Brand Spotlight: Barking Irons

This New York design team is revolutionizing menswear by taking it back to its roots.

From “Our American Cousin” (the play Abraham Lincoln was watching when Booth shot him) to New York City’s bizarre “Know-Nothing” party of the 1850’s, Barking Irons—old New York Bowery slang for pistols—is dedicated to resuscitating long-forgotten players of American folklore. Founded in 2003 by Daniel and Michael Casarella, the menswear brand takes inspiration from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, celebrating marginalized heroes, bit players, and “the rakish, raucous, and rough-hewn lifestyle,” as the brothers put it.

The brand began with a single collection of T-shirts but has expanded to accessories, button-downs, and even outerware. But their T-shirts are still their calling card: our favorites include prints commemorating the first clipper ship that sailed to San Francisco in 1851 (losing her masts in the process) and a shout out to the original name of Frederick Olmstead’s Central Park, “Greensward.”

The greatest anachronism of all is that these forgotten stories of American history are brought to life on a garment popularized and perfected in the modern era: the T-shirt. And Barking Irons’ T-shirts show just how perfected this garment can be. Beyond the slim and tailored body, their shirts feature slightly raised and angled sleeves (in a nod to Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire") and a scalloped jersey-style hem reminiscent of old-fashioned undergarment. Whoever thought it was possible to marry Gangs of New York design with Brando attitude?

In August, Birchbox Man sampled the Barking Irons' signature "Brando cut" in a clean slate gray. Check out all the brand's plain tees and American folklore designs here.

Barking Irons also brings in some great artists to kick out tunes at their Bowery studio space. Justin Townes Earl is our personal favorite.

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