Pressing Questions

The Gilt MAN Q&A: Alexander Olch

We caught up with our favorite Harvard-educated cineaste tiemaker amid the throngs at Art Basel to talk about his eureka moment.

It makes sense that Alexander Olch would pull up stakes for a few days to hit Miami’s favorite international art show in this weekend. The gentleman behind a new generation of men embracing the power of a well-made tie is also a respected filmmaker, after all. Since we’ve got a lineup of his neckwear and accessories on sale now on Gilt MAN, we decided to hunt him down for a quick chat. Luckily, despite a hectic schedule, he obliged. We grabbed a few moments of his time just after his plane touched down in the Sunshine State.

So what are you up to in Florida?
I’ve been coming down to Art Basel Miami for about five years now. It’s become a tradition with my friends. And we’re also proud to debut our collection at The Webster.

What are you looking forward to seeing?
There is an unusual crowd that attends here—its intersection with the fashion community can be interesting to look at.

And what are you wearing while you’re at it?
In Miami? I’ll be wearing a few Fall 2011, and maybe even a few new Spring 2012 samples… product testing.

Speaking of which… we’ve been huge fans from the get go, and we love the newer stuff as well. How have you evolved over time? Anything that hasn’t changed?
Our collection over the years has evolved in its growth and scope—from neckties, then bows, then suspenders, and now scarves, and our special edition notebooks. But we continue to make everything by hand in our same factory in Brooklyn. Our labels have always said Hand Made New York, and I have no plans to ever change that.

You’re also a filmmaker, and we can’t help but wonder if you have a character in mind when you are designing specific pieces…
I used to try and design for characters, other people, imagined customers, and I was never happy with the results. It was only when I stopped that, and said to myself I’m just going to design some pieces for me, and if no one likes them, then I’ll at least have a nice set of samples I can wear—it was only then that something clicked and the product worked. That was the collection that debuted at Bergdorf in Fall 2007. Since then, I’ve stuck to the simple plan: I design things that I want to wear.

Alexander Olch, on sale now at Gilt MAN.

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