Outfit Bootcamp: The Grey Sweatshirt

The Heather Grey Sweatshirt. A modern staple. Really, you can’t have too much heather grey in your life. I literally have an entire drawer for heather grey items.


Although my designs for Norwegian Wood are generally known to be a colourful print-tastic explosion, I do understand the importance of great basics as well. I mean…sometimes you only want to wear ONE print at a time, right?
Grey Sweatshirt #5 - Earth Queen
When fabric shopping I’m essentially ALWAYS on the lookout for great heather grey fabrics. Any indie Montreal designer will tell you how hard these fabrics are to come by consistently, and even when I was working for larger fashion companies our contractors always hated it when we asked for heather grey. Due to the mixed yarn colours it’s apparently very difficult to produce this fabric in a consistent dark/light ratio, so there are always production problems and colour inconsistencies. Heather grey fabric (or marl grey as our British friends call it, or GRAY as the crazy Americans call it) is like the truffles of the casual textiles world: a reach bitch to get your hands on, but worth every bit of effort.

Grey Sweatshirt #1 - Suede Dreams
While I was working on the fall 2015 collection I came across a glorious roll of heather grey French Terry. French terry is that type of sweatshirt fabric that’s smooth on the outside, but full of tiny loops (sort of like a bath towel) on the inside. This particular roll was perfect in every way. Soft with a great drape and an ever so slight tinge of cream to the backside of the fabric (yes, the loopy side) rather than pure white. It had a 70s vintage sweatshirt vibe. Obviously I bought the whole roll. Then I had to decide what to do with it.

I think we all know that it’s fairly easy to go out and find a plain grey sweatshirt for a very affordable price. American Apparel, H&M, etc…they’ve got that shit on lockdown at a price that indie designers just can’t compete with. So there was no sense in me making a plain solid grey sweatshirt and trying to sell it for twice as much as those guys…but I still wanted to create a piece that went with everything!
Grey Sweatshirt #4 - Fall Peach
I thought to myself:
“SELF…wouldn’t a grey sweatshirt with leather sleeves be THE BEST”
and then I thought:
“SELF….you’re being ridiculous. That is like the hardest to care for piece of clothing in the world, which is the opposite of a top you want to throw on all the time. ALSO: Leather is hellishly cold when you first put it on in the winter…don’t do this to yourself”

So I realized the perfect compromise was to use one of my current favourite fabrics that LOOKS like leather but isn’t a total nightmare to deal with, and more affordable for everyone as well. It’s an amazing heavyweight black jersey that’s been printed all over with teeny tiny black dots. The black on black textured effect has the look of a pressed suede/leather hybrid….but is 100% machine washable.

I CANNOT OVERSTATE how much I love this fabric. I’ve now used it for tank tops, bellbottoms, a dress for the fall collection, sleeves on a cardigan, and now the sleeves and yoke of this sweatshirt. I should probably make myself a caftan out of it, because WHY NOT.
Grey Sweatshirt #3 - Pop Art
I realize that this point maybe this post sounds sort of like an ad or straight up promo of Norwegian Wood. This is something that will probably happen here on the blog, being that I am the designer of said brand, but we’re all just going to have to DEAL WITH IT!  I love creating this stuff! I need to talk about it! So once in awhile I’m going to wax poetic about fabrics or delve deep into the design process.

So maybe this post will help you come up with an outfit for a grey sweatshirt you already have, or maybe you find it interesting to hear the backstory behind a designers process or maybe you now just want to rush off to the NW store and buy the hell out of this shirt. All responses are acceptable.

If you’re looking for more of this kind of outfit inspo I’m currently obsessed with creating all sorts of Norwegian Wood outfits on Polyvore. Seriously guys, if Polyvore and Pinterest had existed when I was in high school I may never have graduated…SO DISTRACTING…SO FUN!  Head on over to my Polyvore and get inspired, or check out the sets on Pinterest if that’s your preferred site to obsess on.

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