Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Ultimate Creative Director Shirt

Not everyone knows this about me, but I actually started my career writing some fashion. I was never really in the industry, but when I used to spend time in Milan and was looking for freelance opportunities, it was only natural.

So, with that in mind, I present Change Marketing: Fashion Edition.

This is my favourite shirt, made by Icebreaker of New Zealand. What's that, you ask? Check out their pitch:

Your Icebreaker garments can be worn solo or layered with other Icebreaker pure merino pieces to create a fine, breathable system that moves effortlessly between the mountains and the city, or wherever your travels lead you

We’ve translated this miracle all-weather fibre into a clothing system that gives people the same freedom to push their limits in the outdoors.

Icebreaker merino forms a buffer zone around your body, keeping you at an ideal temperature in all climates and conditions. It’s also lightweight, odour- resistant and soft against the skin – all qualities that will help you to perform at your peak.

These clothes are seriously addictive. My cousin John, an avid adventure racer, has worn Icebeaker over mountains and through deserts around the world. Julia, my wife, finds it stands up to the rigours of teaching primary public school.

In my world, I have come to love this shirt because:

- It is the optimal non-colour for a modern Creative pro: black
- It never fades (I bought it last March)
- No ironing
- Feels great
- Looks sharp

Yesterday, however, I gave my Icebreaker polo its harshest workout yet. Sure, they've been to the top of Everest and back, but can one of these merino miracle shirts stand up to a 12-hour TV shoot at an 80-year-old steel mill? Let's see.

Agency Call, 5:30 a.m. at the Mariott in downtown Montreal. Out of the bag and fresh as a daisy, as always. (The shirt was ready to go as well...)

BTW, the moustache is a temporary feature for Movember. Hit my donation page at to find out more.

6:30 a.m., Les Forges Sorel. We get our security briefing, and get our safety gear. My black shirt, jeans and boots pass the test for toughness and fire/melt resistance. Plus, it looks cool with the orange flameproof coats.

First shoot was an exterior. Beautiful day, but it was about -10 degrees. Everyone around me was freaking out about the cold, but the combo of a windproof shell and a wool base layer was pretty effective. They all thought I was crazy, but only my bare hands got really cold.

By mid-morning, we were ready to shoot inside, near the actual forge. White-hot metal and sparks all around us. But once again, I was quite comfy in my breathable base.

Here is our Director, Jacques, and some of the team having lunch. They feed you non-stop at a shoot, and by the end of the day everyone is wearing coffee and grease stains. But you'd never know with the black Icebreaker polo. Black wool hides many, many sins.

I wish my eyes, ears, nose and throat were as rugged as this shirt. The smoke and dust of the ancient industrial site have been harder on my lungs than Don Draper pitching American Tobacco. (*hack, hack, hack*) The shirt didn't show the slightest bit of soot.

This steel mill began life as an arms factory in WWII, making barrels for heavy artillery. By mid-afternoon, we were shooting in the millwright shop, where some of the machines seemed to be original equipment.

They sure don't make 'em like they used to... except for this shirt. After 8 months of weekly wear, it still looks like new. But if I ever do get sick of it, Icebreaker recommends burying it in the garden - merino wool is both renewable and biodegradable.

All shoots have unexpected stresses, and this one was no exception. At this point, we were all tired, and the actors were having a hard time nailing the scene. But in cases like this, you can't let 'em see you sweat, and I was as cool and dry as bactrian camel in the Icebreaker.

Just an idea of the environment I was working in. Evening shift at the blast furnaces, and the shirt is still bringing it. I wish I was made of merino.

11 p.m., back in Montreal. About 3 pints into the day one wrap party. Note my glassy eyes, haggard appearance, and absolutely immaculate shirt. I could have slept in this sucker, but I needed to rid myself of the smell of burning steel.

Hell, I could've just kept rocking the black Icebreaker for the entire week. But there's no need. I also have this shirt in brown and blue.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Tom, I think I saw your industrial film back in the 80s.