in your wardrobe season after season. Our cropped denim shirts in both light and dark washes are easy fall transition pieces; they work perfectly with high–waisted jeans and are great for the petite customer."

What's new in your current line?
"There's a lot! We've introduced novelty detailing to our plaids, such as fringe, mixed–media fabrics and an elevated suede capsule. Within our denim group, we've developed new washes, prints and directional shapes, including outerwear. We're expanding our womenswear into a more complete collection with jersey knits, as well as launching a men's collection and 'Little Rails' for kids."

Photo Credit: Bek Andersen