What is the origin of the Elder Statesman name?
The inspiration behind the name comes from Pitt the Elder and Pitt the Younger, who were prime ministers of England in the 1700s. Today, The Elder Statesman is someone that holds a high rank in society, but is generally revered by all. The name is a tribute to my brother. I wanted to name the company in honor of him. His friends used to call him The Mayor, so The Elder Statesman was very fitting.
Since 2007, you have been the laid back luxury cashmere king. How did the line start?
It literally started in my living room in Venice Beach. I was on a quest for the perfect cashmere blanket for my house. When I couldn’t find the one that I had in my “mind’s eye,” I started looking for ways to create my own. I created two for myself and I guess word got out about them. After that, I made a couple of sweaters to go along with my blankets and the rest is history.
Walk us through your hand-dye and hand-knit techniques.
We use so many different artisans to do our dyes and knits, but I am very proud of the 45+ artisans working under our own roof in LA. These folks are the heart and spine of our company. Knitters, dyers, linkers, embroiders, toymakers; the works!
What are things you still celebrate that can’t be automated or manufactured in a factory?
Soul. The soul of a product. It's there or it isn’t.
Why is Made in LA so important to you?
We are driven by a deep appreciation of artisan craft and the human hand. The majority of our products are made under our own roof in Los Angeles by our employees who are artisans and work on hand-powered looms. Being a local brand means creating and producing in our own facility and working/partnering with local artisans every day. “Watering our local grass” is very important to us.
You shot your last look book on your amazing team in your favorite LA locations- tell us about that.
Yes! I am not sure if it has ever been immediately obvious to the customer that it takes a village to make something beautiful happen in our industry. It is important for me to show and celebrate our village. It’s real.
How has COVID-19 changed your business?
Wow. In every way possible. We/I have had to make a million big and micro decisions so far just to navigate to this point. I am pleased to say that a lot of the pillars our business has been built on from the start are what has fueled our fire during this impossible time. In a lot of ways, we have leaned in to what we were already doing and are planning on refining, refining, refining. We are nowhere near out of the woods, but we are in it for the long fight. I took a bet that my amazing distribution, YOU, would “be there” when the dust settled from the first lockdown and I am pleased to say that bet more than paid off. That rock-solid belief in you made a lot of our decisions much easier. Thank you.