John Elliott’s inaugural showing at New York Fashion Week was so highly anticipated that rapper (and aspiring designer himself) Kanye West sat in the – gasp! – second row. Dubbed by GQ as one of 2014’s Best New Menswear Designers in America, Elliott showed a collection of must-have menswear essentials to a packed front (and second) row of brand superfans.
“I say this all the time, but I really just design for myself,” Elliott said backstage following his show. “I’m making stuff that I want in my closet, and I think I started with the same needs everyone has, and now we are moving into developing into more luxury basics, and guys are looking to wear more premium products.”
One of the premium products taking center stage was a pair of custom Nike sneakers designed by Elliott with a company he has admired for years. “One of the most rewarding things about this process was having the opportunity to work with Nike and the Nike ID team on high performance footwear, and designing those sneakers in color palettes that work with the collection,” he said. “Having sent letters to Nike as a child, I’ve been a huge fan of Nike my whole life, so it only made sense to use Nike ID for our first show.” The pair of LeBron 12 sneakers have already amassed a waiting list.
While previous seasons have been focused on cozy basics, this collection, inspired by prison innovation, was an obvious, and well-timed departure from the brand’s norm. “I would argue that this is the first time that people got to see what we were capable of in a setting that was more visible,” Elliott said before being swept up in the post-show media storm. “We have always had a diverse offering, the show provided us an opportunity to showcase that variety.”
Check out the full collection below.