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A Day With...

John Patrick


Now that we have interviewed hundreds of designers, influencers, business people, and more, we decided it would be fun to follow up with those we have admired for so many years. First up is John Patrick who has pioneered a business model based on running a small-scale sustainable collection. Organic is nearly 15 years old and doing better than ever. John has designed a life worth living and delivers a beautiful, consistent product season after season. Here’s a peak into a typical day with John Patrick.
5 AM: I sleep odd hours. I usually wake up and re-read what I was reading before I went to sleep- books are an important part of my schedule.
7 AM TO 10 AM: Depending on where I am will dictate my early hours. Black coffee in a french press if I’m on the east end of Long Island. Black coffee from Stripes if I’m in Marfa. A cappuccino from Murrays if I’m up in Germantown. And a short espresso if I’m in Mexico.
I’m usually off and running my dog kip every morning to give him a great run and some work; he’s a 4 year old border collie and my main focus on a daily basis…he needs a lot of love and attention. Once he’s set I can work with the daily schedule of the deliveries and make sure both the reality and the digital spaces are moving along. I always get an analysis of what’s happening in the retail spaces every morning. Today it was all about piling up cashmeres that have just come in and making sure they speak. Placement of the objects and garments in the spaces are very important to me- I want people to be able to SEE things. If my presentations either in the showrooms or the shops are muddled I think the clients become confused. The more clear and direct the work is presented the easier the day goes. We are known to make a giant mess in the middle of the day and re-merchandise to set it right.
I attend kundalini yoga on a sporadic basis when I am relaxed enough to thoroughly turn off. Summer is hectic because the days are so long and there is just a tremendous amount happening.
11 AM TO 1 PM: My offices are varied and many. I am finished archiving the Organic collections so that office is in storage- the design office took over my farmhouse last year and now is in the process of being moved once again. I have an office now on the east end of Long Island that I am trying to contain, and I just bought a Donald Judd chair in London so it’s already growing. I set up impromptu offices and studios if I’m so inspired by an amazing material or and old manufacturing facility. I currently am doing a hat collection that is all consuming for the COMMUNITIE brand I accidentally launched a few years ago. My Marfa office is amazing because its basically remote; it’s a digital dial-in but from a land line since I am abstaining from a smart phone on this next period of work. So the portable office is actually closed which makes the design studios quieter and more productive since I can actually focus without looking down or across 1000 times daily at messages. A good amount of “office time” is spent focusing on the Organic by John Patrick collection- the shoots- the looks- making sure we are maximizing our core product lines- within the niche niche market we work in.
12:45 TO 2 PM: Lunch in upstate New York usually consists of something from Montgomery Place Farm if it’s summer or fall- otherwise I’ll have quinoa with celery. Ait the beach its always Cavanolas treats- celery salad is a new favorite. A Marfa lunch would be Marfa burrito- anything ramona makes. And at Todos Santos its always ceviche.
2 TO 4 PM: I don’t do set times for meetings usually – I think that is really difficult with the schedule I keep. I prefer very spontaneous meetings that are more efficient and produce results- part of the pure design process I have embraced since 2002 has been to embrace mistakes- say if brown elastic gets used instead of black. Much of my design work is approached from a building stance- it starts with the materials and consistency, the key to my products. I have pure research days where I will examine ideas and very specific intricacies to gain the knowledge of something that I am interested in. Many times it doesn’t directly apply to my own work, but I am consistently interested in learning how other people make things work. Like today I had a meeting with a young oyster farmer, fascinating stuff learning how the oysters actually clean water.
4 PM TO Whenever: My partner Walter is hands-on consumed with all aspects of our work- both the wholesale aspect and growing the retail aspect of the brands. Now that we have ORGANIC and COMMUNITIE mixed together it is very interesting and I never would have imagined that at 56 years old I would still be doing HATS. They were the first product I designed in 1982 for Barneys.
If there was a script for my career it would be very long- I’m fortunate enough that my work has weathered time and a fickle industry- I never set out to invent or re-invent anything- I’ve only done what I like and believe in – if I couldn’t wrap my head around it I didn’t do it, period. And i still don’t, I think it’s why I have been able to work globally and have my products in so many countries, it speaks for itself.
Photo credit William Laird @william.jess.laird

Tags: 90s / Marfa / Organic / slip dress / sustainable

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