Interview with JC Donaldson - Founder of Being Dapper (Part 3)
Posted by B.ROHLOFF
Join us for Part 3 of our interview with Phoenix Fashion Week Finalist and Founder of the men's fashion brand - Being Dapper.
Brandon Rohloff (B.R.): For these last couple questions, let's try to make them a little more fun, a little more lighter for everyone. Let's start with an easy one - do you know any good jokes? Any fashion jokes you can share with us?
JC Donaldson (JC): You know the word "in-tents", right?
B.R.: Intense? What am I hearing here?
JC: Yeah, "in-tents".
B.R.: Oh, in, tents - I got ya! "How was it going camping? It was IN-tents!" Haha, I get it.
JC: That's a funny one from my friend, Billy. Unfortunately, he won't be there but I know he wanted to be there to support me on Friday. He's busy traveling with the company, so he can't make it.
B.R.: Is your mom going to be able to make it?
JC: Oh yeah. My mom, my sister, my brother-in-law, even my 1-year old niece - she won't be at the show but she'll be in Phoenix cheering me on. Also my cousin and my dad, and a lot of the family will be watching the live stream that Cox is broadcasting. My father has 14 brothers and sisters - there was 15, but we unfortunately lost an aunt.
B.R.: I'm sorry for the loss, but still - 14?! That's a huge family and you can't go wrong with that, there's gotta be a lot of love and support going on there.
JC: A lot of love, a lot of love. I'm just trying to make them proud.
B.R.: I know you're a big fan of Ralph Lauren, but if you could work with any current designer or model - who would you pick?
JC: Model, I don't know. Designers, I would definitely like to work with Tom Ford. He's like me, he didn't go to school for fashion design but he understood the aesthetics, he just understands it. His designs are a lot like a building, his degree was in architecture and he applies that now to his design. He's a modernist, me - same thing, I'd love to work with him. Ralph Lauren is awesome, but I think Tom Ford is more modern progressive.
B.R.: And that fits more along with where you'd like to see your brand. Taking the dapper prohibition era and making it modern.
JC: You had said model, I wouldn't want to work with a model necessarily, but an actor. Two come to mind right away, Idris Elba and Ryan Gosling - they're incredible. When Idris wears suits and top coats, he just kills it and I mean he looks fantastic. He has that confidence that bestows upon the clothes that he wears. Same thing as Gosling - he kills it. For a 3rd model/actor, I'd go with Henry Cavill. One of my 'cool' movies that I like is The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the new one.
B.R.: Next question - are you a dog or a cat person?
JC: I'm a dog person.
B.R.: Nice, do you have a dog?
JC: I do not. I would love to have one but I just don't have a big enough backyard right now, but hopefully next year we can change that.
B.R.: You're on the up-and-up, so I hope so, too.
B.R.: What are your plans for celebration, if you take home the title "Designer of the Year"? Do you have anything already set up?
JC: No, I don't think I'd do anything. If I took home the title, I'd really just want to dig into the prize and gain more knowledge. I want to gain more knowledge and go deeper into the rabbit hole, so I can actually scale my business how I want. Knowledge is power.
B.R.: Alright, so this is more of a stepping stone for you? One with a title, but one in the right direction?
JC: For sure, if you get a chance to speak with other designers and inspire them to not give up - it's just cool getting to be a part of that. The other designers here were very helpful just by telling me what they've been through, and I'd love to tell them my experience. My fails and my shortcomings, and obviously how to be better.
JC: They say during the PFW that you have boot camp forever, so I'm actually working on Boot Camp 2.0. Taking those best practices, laser focus on them, and apply those to my own brand and strategy.
B.R.: It's obviously a big honor for anyone to be a finalist for the PFW, but you do look a little young. Be honest, how old are you?
JC: 33 years young.
B.R.: 33?! Nice, you're look really good. Do you know how your age compares to your competition?
JC: It varies. I know some are in their 20s and some beyond that. As for my competition, they're much more mature because I'm in more of a mature category.
B.R.: That's true, contemporary is a bit mature.
JC: 25 and 30 year old people don't really go there.
B.R.: Ya, contemporary isn't always their first dress idea or spot when looking for clothes.
JC: And that's okay, the norm for mid 20s to mid 30s is going to be streetwear. Maybe I'm insane or crazy, but I wanted to get contemporary a shot.
B.R.: I think it's worth it. People want to represent themselves better as we progress towards the future, especially when you have world leaders not representing us or themselves as well as they could be - we'll need to take it upon ourselves to do so.
B.R.: What is your favorite color and is it your favorite color to work with?
JC: Yes, blue - royal navy blue. You'll see a few main colors during the show, royal navy, white, gray, and black. It's common theme and you'll see it during the show. I just think those colors are minimalist, cool, they calm you down, and they just look really nice and clean.
B.R.: That's true, those colors should even themselves out nicely during the show.
B.R.: What is your most favorite and least favorite men's fashion item?
JC: Oh, man, you hit me with a good one. My most favorite is a watch.
B.R.: A watch? Okay, I can feel that, it's easy to accessorize with all the different designs and colors.
JC: You can also put them in good styling, you'll see me wearing a pocket watch during the show. I think the pocket watch is classic. A timepiece for a man is very important. That extra accessory can set you apart by showing you're really on top of your day. It's not for everybody but depending on what you're doing, you should have a good timepiece.
JC: As for least favorite, the cummerbund.
B.R.: The cummerbund?! Haha
JC: Haha, yeah! I hate those! They're weird!
B.R.: There isn't much of a use for them and they are kind of awkward. I was not expecting the cummerbund to be your pick.
JC: Oh yeah, I'm like, "I don't want that. I'm okay, I'm alright just give me the vest, I can do that.
B.R.: Our last question is - when you're stuck in a creative funk, what is your go-to for getting out of it?
JC: My go-to is taking a drive, going to a fashionable event or going to one of my favorite stores or anything to just get re-inspired. I think that's what it is, just taking that drive and seeing what else is out there. My second go-to is Pinterest.
B.R.: Oh, Pinterest is definitely loaded.
JC: I love Pinterest! You can put in anything crazy, like 'crazy color combinations with gray' and you'd be surprised by what you'd see. You just gotta get out there and see what people are wearing, you might see a color combination you've never thought of.
B.R.: And that's it - any last words you'd like to say for our listeners/readers?
JC: Just thank you for having me and I really hope everyone likes my collection. For everyone else - don't give up on your dreams! It might take time, but Rome wasn't built over night and neither will you.
B.R.: Thank you, JC! Have yourself a good night and good luck with the PFW competition.