I first met Adam Rapp in Namibia a few years ago at the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS). He was there to show off some rather cool shirts and pants that he called Pick-Pocket Proof, designed after a year of vagabonding around the world. His company is called Clothing Arts and he gave me some pants to try out while I was in Africa. Comfort-wise, they instantly become my favorite go-to pair for travel, in big cities and in developing countries. Smartly and securely designed, they’re made of nylon and cotton blends, with multiple secure pockets, some of them hidden. The men’s pants are zipper-closed with retractable button flaps.
You can talk all you want about cyber theft these days, which is a real danger, but the fact is that good old fashioned pick pockets are still a potent threat on crowded city buses, in market places and in bustling train stations. Rapp knows this threat well, after an encounter with a gang of pickpockets in China years ago led him down this path. Visit the Clothing Arts website and they keep a running story tally of pick pockets foiled by their ingenious clothing. It’s currently 51 and counting, with the most recent incidents in Paris, St Petersburg and Rome.
After a few years of perfecting his menswear line, Rapp has just released his first women’s collection. I caught up with last week as he was preparing to move into far larger quarters in Brooklyn prompted by his company’s great success.
You’ve just released your women’s line of Pick-Pocket Proof Apparel. What led you down this road?
Clothing Arts started out as a menswear brand in 2011. We introduced our Women’s Travel Pants three years ago in response to feedback coming in asking for a version of our pants for women. The style has grown in popularity over the years and we decided to expand from the pants to a full line of womenswear at the end of last year. The Women’s Travel Shirt was our most requested new item and we are very happy with initial feedback on the style from early pre-orders already sent out. The Travel Wrap Skirt was a piece that our new design team were really excited to create. The idea here was to make a skirt that you could wear to the office, grab your passport, and be at the airport in an hour. We went with the wrap design to allow greater range of motion than with your traditional skirt. Plus there are lots of our discretely hidden pockets, five to be specific, in a clean, classic silhouette.
What was the biggest challenge in designing these clothes?
With any new apparel we release, we need to go through a design and field testing process. Our design team had a number of rounds of fittings, in a variety of sizes. The challenge with designing womenswear is that sizing is really like the Wild West out there. Some brands fit smaller and others larger. We took our time to get our fit just right and we’re really happy with the results. We can’t wait to learn what everyone thinks about the new shirt and skirt on their summer travels.
What is the thinking behind your color choices?
The colors are selected to be classic and travel-friendly. Something you would want to wear in your everyday life and on your travels. Versatility is key to all our apparel.
Were these pieces designed to fit in on a safari or in a cafe in Rome? Given their neutral tones and classic cut, it would seem so.
This is exactly what we are going for. We want you to have the flexibility to wear your new travel wear to any destination. Our design team model our travel wear for a weekend in Paris and a week on Safari. A classic, structured, stylish wardrobe you will never leave home without.
What’s coming up next in the women’s line?
We have received great feedback on the new pieces so far and will be adding more by the end of the year. Hint: expect a dress and new colors for the shirts. Our team is working on styles they want to wear around the world. Our goal is to have a full line of apparel to match the selection of our menswear by this time next year. A Cubed Travel Jacket for Women is very high on the list for Holiday 2018 as well.