Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a Nashvillian” or the Nashville experience. “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org. Thank you.
Why you should attend “Silk Screens & Spirits” on March 1:
Interview with Kyle McCollom, Founder of Triple Thread Apparel
by Dave Carew
Triple Thread Apparel, an enterprise of Dismas House (DismasNashville.org), is a screen-printing business that provides jobs and employment training to former offenders. The enterprise was launched in September 2010 and, in just a year and a half, has helped more than 30 Dismas House residents get on a steadier, more positive path in life.
On Thursday, March 1, “Silk Screens & Spirits,” a benefit for Triple Thread Apparel, will be held at the Corsair Distillery in Nashville. In the following exclusive interview with Kyle McCollom, founder of Triple Thread Apparel, Underground Nashville probes why Triple Thread came to be, how it’s making a genuine difference in lives, and why all Nashvillians should consider attending “Silk Screens & Spirits.”
UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: Why did you found Triple Thread Apparel? Specifically what does the business do, and how does that help Dismas House help ex-offenders?
KYLE McCOLLOM: As a college student, I moved into the Dismas House—a halfway house for former offenders, and Triple Thread’s nonprofit parent—to learn from the residents and do what I could to help. During conversations with residents at dinner and on the front porch, a deep-set ambition to earn a second chance and find their place in society became obvious. But the residents often weren’t getting the opportunity to prove their work ethic because of their history. So we launched a business to create those opportunities in September of 2010. At Triple Thread, we print quality custom apparel while reconciling former offenders to society through employment and job training.
UN: Why did you choose the screen-printing (T-shirts, etc.) business, rather than some other, to help support the work of Dismas House?
KM:Each screen-printed T-shirt you own often represents a meaningful experience in your life—a marathon conquered, a favorite band’s concert, a sorority formal. We want to be a part of those exciting moments in our customers’ lives, because our employees’ tenures at Triple Thread are also a meaningful moment in their lives. Our customers’ events become even more memorable by creating a second chance for former offenders.
UN: If you had the length of an elevator ride to convince me to attend your “Silk Screens & Spirits” benefit for Triple Thread Apparel on March 1, what would you tell me?
KM:At Triple Thread, we are all about creating meaningful experiences for our customers and employees—and “Silk Screens & Spirits” is our definitive experience this year! A new craft distillery to uncover. A rich distilling process to explore. Novel drinks to savor with friends. Talented mixologists to learn new tricks from. And the opportunity to partake in the compelling story of a pioneering social enterprise right here in Nashville!
For more information about Triple Thread Apparel and/or the “Silk Screens & Spirits” benefit, visit TripleThreadApparel.com.
David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.