Mark McNairy has teamed up with Spiewak to create three jackets for spring 2011. A streamlined design and rugged military details exemplify McNairy's signature heritage stye and Spiewak's tradition of innovation. The jackets are based on classic Spiewak military jackets and are co-branded with McNairy's New Amsterdam label and Spiewak's vintage label. They are all made in America. Spiewak interviewed Mark about his design inspirations, his other projects, and what is on his shopping list for fall 2010.
You have been expanding your Mark McNairy line from shoes into other areas. For spring 2011 you have co-branded 3 jackets with Spiewak. What was the inspiration behind the collaboration?
First of all, I am in a paramilitary mode right now. I went to see Dan Hendricks (Spiewak’s creative director) about doing some jackets for my fall ’11 collection, and it just dawned on me in the showroom to remove all the filling on these classic outerwear pieces, and turn them into spring jackets.
You were the former creative director at J. Press and are presently the creative director for the clothing line Woolrich Woolen Mills. You also have your own line of shoes, Mark McNairy New Amsterdam, as well as Mark McNairy for Bass Weejuns. Where do you draw ideas and inspiration for all your designs?
I would say my style is “smart casual modern traditional Anglo-American sportswear.” My inspiration comes from absolutely everything.
How did you get your start as a designer and what was your first job in the apparel industry?
My first real jobs after college were in apparel sales. I think I really started making things in junior high school. Screen printing rock ‘n’ roll t-shirts in art class and making athletic jerseys when I worked at a sporting goods store after school.
Which designers have most influenced your personal style and your design aesthetic?
Ralph Lauren and Comme des Garcons.
Where in North Carolina did you grow up? How has your Southern upbringing influenced you today?
Grew up in Greensboro, N.C. Vacationed in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Went to school in Wilmington, N.C. Influenced by the whole “shaggin” scene. Madras trousers, Weejuns, white bucks, and oxford button down shirts.
How long have you been a New Yorker? Tell us what you love about living in New York City.
Moved here in 1986. I love NYC. Moved to Atlanta for one year, moved right back, and will never leave again. To me NYC is the center of the world.
What are your favorite places to shop?
Salvation Army and thrift stores.
What are the two most important items every man and woman needs to add to their wardrobe for fall 2010?
A pair of my shoes and a Uniqlo cardigan sweater.
What specific items are on your shopping wish list for fall?
Uniqlo cardigans and Hanes 3-pack white t-shirts.
Do your travels influence your designs? What were your best and worst travel experiences? Do you have any exciting upcoming trips?
Of course everything I do influences what I make. No experience is bad. I need a vacation.
For Mark's sake, we hope he gets a vacation. But secretly we're happy he's been so working hard at designing his amazing clothes and shoes. www.markmcnairy.com