It’s a great time to be in the high-end sweatpants business

Despite the once-in-a-lifetime economic uncertainty—and gloomy retail forecast—caused by the coronavirus, John Elliott feeling hopeful. Excited, even. Maybe it’s that the designer is quarantined in sunny Los Angeles with his wife and newborn daughter, or that Elliott is partly known for his hygge sweat, the one product category that has grown as people hunker down to work from home. But beyond that, Elliott has a sneaking suspicion that this disruptive moment may actually be the crossroads the fashion world didn’t know it needed—an opportunity to break out of a very crooked rut. The designer and business owner believes that this moment could ultimately be a positive time for the fashion industry, a time for consumers to rethink what they want from their clothing purchases and for brands to rethink what they stand for.

“I think people will come out of this with a deeper knowledge of what their interests really are,” the LA-based designer said last week. “When you have that, you want less sheep, you want less people glued to pop and celebrity culture. It pushes brands to focus more on creating a product that matters, and it’s been something, we have always tried to do.”

We spoke to Elliott about what his life looks like in this hectic moment (equal parts driving and researching Miuccia Prada), how it’s made him rethink the way he operates, and what changes he thinks we can expect from his brand and fashion. the industry as a whole.

First of all: How is your quarantine life?
I’m at home in Los Angeles and I’m fortunate to spend time with my five-month-old daughter, Reece, and my wife, Rochelle. I also spend time, frankly, running our business, which is still as busy as it was before quarantine. When I have downtime, I’ve been researching and investigating life for Miuccia Prada– her art collection, who she is as a person, her personality and level of taste. She is one of the leading legends in our industry. Truly a fascinating person.

I also try to go on day trips. On Saturday we took a hike outside of Oxnard that was a nice respite from quarantine. I still run every day, but not as far as I’d like. I would like to tell GQ I run five kilometers a day, but in reality it’s probably three and a half. There’s a little loop I’m making. At this point eight weeks have passed and I have a routine.

How are you these days?
I feel the opportunity is now greater than ever, especially for a brand like ours, and I am very optimistic about the future. I believe this will actually instill values ​​in our society similar to the values ​​my grandmother had who lived through the Great Depression. Looking for quality. Really buy into something that represents your personality. I think right now is a time when people want a heightened sense of self-discovery.

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