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$35 T-Shirt Promises to Tame Floppy Headphones

By DNAinfo Staff on November 21, 2012 1:48pm

By Rich Monetti

Special to DNAinfo.com New York

Some people settle into a career and are content to let the job description lead them along until retirement. But not Jason Mendelson.

"I've always had stuff on the side," said Mendelson, an investment banker whose current entrepreneurial inspiration came from observing the uncomfortable way some people run their headphones up under their shirts and through the collar.

"Those headphones are always flopping around, which seems annoying," said the Upper West Side resident.

So Mendelson invented a series of T-shirts with strategically placed holes in them — called HoledTheMusic T-shirts — that could contain this wiry fray.

The shirts allow the listener to run the wires from an iPhone or iPod up and under the shirt and out a metal ringed hole to awaiting ears. When you're not listening to music, the wires can be pulled taught as the outlet rests snuggly in the shirt’s interior pocket.  

With wires kept tidy, Mendelson then brought the artistic aspect full circle after seeing a T-shirt at the Brooklyn Museum that artfully incorporated a hole into its design.

Now, his own T-shirts place the holes in decorative places. On one, the hole is tucked into the design of a tree. On another, the metal ring forms a woman's earring.

To create each T-shirt, Mendelson sat down with a local illustrator over a long period to develop the designs, rather than farming the specs out to a random silk screener.

The same goes for the actual shirt, which is manufactured by a small shop in the Garment District, he said.

Each shirt costs about $15 to make. Mendeson then asks about $35 retail — a price point that he knows will not make him rich. But he'd gladly settle for having his T-shirts catch on among Brooklyn hipsters or maybe in skateboard communities.

And if a large company wants to purchase the idea, he'll take the returns and just move the personal relationships onto the next project.

"Maybe someday this will pay the rent," he said.