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Todd Heim

Todd Heim

It’s probably no surprise that a bearded Irish linen towel maker from New York is difficult to pigeonhole.

Todd Heim grew up just outside a tiny agricultural town in Iowa and, much like the bright, colour blocked beach towels and blankets he produces, his resume reads like a delicious licorice allsort.

“After high school I moved to New York, first to try film school at Hunter College. I didn’t love that so moved on to fashion design at FIT. That wasn’t for me either, so I took a semester off and started working. A semester turned into a year, and a year turned into two years, and…”

Having sewn with his mother from a very young age, Todd juggled worked with costume and production designers on films, personal tailoring for a group of clients around the city and retail at Opening Ceremony and Rag & Bone before launching the never-before-conceived Todd Heim Projects: a Brooklyn-based studio producing handmade linen towels and blankets to order.

It was his boyfriend’s upcoming birthday that prompted Todd to make the prototype.

“I knew I wanted to make him something and had little time to do it before we left [for our beach holiday] so a beach towel seemed like the perfect thing – born out of simplicity,” says Todd.

After ignoring a wall of solid coloured linens for quite some time, it occurred to Todd, who is something of a quilt lover, that he could piece a beach towel together and make his own stripes.

With happy feedback reverberating in his ears, Todd heeded the advice of friends and family and launched his first collection of towels, inspired by different sunsets he had seen over the ocean, in 2014.

These days Todd works with sourcing agents in the garment district in NYC, collaborates with the likes of Shinola and Fredericks  &Mae, and has moved from his tiny into a converted auto body garage (‘a big cutting table, good light’) at the intersection of Hasidic Williamsburg and Clinton Hill. 

“The latter is quickly gentrifying and centered around [art school] Pratt so it’s interesting to see how the two neighborhoods intersect and (often) butt heads,” says Todd.

Todd’s newest collection is inspired by the faded hues and peeling facades of the Carribean, and he’s working on a new spring collection as we speak.

“I’m trying to strike a nice balance between unique and subtle. Interesting enough to compete with the colors of summer, on the beach, in the park, at the lake. Subtle enough that when you’re not using it as a beach towel you want to live with it in your everyday life - as a throw or a tablecloth or as bedding.”

This careful consideration is immediately apparent when Todd’s towels are experienced in the flesh. Crisp yet soft, bright yet not over the top, they’re the multipurpose number you wish you’d had every summer ever.  It’s hard to imagine that the appeal isn’t universal.

“Right now I’m down to working two days a week at another job… Orders keep coming in though so I feel close to the tipping point of getting to do this full time,” Todd says.

We’re betting it won’t be long.

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Check out Todd Heim's linen beach blankets and towels here.