Spotlight: LA label James Perse
I came across the label James Perse while my girlfriend was working one of our most popular boutique fashion stores here in NZ called Superette. Obviously having an insider was extremely handy as I'd be able to get sneak peaks into what was hot off the look books. On one particular visit I caught sight of a basic white long sleeve crew tee while scoping out the racks in the men's department. Not only was it a really nice looking, simple crew cut tee, the feel of the fabric really sold it for me - 100% soft lightweight jersey cotton. Light and breathable and something that can be worn on its own or even with a jacket at work. I had found a favourite that I’ve since been wearing on the regular.
James Perse garments are in the most part made in the USA which is great to hear in the age of fast fashion. Plus where possible James adopts lightweight cotton-jersey and linen fabrics which make wearing these pieces feel so soft and friendly, yet still provides you with some simple elegant style.
For us guys here in New Zealand, we don’t tend to ‘dress-up’ and the main reason behind this is our culture and lifestyle doesn’t really dictate or require it, so people feel badly out of place if they do adorn items that may be tagged as high fashion or dressy. It's a shame, but I think the more us guys get comfortable with getting the basics rights we'll see more guys branching out and trying something that may be more London or New York. It's all about giving shit a go.
The man himself James Perse was born in the sunny west coast of California in 1972. Not surprisingly he was introduced and educated in the world of fashion in his very early years thanks to his father owning a boutique store called Maxfield. He was influenced by art forms including modern architecture and furniture design and the the ethos of why simplicity and clean lines vastly outperform heavy detail. You even notice with his retail store designs he has adopted this philosophy.
Like for many brands, there’s always a garment or item that catapults them into fame, and for James, it was interestingly the baseball cap. Back when, James felt he could never find a cap that lived up to his desire for design and quality. So he made his own and started to sell them in his father's store Maxfield and they quickly became the ‘hot cakes’ of caps and it thus opened the door for James to cut his name into a t-shirt line that saw interest from all over the west coast.
James was seeing real interest in his approach to luxury made simple, and in 1996 he launched his own two collections; high-quality basics and a ready-to-wear line that featured jackets, pants, dresses and sweaters. Women loved it and the next logical step was seeing how he could translate the same construct for men and two years later in 1998 here released a men’s collection that bore his signature style.
James' personal design philosophy and passion for low maintenance, high fashion also reflects my attitude towards fashion - the need for simplicity, quality, and ease to throw together different looks. With James Perse you don’t need to buy a whole wardrobe, just a few key pieces, that'll be your staple go-to items that will allow you to dress for a casual day out or a night out.
I get my JP threads from Superette who stock a good selection of the basics.
Check out the full range of menswear and a few of my favourite picks below from JP.
Jaheb wearing // James Perse crew tee, French Connection shorts, The Academy Brand chino pants, Tommy Hilfiger jacket, French Connection sneakers, Daniel Wellington watch, Ray-Ban sunglasses, Illesteva sunglasses.