If you ever question the extent of American menswear’s New York bias just try to name a handful of Los Angeles based labels. If you’re actually able to hit number five, than you’re a better man than I, but regardless of how many brands you’re personally able to recall, it’s undeniable that when it comes to men’s clothing L.A. is New York’s little brother. While some might view this secondary status as a negative, it only seems to fuel the fire of budding designer John Elliott. Elliott, who got his start sourcing denim for Simon Miller, started his eponymous label in 2012 in San Francisco, but soon moved to L.A., and when he speaks of his adopted hometown he does so with a fervor that’s infectious. He describes L.A. as “the last wild west” for creative entrepreneurs such as himself, and even though my East Coast inclinations run deep, I catch myself nodding in agreement.
That’s what John Elliott does best, he challenges your assumptions. You don’t wear black? Try saying no to an all black Japanese twill over-shirt with pleated leather elbow patches. Think sweatpants are for the slovenly? Well, how about tailored sweatpants with quilted knee pads? Haven’t worn a sweatshirt since grade school? Elliott’s side-zipped crew necks are a far cry from your yellowing gym uniform.
Although Elliot’s designs, on the surface, are not novel creations, what is remarkable is how Elliott creates these items. The entire collection is produced in Los Angeles using high quality materials such as Japanese denim, jersey fabrics, French terry cloth, and RiRi zippers from Switzerland. For Elliott, the way in which his designs are executed is as important as the designs themselves, and while the clothes might not be for everyone, Elliott’s approach is certainly something we can all get behind.