meet thecreativespiritsIN OUR NEW OCTOBER COLLECTION
From rising talents in music and dance, to innovators in food and travel, we’re endlessly inspired by their passion for creativity and community. Meet these six unique men, and see how they wear the new October collection.
Justin PeckDANCER & CHOREOGRAPHERThe New York City Ballet’s second-ever resident choreographer has created over 40 ballets and collaborated with all kinds of creatives, from fashion designers to filmmakers. And we can’t wait to see his work in the upcoming on-screen adaptation of West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg…
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Justin in the eco Nordic puffer and Wallace & Barnes carpenter pant
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“I’m lucky in that my job as a choreographer is to bring different creatives together to make a collective, cohesive, artistic experience that takes place on stage.”
Tell us about your earliest creative memory.
JP: My dad was a painter, so I was really inspired by the visual arts. He did these large-scale, imaginative paintings. Seeing color, composition and line on a canvas opened my mind to creative expression. It helped me to see the potential of what that could be, even before I found the right medium to do it.
Is there a collaboration you’re the most proud of?
JP: A ballet I created in 2014 called Everywhere We Go. There was an original design, original music and choreography. It was a collaboration with Sufjan Stevens, NYCB, architect Karl Jensen, Brandon Stirling Baker and Janie Taylor. That to me expressed what collaboration in dance is all about.
Have you seen, read or listened to anything that has moved you lately?
JP: I’ve been inspired by a book called the Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers, and Mike Nichols: A Life by Mark Harris. I also recently enjoyed the PBS documentary Twyla Moves, the film Judas and the Black Messiah and Minari—which felt so nuanced, subtle and poignant.
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Justin in the eco donegal sweater
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Jitu in the Wallace & Barnes Italian wool-cotton suit
Jitu MaatOWNER, HARDWARE 2.0After taking over the family business from his father, Robert, who first opened Brothers Community Hardware in 1989, the skilled artist and urban farmer filled his Prospect Heights shop with plants and eco-friendly products, and most recently came on board for our new NYC graphic tees collab.
“I’m a natural problem solver, so I’m always thinking about who I know and how they can help others in my community. There’s enough space for everyone to grow and succeed.”
How does your shop reflect what matters to you?
JM: Thirty years ago, my dad noticed that there were hardly any Black-owned hardware stores in NYC, so he decided to open his own. For 30 years, my father has served his community by providing jobs, giving back and being a role model as a successful Black businessman, so it’s important for me to continue that legacy.
Where do you feel the most creative, and doing what?
JM: Most of the customers that walk into my store are there with a purpose, they have a problem that needs to be solved. I feel most creative when I’m helping them solve that problem. It’s satisfying to figure out a solution together.
How does your personal style express who you are?
JM: My personal style is an amalgamation of the things I love. There’s influence from my fine art background, skateboarding, construction and botany.
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Jitu in the Hardware 2.0 X J.Crew tee from our NYC graphic tees collab
Ben PundoleHOTELIER & ENTREPRENEURThe founding editor of and former VP of brand experience at Edition Hotels launched an initiative to clear its properties of all single-use plastics, from water bottles to key cards. His new consulting agency, ALARA Hotels, aims to guide more hospitality brands toward a better future.
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Ben in the collared cashmere sweater and Rancourt & Co. X J.Crew beefroll loafers
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Ben in the rustic twill flannel workshirt
“Hospitality is exciting. It’s a people business, and people can be unpredictable. You can’t manage things within an inch of their existence. There are no firm rules. Empower people, and they will thrive!”
Who is your role model?
BP: Chip Conley, a pioneer of ‘conscious hospitality’ and founder of the Modern Elder Academy. A true thought leader and a great human.
How have you been most inspired by your creative community lately?
BP: My creative community are the most inspiring humans. Ruvan [Wijesooriya] made an incredible film with his three-year-old about the Black Lives Matter movement, Giada [Lubomirski] continues to rally for the environment, Manjit [Devgun] launched a beautiful meditation app, Emilie [Fouilloux] gathered a symphony and ballerinas for a small festival to raise funds for the underprivileged, Viv [Bakos] continues to be a pioneer in the fight against single-use plastics with Bye Bye Plastic and Tansy [Kaschak] has taken A Hotel Life in a new direction that highlights more responsible and inclusive travel. My friends are incredible!
What do you think the future of vacation travel looks like?
