Style Strategies: How the Wythe Designer Shops
What are you shopping for
at the moment?
Oh man, I am always on the hunt. My eBay watchlist is full of vintage sand cast Diné (Navajo) belt buckles from the 1920s to the 60s. I’m waiting for the right deal on the right piece now.
How did you know it was time to start your own brand?
I didn’t, really. I knew I needed to start “something,” but I didn’t think I was creating an entire brand when I started with the oxford shirt—even though starting my brand was a lifelong dream.
Western tooled bag,
$698 by Wythe
Who’s the Wythe customer? How would you describe them?
Wythe’s customer is a broad demographic of different guys (and girls). We make a lot of different products that all have a soul. We have some customers who only buy our oxford shirts and others that have only bought our hand-tooled leather goods.
I think the main through-line between our customers is they want something well-made and “special”—a perfect collar roll or a unique item with many hours of handwork.
Since your brand is inspired by western wear, what are your top five western movies?
Wythe isn’t only inspired by western wear, although it is a part of the DNA. We are inspired by garments of the past that convey their soul and history. Coming from Texas and always loving the West, I think that “western” sensibility will continue to come across each season. I know these all may not count as a western in everyone’s book, but needless to say:
• A River Runs Through It
• Legends of the Fall
• 3:10 to Yuma
• Nevada Smith
• Hell or High Water
$198 by Wythe
Speaking of western style, why do you think your brand has made it palpable for people to get into?
Oh man, that’s a big pill to swallow. I would love to think that Wythe is a part of that, but there are so many other brands who paved the way so that Wythe could even be in the same stores with many modern design-driven brands. What has allowed for such a broad base is that I am pulling from so many different parts of Americana and mixing them in a way that appeals to myself and others.
I remember at one of my first trunk shows at Tabor in Charlotte, NC a woman grabbed a chambray popover shirt of mine and told me that she remembered “Her dad had one just like it” and she had to have it. What I am capturing with Wythe is a sense of soul that comes with beloved garments. Ideally, people see some of my products in a store and pick them up because they know they will be a favorite for years and years to come.
How did your time at Ralph Lauren, in their fabric research department, lead to what you’re doing now?
I learned a ton at RL while I was there. The most important part (besides having a better understanding of how looms and dye houses work) is how Ralph designed a collection. He always starts with the vision and builds the garments from there. When I design a new season at Wythe, I begin with my version of what I watched Ralph do over and over. I start with the feeling I want the collection to have and then begin thinking about the colors and textures, and garments that will concisely convey that feeling.