"IN TEES" Colleen Herman, Artist and Designer

These stories continue to evolve for me as the Creative Director of this brand. I love to see our tees land in a new home with their new owner and to see where their new life takes them. To see how they are interpreted and woven into a new story with an entirely different creative director is the definition of #1920everyday.

I was lucky enough to sit down with the lovely and talented Colleen Herman (and photographer Kiki Conway) at her studio in Tribeca to talk all things Colleen, art and tees (of course). Colleen Herman is one of those people that is a ray of light, an extremely talented ray of light to be exact. Not only is she outrageously talented... and kind... and beautiful (sigh) but she is also your number one supporter and a big champion of women in the arts.  Most recently Colleen has spearheaded a monthly event called "Sunday Salons" where she brings together the most complex group of insanely creative intellectual women; supporting all mediums to showcase their work, chat and gain feedback in a rotating studio setting. I would definitely say she is inspiring, #everyday! 

(Here Colleen is wearing the Muscle Tee in White

What brought you to 1 9 2 0:
A fellow graduate of the school of Calvin, design enthusiast, interiors lover. Abby won me over when we met to swap stories and inspiration – and realized how much overlap exists – and a fast friendship sisterhood has formed.

Tell us a little about yourself and your brand/work:
I’m an artist living in New York City, so naturally I wear many hats to make that work. I paint in my studio in Tribeca, mostly big colorful abstracts. Feels like a rebellion after a long career designing homewares with a minimal aesthetic. I started Tenfold, a brand for The Line in 2014 after many years at Calvin Klein Home. At the end of the day, we all go back to the sanctuary we’ve carved out in whatever corner of the world – and it’s the objects and items that support personal rituals – bathing, or cooking – sleeping – that I find interesting. Living with art supports the creative process in the same way. Color has always been a visual language that speaks to me louder than words. Movement – yoga and dance specifically has been hugely supportive in my process and expression.

(Here Colleen is wearing the Mens Oversize Crew in White

Online at:
Instagram @colleenmherman

Where are you based:
East Village, New York City

How did you initially get into painting? 
I’ve been drawing and painting for forever. Graduating with a design degree led me to making prints and patterns at CK. The office was more like a studio where we painted, drew, silkscreened, sewed and sketched – translating original art into textiles. Once I left and started other projects, I missed getting my hands dirty. So I’ve circled back around to my original love – and have been painting and making again, which feels like a return to myself.

What inspires you most in your day to day:
COLOR. The juxtaposition of shape and form. How textures make me feel. Music – I listen to the same song over and over until it becomes a field of sound, an environment that shapes a mood. Most of my paintings are completed inside of a single track.

What place is your go-to for inspiration:
Traveling fills the well. India, most recently Mexico. But I have days in New York when I walk around and feel the same feeling as when I was studying abroad in Italy – getting a rush of being somewhere new and vibrant. Everything changes here so much and so fast – every year it’s like living in a new city…

Who are some of your favorite artists/designers and why:
I have an obsession with the women of the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1950s, 60s – the wives and friends of the men who received the recognition of the day: Lee Krasner, Perle Fine, Joan Mitchell, Mary Abbott. They painted as a method to release emotional stress and feelings, they used the act of painting as a tool to express. They were included in the conversation internally, behind the scenes, but not in the public at the time.

Betty Parsons and Peggy Guggenheim were real champions of women artists.

Louise Bourgeois – who started making ‘kitchen table paintings’ because she was a homemaker, raising kids, painting late at night, at home. Expressing herself because she had no other choice, she was moved to create.

What is your daily uniform:
Jumpsuit for painting, jeans and a tee underneath. Easy clothes. Old Calvin sample sale mens sweaters, baggy. Maryam pumps or glove shoes and socks.

Colleen is wearing the Easy Crew in White

For 1 9 2 0 T-shirts play such a role in our day to day life, tell us about your favorite T-shirt and how you acquired it:
My dad used to travel a lot for work. He would bring home random oversized tee’s for me and my sisters that we would wear to bed. So, it’s less about the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, and more about the 30 years of love and wear in this shirt. That it’s from my dad.

What is it about that particular T-shirt that you love so much? 
The feel is the most important for me in a t shirt. The more worn in the better. But it’s also nice to get a new t-shirt --- which somehow feels fancy, and I put my new tee shirts on hangers and wear them with nice trousers and heels. I like the feeling of wearing a t shirt to a fancy dinner or a work meeting.

Do you have a favorite 1 9 2 0 style and why?
The easy crew is the perfect tee. Length, sleeve – the silhouette is dead on. I typically do something to a shirt to make it feel better: pull the hem of a sleeve until it rips, cut it off to create a new shape – but this style is perfect. It feels classic and timeless – sophisticated and understated.


Colleen is wearing the Easy Crew in Black

Words to live by:

Don’t be in anxiety.

Anything else you would like to tell us?
I am grateful for women who uplift women. I’m over the feeling of competition and much prefer the effects of celebration.

 * All original photos courtesy of Kiki Conway and Colleen Herman for 1920, You can find Kiki on instagram @kikiconway