Introducing: John Elliot & Co
As much as bespoke formal wear might be the biggest lure for menswear aficionados, most of us can’t afford it – and nor de we wear it on a daily basis. But what if you applied the same approach to fabrics, cut and detail as Savile Row tailors, to your everyday clothes?
That’s the ethos behind John Elliot & Co. Elliott himself describes his brand as “a basics company” that reworks the items you wear 90 per cent of the time into something more than basic. The brand’s comprehensive line of T-shirts, sweatpants, hoodies, loungewear, denim and jackets are all made in the US, often with custom-woven fabrics, and always with exactly the right kind of cut.
Having worked his way up from working in retail, through brand wholesale, to launching his own label, Elliott is something of a fashion culture obsessive, and famously treasures the note he was sent from Nike at age eight when he submitted designs to their creative team. A self-taught designer, he’s honed his skills on the job, creating a brand that centres around using traditional craftsmanship techniques for a younger aesthetic.
We caught up with the man himself to discuss his personal style evolution, maxims to develop your own style, and his interpretation of the difference between style and fashion:
Q&A;: John Elliot
FashionBeans: How has your personal style evolved over the years?
John Elliot: As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to narrow my focus down and hone in on what’s really important to me, which is one look versus a closet full of pieces.
I’ve tried to focus my style rather than have statement items that have a shelf life, and now I’d describe it as monochromatic layers with differentiation through texture.
Who, or even what, would you say are your main style influences?
My main influence is that I’m constantly trying to solve my own problems with my wardrobe. My thought process in this is that I’m trying to diffuse product down to where it’s best at its core.
That comes from studying and obsessing over prison innovation. It’s amazing what prisoners are capable of creating out of necessity.
What advice would you give to someone who’s still developing their personal style?
Try to find something that speaks to you, whether it be an interest, a building, or an activity that you really like, and dilute that into deliverables.
If it’s a building, I would be looking for architecturally-inspired jeans that are tonal with clean lines, for example. If it’s skateboarding, you would probably be looking at oversized tees.
Your style should always come from an authentic place.
What is it about fashion that can give a sense of confidence to people?
Putting something on that makes you feel good allows you to go into situations with confidence and take risks socially.
Do you believe there is a difference between fashionable and stylish?
I think stylish means that you have a definition and principles that you stand by and matter to you.
Someone who is fashionable pays attention to what’s trendy.
Do you dress for yourself or for others? And what is your style maxim?
If I said I only dress for myself, that would be a lie. I dress so that I have social equity in new situations.
My golden rule would be my own litmus test: “is this corny?”