Do you feel like we're already in a cashless society? So does Jason Jules, which is why he's created House of Garmsville.
Stylist, writer, blogger and now accessories designer, if it's menswear related, you can be certain Jason Jules has had a hand in it. Starting House of Garmsville a couple of years ago, the line has gone on to collaborate with workwear specialists Dickies, and is stocked in ultra-cool Parisian boutique Colette as well as several stores in Japan. We spoke with the man to get his thoughts on the birth of his brand, manufacturing in the UK and why he believes in a cashless society (but is a big supporter of plastic).
Why did you start House of Garmsville?
I started small - I wanted to do a bag for myself, and it turns out that other people liked it. And it's built from there - it's really simple stuff and it's not that hard to like. I'm learning as I go along.
How did the items get into Colette?
At the beginning of the year, I decided that I was going to take it a bit more seriously so I started working with two agents, Fode and Yuko (from Showroom Next Door). We showed in Paris, the first show I did. I was taking my own advice - the advice I give to other people - that "it's going to be three years before anyone takes this seriously. Just show and have a good time and not even think about any sales". But then Colette saw it and bought some stuff. And I thought, "ok, wow".
Where else is it stocked?
Aside from Colette it’s also stocked in Japan. The stores there are Beams, International Gallery, Wizm and Edifice. I’m working on an online shop as well.
And why accessories?
Because it's stuff that I know how to make. I think that, to be a real designer, you have to know a lot more than I do. But I do have a good sense of what a good belt is. And I almost feel that there's, not necessarily a gap, but certainly stuff that I would like to wear that I can't find. And so I'm having a go at making it myself.
Do you think there's a shift towards cardholders?
A lot of the stuff I'm making is based on the problem, which comes first and then needs to be solved. So a while ago I made some wallets and I sensed they weren't really working. I never sold them or showed them. I was wearing them in, it was really bulky in my pocket. It was a beautiful thing but functionally it just wasn't there yet. What occurred to me is that we are already a cashless society. What you really need is your card. Your card is it. Your cardholder which has your business card, money card and maybe the card you need to get into your hotel room and you're sorted. So I figured I'd make one of those. The ones that I have still have all the things that appeal to me, they're really simple, basic, there's no bells and whistles. It's just the function and materials.
Made in England, why?
When you're writing about stuff people try and tell it's because it's more crafted, more authentic and all that stuff and to a degree there's a level of truth in that. But one reason I'm making stuff in England is because I can, because I can develop a relationship with the craftsmen, so they can see me every day and they can understand my taste level. And the amount of money and stress I save by not travelling to Italy or Spain is huge. I can make stuff I like, sample stuff, have long conversations with the guys who make the stuff and just have better relationships. So if I was in Paris, it'd be made in France. It's distance, it's practicality. The craftsmen are here, they do exist but they're really are very practical reasons as to why I want to make here.
Any plans to grow Garmsville?
I think I want to take it slow, it's still very personal. I don't know if I want to take it to a place where it becomes like a business where I'm worrying about quantities and stuff like that. Deliveries are important. Quality is important. But I still want to be able to say "this is one of mine, I'm wearing it" as opposed to "I'm making this for... I don't know".