We sit down with our designer David Jackson and
hear his thoughts on fashion, fabrics and style.
So I guess the big question is, and maybe something people don’t know, what’s your origin story? When did you start working for Peter Jackson?
Well it’s a family business so I guess I’ve been involved for some time, but it wasn’t really till my early to mid-twenties that I really came into wanting to work at this level. It really stemmed from wanting to take a more strategic direction for the image of the brand. I felt like there was an opportunity to make something, while it was successful in its own right, spoke more to the people of my generation. Since then, the whole PJ team has backed the idea of becoming more of a lifestyle brand. We’re always pushing to stay ahead of the curve and are dedicated to reinventing what we deliver and how we deliver it. This I think can be seen in our collections, which are starting to take pretty ambitious strides. I think our most recent campaign is the truest embodiment of this.
So how would you say you’ve moved into making it more about a lifestyle?
For me, it’s all about the product, after all, that’s what people come to Peter Jackson for. By and large, we still base our movements around our ethos, quality without sacrifice. Both the team and I truly believe in bringing the best to our customers. Other than that, I suppose the main change is how we communicate. When I came on board the image was skewed towards a more corporate conservative worker and it was primarily a bricks and mortar business. Since then we’ve worked to evolve the brand to meet the growing appreciation for fine tailoring and increased demand for accessibility. Our market has grown exponentially, both in terms of size and sense of style, so now we’re taking a more eclectic approach. Each season we build upon our range, making it bigger and better.
While we’re on the vein of quality, what do you think makes a good suit?
Textile, internals and style. These are the three elements that, for me, take a suit from good to great. I know those are subjective terms, but I think that, at its core, it comes back to using world class quality textiles and styling them in a manner considered for an entire wardrobe. It’s these elements that make a great look come together.
Is there particular style or type of textile you love to work with?
I love working with natural fibres, I think pure wool would have to be my favourite. When it comes down to it, though, I don’t necessarily care what it is, just as long as it’s the best. I really don’t think it’s necessary to ever use something of poor quality. In the scheme of things, it might work out to be twenty or even twenty-five percent cheaper, but what’s the point. Why not go the whole hog? At least then you can make something beautiful. I think it comes back to my preferences, instinctually I want to wear nice things, I want to touch nice textiles. For me, my work is an extension of that.
Planning a new collection is a pretty big task, how do you even begin a process like that?
As a rule, I start with a particular set of themes; typically it’s based on a time and place I’m fond of. Most recently I’ve focused on the modernist era of 1950’s New York City; it’s what inspired this season's campaign. I explore the fashion, fabrics, and architecture of that period, which helps to form the overarching angle. After this, I go to textile fairs and seek out options that I feel are suitable for fulfilling the creative concept. I then work with some of the finest mills in Europe to add that extra bit of PJ flavour into the fabric of the garment. That’s really where it all starts for me.
How do you go about creating the entire range?
First, I start with the suits, I look at all the potential fabrics and textiles and how they'll work with the concepts I've created. From there I build out the whole collection, from shirts to ties, ties to outerwear, outerwear to shoes. You create an entire look based around the initial concept, which for me, very much begins and ends with the suit.
You mentioned you were drawn to the 1950’s, what is it about this era that captivates you?
I just love the tongue in cheek, ‘no holds barred’ attitude, that’s really what drew me to that era. I know that it might sound ridiculous but I actually find it a little bit indicative of our culture now. Maybe it’s a Gen Y thing, but the idea that there’s nothing that you can’t do, there’s no limitations on what you can achieve, this idea resonated with me.
I also hate the idea of conformity and being bound to something. I think that everyone on the planet should do what they love doing and I believe that dressing up and fashion is an extension of that. For me fashion, fabrics, and style, it's a way of communicating your own unique character to the rest of the world.
We’re almost out of time, so while we’re on the topic of how people dress, what would you say is your go to piece or key look?
I know it sounds conservative but my absolute ‘go to’ piece is a navy suit. I pair it with a white shirt, navy knit tie, plaid belt and a pair of brown shoes, either a Brogue or a Monk. That and of course a contrast pocket square – I wear them with everything, even if its casual. To me, it adds just a little splash of personality into your overall presentation. No matter how paired back or how fashion forward you are, putting a little consideration into how everything works together is imperative for completing a polished look.