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Studio Visit: Mark McNairy

"Most designers take themselves way too seriously. It's clothing, for God's sake."


Rubber duckies. Howdy Doody. Polka dots. From the whimsical design details accenting the current collection of New Amsterdam—which launched with footwear in 2008 and has since expanded to clothing and accessories—it's evident that creative director Mark McNairy doesn't take himself, or his work, too seriously.

And unlike some of his peers who pride themselves in toiling away nights and weekends in the studio, McNairy firmly sticks to a nine-to-five weekday schedule. "I don't work nights or weekends, because I don't want to," he says. "I'm very lucky that I get to play and make a living. It's not work for me."

Click "View Slideshow" to view the slideshow of our tour and interview with McNairy.

—Katie Chang is a writer and shopkeeper based in Brooklyn. Follow her at @katieshewrote.

How did you get started in design?
My first job was selling clothes in North Carolina, then I moved up to New York to do the same thing. I hated selling, though. Somehow, I linked up with a company called Street Life and started making things for them. Then I started my own women's line [Finis], which was bananas. All of a sudden, I was a designer. I had a huge collection of vintage, so I started selling to the Japanese and brands like Polo and Abercrombie. One of my customers, a Japanese guy, wanted to start making new men's clothes. We got together and replicated vintage American sportswear. Then I started McNairy Brothers in 1998.

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