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The dish on brands, shirts and NYC cool

Hayati Banastey

Hayati Banastey Credit: Hayati Banastey

Kelly Killoren Bensimon gets the 411 on what makes a shirt cool from Hayati Banastey of JACHS.

Just Another Cheap Shirt (JACHS) is the new vintage American style. Mastermind Hayati Banastey deconstructed the typical button-down shirt and made it cool.

How? He rewashed it and sized it to fit the modern American: chic, cool and lean.

Banastey isn’t afraid of the garment industry and its conventions. In 2008, he made the shirt he wanted, the way he wanted, and the rest is history.

With a store in the West Village and his studio in SoHo, JACHS is taking the retail industry by storm.

Q: What’s different about JACHS?
A: The idea of shirts is what’s different about JACHS. We wash the shirt like a denim company and develop certain washes to go with our shirts. It’s something that doesn’t exist in the market. Each shirt is very unique.

Q: Were you in the shirt business before?
A: My family was in the shirt business. I went to FIT. My family came here 30 years ago and I started in the garment business after graduation. My first job was making shirts. I worked for myself. I’ve never worked for anyone.

Q: What was the shirt company called?
A: Atmosphere.

Q: Where are you from?
A: Istanbul, Turkey. In 1979, I left from Turkey to study in Paris. I studied marketing in Paris, so I couldn’t really do what I wanted. So I took time off and I went clubbing and shopping. It was the time when Les Bain Douche had just opened up.

Q: What made you want to come to New York?
A: I saw the movie “Fame,” and I wanted that great life where everyone was dancing on cabs and having a great life. Ever since I moved to New York, I’ve been working in the fashion industry. It’s been 30 years.

Q: What did you study at FIT?
A: I was one of the first graduates from the menswear department. My critic at school was Perry Ellis.

Q: What was the first store you opened?
A: I started a store called Work in Progress and was selling premium denim and related apparel. I was looking at shirts and went to a trade show. I took ... 50 JACHS shirts [to the show] and booked $500,000. I thought to myself, “God, I’m in business.” I subleased my store to lululemon and went into wholesale.

Q: Is it better to have your own store or to sell to stores?
A: I sell to Nordstrom, Saks and better stores. In retail, it’s best to have your own store to create a brand and your own image.

Q: What about online?
A: Online retail is amazing. It means that you need to have very well-organized social media in order to get the word out there.

Q: Any advice?
A: Never give up on your dreams. ... Never follow money. Do something well and the money will chase you. Same with girls!

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