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TIM HAMILTON

Posted on | February 13, 2008 |

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An Interview with the Iowa born, New York based designer. Tim Hamilton discusses his inspiration, his love for travel, his dogs and even name drops Thom Browne. Tim’s resort collection is currently avaliable at Bergdorf Goodman’s and he has been invited to design a capsule collection for the fashionable Japanese mega chain, Uniqlo. By Kyle Morrison.

Who is the Tim Hamilton customer?
The brand customer is someone who understands quality, forward design, and longevity.Why did you decide to start your own brand?I was tired of corporate rules. I was tired of big American corporations deciding how men should dress. I also felt American menswear hasn’t produced anything interesting in the last two decades.

It seems that if you ask any stylish man these days who their style icons are you get a list of classic icons like Frank Sinatra and James Dean. Do you have any modern style icons?
Not really. Mainly just my friends and travels. I try not to be too conceptual or rely heavy on the past. Why do something that’s been done already? I feel it’s too contrived when a designer does that.

What is your design process? Where do you take inspiration from?
I try to have a simple approach; I work with fabric first, and then drop it into the design. Sounds crazy, but most of the designs come from instinct and what’s going on in the current state of the world.

I understand you are a pretty small operation doing most of the work yourself, from handling the PR to the sales. Why did you decide to take this approach?
Mostly because of financial reasons, but it does give you that brand control that’s crucial in the beginning.

What made you decide to do a resort collection this year?
It was a request from Bergdorf’s. Stores prefer to have full retail items on the floor all year long. I don’t mind doing them because I think it’s refreshing to have a floor change.

What’s your trick for keeping your oxford shoes in good condition, if you want to go sock-less this summer.
Ask Thom Browne. I stopped wearing them. Haha!

A lot of men I know have a ‘no sandals rule’. When do you think sandals are appropriate?
I agree in city life it can be a little dirty but I if it’s done in a chic way I think it works.

Tell me about the long johns you’re doing.
I liked the idea of doing a sleepwear item in a high-end sportswear way.

You’re sold at uptown stores like Bergdorf’s, and hip downtown stores such as Odin. What commonalities make both these types of stores a good fit for your line?
Honestly, since this is still new to me, Bergdorf’s opened up a lot of doors. I don’t really like the word hip because it’s used in such a liberal fad way. I think Odin is great for a casual men’s store but I think my brand has outgrown it in that sense, so I will not be selling to them S/S08 onward. At my price point, I will be at designer level boutiques such as IF SOHO and Jeffrey NY. I will say my line has a lot of crossover in different age groups, which is refreshing.

Tell me about some of your favorite things right now. What is really doing it for you?
Paris. I’m on my way there tomorrow to show my A/W 08 line. Travel is important to me. I’m excited for a change in America with the election coming up. My dogs right now are the only ones who give me balance because of their routine. I think my A/W 08 line is my most ambitious project yet. I added a collection of high end hand tailoring. I hope it gets the response I’m looking for.

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