Here are three things we knew about John Whitledge before this week:
1. It’s been three years since he first took Trovata, the California-based men’s and women’s label known for its surfer dude-tinged prep wear, to the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.
2. Since then, the line he started with Sam Shipley, Jeff Halmos and Josia Lamberto-Egan has earned honours like a $200,000 CFDA Award and Swarovski’s Perry Ellis Award for Menswear.
3. Of the original four-man design crew, only John is left. Sam and Jeff now run their own line, Shipley & Halmos, from New York.
When we caught up with John for a few minutes this week, we learned plenty of other fun little details, many of which involve hanging 10 and watching comedy films. See if you can figure out the 28-year-old designer’s favourite hobby. No hints!
What are you working on right now? Any good projects coming up?
Right now, we’re finishing up our S09 collection and just beginning our Fall ’09 collection. We have a great collaboration coming up in the fall but can’t talk about it yet.
Any hints on what you’ll be making for next season?
Easy dresses, waxed-twill outerwear. Styles that make you want to take your clothes off.
You always seem to come up with crazy (and really unique) presentation ideas, like when two cat-toting actresses pretended to be Eastern European socialites on the days leading up to your show and then turned up as your models. How do your concepts come to you?
To be honest, we come up with ideas on a whim. The really good ideas come organically when I’m with my friends joking around. We thought of the Romanian socialites with the cat thing two weeks before fashion week. The collaboration we did with Perry Farrell [the original lead singer of Jane’s Addiction who performed at the Trovata show last September] happened four days before the event. We only do things quickly, but only if they’re a good idea.
If you weren’t designing, what would you be doing?
Something else that allowed me to be creative, travel the world and surf! Probably a photographer.
What’s the best garment you’ve ever made?
I don’t have one specific, but I always enjoy wearing our woven shirts. I like how timeless they are, and they’re extremely comfortable.
What’s one of your favourite garments done by someone else?
Birdwell Beach Britches…best surf shorts ever.
What trend should die already?
Super-skinny jeans for manorexics
Which movie character wins your best-dressed title?
Zoolander [Ed. note: “It’s a walk-off!”]
Name someone you’ve met who’s made you star-struck.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
All the curry restaurants on Brick Lane
What’s your biggest vice?
Wine and surfing
– Jill Hilbrenner