James Ott

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A pivotal memory in James’ life was in seventh grade when he dragged his parents from the Midwest to New York City to hunt down the best fashion shops. He researched where to go at the library, as there was no Internet, and found himself meeting Anna Sui in her boutique, where she wrote on a postcard to him, “Follow your dream.” He has followed his passions, and is a now a successful fashion designer, but finds himself in the more refined pursuit of the understated chic of Jil Sander and the perfect vintage khaki. James is a college professor when it comes to his style and understanding the history of his industry. His education began back when he recalls his first Vogue, a July ’96 cover of Amber Valletta in a navy blue asymmetrical Calvin Klein dress, and you can see the effect of navy blue and all things eternal, like Amber V, in his own wardrobe. James is a tour de force of cool classicism with his cashmere cardigans, Birkenstocks, and gray flannels, accented by the perfectly rumpled straw hat and oversized and worn messenger bag. In addition to wanting to wear Birkies again with socks for the fall, I found myself so stimulated by James’ room, filled with inspirational tears for his up-and-coming designs. His references had the taste level of a purebred fashion editor who had spent their life editing the trends and understood the value of avoiding them. In one of the pictures, there was a model in a turtleneck worn under a blazer with skirt to the floor – I am taken with how new and now this feels again.