We had a chance to sit down with writer and tie designer Elliot Aronow to discuss music, culture and how they both have a huge influence on his brand. Read the interview here:
How did you break into the Music/Culture Scene on NYC?
My pops was a teacher (now retired) at John Dewey High School, which in the '70s and '80s was like a gifted and talented school. When my friends and I were 14 year old teenagers in NJ he would sorta chaperon us to the West Village to show us suburban dorks that there was other stuff out there than the mall.
Around '96/97 I started going to DIY hardcore/artpunk shows at places like ABC NO Rio, Wetlands and the Cooler and would link up with our kids who I saw every week to go record shopping and dig for clothes.
It wasn't like "networking" but it was definitely how I learned how to make connections and get things done. I couldn't play an instrument so I booked shows and also made zines. After college I interned for the Strokes in 2002, which was a total dream come true, and then flipped that into a job at the Fader. First working parties, then writing. I've kind of kept one foot in music ever since.
How do you feel about the relationship between style and music?
For me, and a lot of other people, they are inseparable. Malcolm McLaren had to sell punk clothes in order for punk rock to make sense as a movement ya know? Not because it was about consumerism (it was only half about consumerism I think) but because the look led the charge. The chords were old Chuck Berry but the clothing and especially the styling was very new. I think musicians tend to have better style than athletes because they have no armor when they perform.
Where do you draw inspiration when creating new styles for your ties?
For me, making ties is kind of like recording and writing a 7", it's sort of easy to do and a great way to break into the biz but it's very hard to do well.
A lot of the early inspiration for Jacques-Elliott was what I didn't want, which was to make ties with whales and martini girls and stuff. Ties really are the repository for a lot of bad taste in the clothing business so I set out to design and sell ties that are a bit sharper, more going places. I come up with funny names for the fabric swatches to sort of place them in a cultural context, like "stoner Bryan Ferry" or "uptown Mods" or "Aztec hip hop." Sometimes the names drive the design process, sometimes it goes the other way.
Would you ever be interested in creating a line outside of ties?
And how! I am a student of Ralph so I'm trying to start with ties and do the best possible job I can with that before we start jamming on the "jacques-ford" button downs and blue blazers. Keep an eye out for our first ready to wear in the spring of 206.
You've been a writer for a long time, what are you covering these days?
I have a weekly style x music column for GQ that has been a lot of fun. I sort of use old photos of cool musicians to tell stories and give advice about clothes today. They let me sneak in GG Allin once in a while so that's pretty awesome.
Aside from that, I try to load up the Jacuqes-Elliott instagram with images and write about about musicians that inspire me and keep me jazzed on staying in the game. This isn't an easy business if you are doing your own brand with no day job and no safety net so I try to connect to my heroes to help move things forward on the daily.
In this day in age who do you think is still in the forefront when it comes to being influential in culture/music or style?
Anyone who use their voice to send out a progressive, positive message and inspires their fellow human to be dope and improve the world. For me, I'm a fan of the classics: Fab 5 Freddy circa '82, the Specials, Beastie Boys "check your head" era, Raekwon in Polo, Bryan Ferry, stuff that aged incredibly well and still looks fly today. There's no need to reinvent perfection, ya know?