January 01, 2014 3 min read 0 Comments
From as early as grade school, I was fascinated by beautiful fabrics.
Tagging along with my mother to fabric shops, where she would be buying fabric for skirts, dresses, and blouses for herself, I was interested in yardage to hang on the walls of my room- intermingled with my posters of The Who, The Cure and the like. A bit of an odd mix, but it all came together neatly in my head under the title of "inspiration".
Most of the fabrics that caught my eye came from the same design house- Perry Ellis (yes, the actual man, not the terrible and terribly-degraded corporate mess that exists today). Italian linens and wools from mills like Solbiati and Braghenti, all woven to the specifications of Mr. Ellis and his design team.
After a short stint at UNC-Greensboro, where I studied business/chemistry (& drinking), off I went to Parsons School of Design in New York. I made quick work of wedging my foot in the door of Perry Ellis design offices (conveniently located across the street from school) where I met Mr. Brian Bubb, the creative director of the menswear division.
Brian, a recent graduate of Parsons himself, welcomed me into the fresh new world of menswear by hiring me for my off-hours from school. I cut swatches, made Xerox copies, organized accessory closets- I couldn't have been happier just being in the mix of "real designers". *Interesting to note, these were the years when Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford (who helped me with my homework) were also part of the Perry Ellis design team. The design room buzzed with positive creative energy. Looking back, I am amazed at my good fortune of having been at that place in time.
As they say, all things come to an end. Design teams evolve and people move on to other jobs to follow their dreams elsewhere. Brian's dream was to open his own brand (BUBB)- and so off he went, leaving Perry Ellis behind.
I continued to work with Brian at BUBB, assisting with whatever was needed to help get his new brand moving along. Not having a lot of funding though, Brian paid me in ties. The ties you see here are essentially my pay stubs. With all things considered, I felt I was very generously compensated.
As were Brian's collections at Perry Ellis menswear, the BUBB line was well-received for it's unique approach to men's design- an area of American fashion that was either directly following European style or just stale, in it's own right. Brian helped to bring about the changed perception of menswear that we are enjoying in today's revived American men's clothing market. Beautiful fabrics, quirky prints and great color combinations. Something that really had not existed in American menswear previously.
Sadly, Brian passed away in 1993 at the age of 35 before ever reaching his potential. It was with Brian's inspiration though that General Knot & Co. was born many years later. To always design with fun and excitement, to produce our wares to the highest standards (here in the USA), and to never take ourselves too seriously.
I certainly enjoyed my years in school and after, working with and learning from Brian, although unaware that my life's direction was being set. I remain ever thankful for the enthusiasm and creative direction that Brian shared with me.