BP: The future of travel will be more thoughtful. A lot of people’s priorities have changed. Longer trips, more nature, self-care, wellness, kindness and adventure. It’s been a tough 18 months—people want the excitement of travel, of bars, nightlife, restaurants, but they also want to be safe and know that they’re being respectful to the planet.
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Flynn in the Wallace & Barnes corduroy chore jacket and the Wallace & Barnes selvedge officer chino
Flynn McGarryCHEF & OWNER, GEMIt all kicked off at age 11 (seriously) with Eureka, his hometown pop-up supper club in LA. Now, the 22-year-old is two years into serving fine dining with a casual feel at his Lower East Side restaurant. And he’s just getting started…
“The goal in hosting is to always make everything seem effortless. Regardless of how much work goes into a dinner, it should appear easy.”
The last film, book or exhibit you saw that you really connected with?
FM: I saw the Carl Craig exhibit at Dia Beacon. It was the most fun I’ve had in a museum setting.
What do you wear to cook, make, create…?
FM: I’ve been in an all-white theme recently in the kitchen…which is a terrible idea for stains. Usually just a white T-shirt, old white jeans and Birkenstocks®.
Who is your role model?
FM: Yves Saint Laurent.
What’s your favorite recipe right now?
FM: I can’t stop making a tomato salad with nectarines, basil and vadouvan oil.
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Flynn in the Italian wool Ludlow car coat
Sean BennettVIOLINIST & COMPOSERAlso known as “Yozart” (a play on his biggest inspiration), the award-winning musician has always set his own stage, from age 12 on the streets of Philly where he grew up, to today, in NYC’s Penn Station.
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Sean in the rugby crewneck and the garment-dyed chino suit pant
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“The next generation of musicians and dancers will make art that is complex and provocative. We’re in the age of liberation and I believe this is true for everyone, but especially the artist.”
What is your first memory of playing the violin?
SB: When I went to a summer orchestra camp and played second violin in the back of the section. We were rehearsing a piece called “Praeludium and Allegro” by Fritz Kreisler, and the best violin player in the orchestra was the soloist. I remember thinking, “I’m gonna play that solo one day.” To this day, I adore that piece.
What do you wear to perform?
SB: Freedom of movement is very important for concert attire. I always hated to wear a tuxedo or suit because it restricted my movement, which in turn made me more anxious and cerebrally claustrophobic. While I’m open to wearing anything on the stage, it MUST be elegant.
The last film, book or exhibit you saw that you really connected with?
SB: Good Vibrations: The Physics of Music is a great book for aspiring musicians of all levels. I’ve had it on the shelf for a while and just recently discovered the many parallels between humanity and physics. It feels like I’m relearning everything I thought I knew about music!
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Sean in the garment-dyed chino suit and New Balance® X J.Crew 997H sneakers
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Sean in the marled cotton rollneck™ sweater and the Wallace & Barnes indigo-dyed canvas pant
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Dick in the waxed cotton field shirt and the Wallace & Barnes selvedge officer chino
Dick CarrollILLUSTRATORCartoons for menswear enthusiasts? Count us in. The artist’s encyclopedic knowledge of men’s fashion, acute eye for detail and witty narrations never fail to make us laugh, feel nostalgic and get excited to get dressed.
“I innovate by using traditional techniques, but contemporary ideas.”
How does your personal/illustration style express who you are?
DC: I like the history of symbols and stories that can be created with clothing and I try to play with that in my drawings as well. It’s one of my main interests!
The last film, book or exhibit you saw that you really connected with?
DC: David Lowery’s The Green Knight. A fellow cartoonist posted about it and I was in the theater an hour later. I love going into a film totally blind and just riding the wave. It was so beautiful; the story moved in this surreal way. It was a lot like reading an epic poem—confusing and lyrical and poignant all at once.
How do you think the next generation of illustrators will affect creative culture?
DC: I think with the almost total saturation of cameras (on phones), photos have become a little devalued, and I actually think this is a great thing for visual literacy. We will see the next generation being incredibly image savvy, and illustration becomes an interesting tool in that world. I’m excited to see what the future brings!
Follow @jcrewmens
to see the cartoons Dick created specially for us.
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Dick in the Ludlow double-breasted blazer in Italian wool
More stories to explore…
A day in the Upper West Side with Justin Peck, the New York City Ballet’s resident choreographerSee the story
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