Interview with Brett Johnson

Brett Johnson

Brett Johnson On Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing menswear designer Brett Johnson!

Brett Johnson Brett Johnson For those of you that may not know, The Brett Johnson Collection debuted in 2013 with a line of men’s shoes and apparel.

Vida Fashionista

Brett Johnson is the founder and creative director of the Brett Johnson Collection, a distinct brand of menswear which offers premium apparel that exudes style, sophistication, and edge for the global lifestyle. The Collection includes a variety of contemporary polos, t-shirts, shoes and elegantly tailored Italian outerwear.

Vida Fashionista

Vida Fashionista (VF):   When did you start designing and what inspired you?

Brett Johnson (BJ): I started designing when I was about 6 or 7.  I first collected Air Force Ones Nikes, the all white lows to be exact.  And with tourist fabrics from all over the world some from Spain, from Japan, from Portugal, from Italy.  I’m from Washington, DC so we’d take them up to a cobbler in New York City and have him apply the fabric to the materials to the shoe.  That’s when I first really started generating my own aesthetic and own sort of design and feel.  Also my mom is a designer, she designs scarves so I just think it’s kind of in my blood.

VF:  Walk me through one of your favorite projects.

BJ:  One of my favorite projects would have to be this upcoming New York Fashion Week in February.  It will be my first time showing for New York Fashion Week.  This collection probably means the most to me as it’s finally going to be a full collection.  So I mean we’ll be introduction woven shirts, t-shirts, polos, trousers and being on such a big stage is first and foremost and honor to be under the CFDA umbrella but to showcase my talent to the world is really a dream come true.  A little bit surreal right now but I think it will all sink in hopefully in a couple of weeks.  I’m off to Italy tomorrow to finish up most of the pieces, some of the show pieces.  And now it’s really just bringing the collection to life, I mean planning the show, creating the environment so I’m really excited about it.



Vida Fashionista

VF:  Who are some of your design heroes or favorite designers?

BJ:  I have two.  One is Georgio Armani and two is Brunello Cucinelli.  So the reason being, Armani just turned 81 or 82  and first person in the building and last person to leave.  I just really admire his work ethic and being able to stay relevant over the past 40 years now is truly remarkable.  I mean you see so many brands come and go and just to have that longevity and perseverance in the market place is truly phenomenal.  And Brunello Cucinelli just what he’s done to his home town and really created this incredible culture.  I mean everybody eats together, they work together has now a tailoring program for young people in his town to learn the craftsmanship and truly understand what it is to be a tailor I think is truly remarkable.

VF:  Where did you go to school?

BJ:  I went to both the University of Michigan and Arizona State

VF:  Did you start as a major in fashion or did you go a different route?

BJ:  Sociology.  Besides fashion I also produce film.  So I produced a film a couple years ago called “Lee Daniels The Butler” and I’m going to be doing three more feature films.  I start shooting in March.  I’ve invested in car dealerships, a bunch of different things I like to build things


Brett Johnson Vida Fashionista

VF:  So how do you stay on top of current trends?

BJ:  A lot of research.  So there are two ways of doing it.  Usually if you see things two seasons in a row, that’s probably going to carry over.  If you see one color one season and don’t see it another season that’s probably a dead trend.  That’s just probably the quickest way to do it.  But I mean you also have to work with the mills, the painteries as they really kind of dictate to us the designers in terms of trend forecast and color forecast and fabrics, materials, yarns of what’s going to be popular each season.

VF:  What are your future plans for your line and where do you see it going?  What do you want to do?

BJ:   Hopefully in three to five years we will be opening Brett Johnson Collection stores, that’s my ultimate dream.

VF:  Anywhere in particular that you want to start off first?

BJ:  Either New York or DC.  I mean hometown would always be great

Get more information about the collection at here.  Also, follow along on instagram @brettjohnsonco.

Thanks for reading!