A little retrospective essay on how my current collection came about....
Some phantoms haunt us for a lifetime. The moans and shrieks ever present, yet dwindling in volume as the sand shuffles down the funnel. The photo pictured above was "OC Day" (OC is pepper spray, fyi. It smells like hot sauce and burns your eyeballs like the flames of hell ) during the police academy. It was a grueling 7 month program that allowed me to bond in some of the most unlikely situations, with 29 other law enforcement hopefuls. I had been living with my father as I went through the academy, to save money and get my own place once I graduated.
A dewy afternoon in November of 2014 changed it all for me. Due to current legal implications, i'm unable to discuss details of what happened ( I could write a book on the corruption of work injuries and shortfalls in concussion treatment) ; But in short, I suffered from a concussion roughly two months before graduation. What followed was a string of symptoms including confusion, light sensitivity, depression, panic attacks, and insomnia. For a month straight I was forced to sit in a dark room. I woke up one day and decided to teach myself how to sew again. It was a cognitive struggle, as simple tasks caused the most outrageous migraines, but I needed something to hold on to my sanity. My career that I literally bled and sweat for had been taken from me. It was the first of many losses...
The months of recovery that followed were rough to say the least. I came home one day and found my father unresponsive from heart failure. We just had breakfast together that morning. I remember punching a door when the paramedics pronounced him dead and breaking my right hand. Being the oldest heir, I was thus responsible for handling his estate, with my concussion symptoms in tow and a broken hand to boot. He had no will, he had no life insurance. It was also revealed that the home we lived in was under foreclosure and I would be homeless.
A very dear friend ( I would have drowned without her) of mine allowed me to stay with her while I dealt with the estate and recovered. It was a very dark time for me, but with her encouragement I realized I had been living a life driven out of fear. Fear of Failure. Fear that what I loved could not be a vocation. I considered myself a menswear enthusiast, but never thought it could be a career outside of slinging suits on a sales floor. Something clicked where I realized I had nothing to lose. I didn't give a shit about fear anymore. I was numb.
My hand finally healed. I gathered myself together and decided to write letters to a few guys in the industry to inquire about potential jobs as an assistant designer and get advice on ties i'd been sewing. Almost all were insightful visits ( I got to meet the legendary Agyesh Madan, of ISAIA fame, who was doing trunk shows for his Stoffa brand ) Inspiring would be an understatement. Greg Lellouche of NMWA (one of the few remaining retailers willing to showcase curated indie brands and not push their own label alongside ) who was an absolute gentleman, as well as a few others. In conclusion, there still weren't any jobs available.
Discouraged, I went back home to regroup and determine whether my dream was realistic. I also pulled my sketchbooks out of storage and started to do more extensive research on textiles. I reached out to local companies and brands and still couldn't find a job. I decided if I were going to design for someone, it would be myself.
Fast forward a few months and I was finally able to secure a printing mill who was willing to give me a shot. I began teaching myself graphic design. I eventually scrounged up money I had saved to fund my first collection. X(Ten) Of Pentacles was born. Some of the first hand sketches I did, in my friends kitchen, evolved into my first pocket square collection. There was nothing more gratifying than turning a vision into a tangible product (the meaning behind my logo). I couldn't be more excited to see what 2017 has in store.
In closing, I didn't write this in hopes for sympathy. I wrote this to show that everyone, everything, has a story. My pocket squares are playful, simple, and of a sartorial spirit; But bet your ass there was one hell of a story behind how they ended up in your pocket. We all come from different walks of life, and sometimes it takes having your (figurative) legs broken, in order to take a new path. Be sure that eventually there is a light at the end in pursuing your passion. As we used to shout in cadence during the academy "Start Strong, Finish Stronger". Huge thanks to every individual I met along the way who helped me and those that support me as an independent designer/brand.
So mote it be,