In conversation: Patrick Blue of Jac + Jack

In conversation: Patrick Blue of Jac + Jack

Inside the designer's mind

Site: Anna McClelland

Image: Jac + Jack

Huw Bennett, co-founder and designer of Australian label Vanishing Elephant, naturally has a lot of mates in the industry. Here, he chats to Patrick Blue of Jac + Jack fame

I'm going to start with full disclosure here: Patrick is both a friend and peer, someone I have always admired and found fascinating. I wanted to sit down and talk with him about his personal approach to designing and go beyond the processes to his mindset when working on both the men's component of Jac + Jack and the brand creative.

Here's the Jac + Jack story in short: A great vision driven by motivated, approachable individuals who are modest, relatable, friendly and fair. Jac + Jack started as a knitwear label and went on to become the flag bearer for casual-cool basics in Australia. The company operates four retail stores, a fluid wholesale business and most importantly, an upstanding brand name that stands, above all, for quality.

Patrick's approach is uncomplicated and individualistic; for the most part it's done at his own pace and doesn't rely on outside influences or trends - making it quite unique. The gift of time has served Jac + Jack well and working at his own pace has allowed Patrick to slowly educate his customer. As Pat explains, "People expect you to set milestones along the way and grow the business in new categories regardless." But this is an outside pressure that Jac + Jack refuse to bend to.

In conversation: Patrick Blue of Jac + Jack (фото 1)

Who is their customer? It's a wide mix, which many companies would say because it sounds good and is easier than defining an individual. But in this case it's the truth. Less defined by the personal and more by an attitude, the Jac + Jack customer is a collection of people - a shared appreciation for quality materials and craftsmanship and a natural, neutral aesthetic.

This customer fits Pat's working modus operandi. 'We make the clothes, and then they're yours and you live your life how you want with them." Perfect. He explains further that the clothes are about adding to you as a person, and you expressing yourself through the clothes.

In Pat's eyes, there are certain values that come with designing a range seasonally. "Sometimes designs aren't 100 per cent resolved when they're put into the cycle but these can sometimes come through as the real surprises and then at the other end of the spectrum are pieces that are well thought through and executed but somehow fail to perform when selling," he says. This is all part of the learning process.

Each season is an education for Patrick, even as the brand's values remain the same. The Jac + Jack name is built on the quality of the product and this quality is the key to their continued success. But success is something they don't discuss. The bar needs to keep moving from season to season; perhaps success is something one can only see in retrospect.

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