John Elliott Tells a Military Tale in Unique Fabrics to Update Core Pieces for Men’s Spring 2025

John Elliott credits his uncle with getting him started on the road to becoming a fashion designer.

“His closet was my impetus to fashion,” he said.

Elliott said when he was a boy, he was at his uncle’s house playing wiffle ball when the ball was lost. His uncle sent the young man into his closet to grab a replacement and it was there that he saw all the souvenirs the man had gathered during his time fighting in the Vietnam War. “It was a paradigm shift moment for me,” Elliott recalled. And something he’ll never forget.

But rather than just replicating the looks, he sought to put his own personal mark on the pieces he found in that closet.

So it’s no surprise that there have long been military references in John Elliott’s collections. And the spring 2025 line is no exception.

“For me, it always starts with the fabric,” he said, pointing to a military-inspired herringbone from Japan with a “beautifully textured feel” that is reminiscent of World War II uniforms. “I wanted to make it modern and playful,” Elliott said. “If I was in basic training, what would I run in? So I created military herringbone running shorts.” He also used the fabric in outerwear and heavy shirts that could serve as transitional pieces.  

For his denim offering — a hallmark of the John Elliott line — he sought to “push it a little bit” by using a vintage selvedge denim, also from Japan, that he turned inside-out and printed with blooming indigo flowers. Because each piece is created by hand, no two are alike. “It’s very artisanal but wearable,” he said, “and it shows how far we can push denim.”

Leather also made an appearance in the spring line, ranging from suede and calf hides to horse that he used in classic silhouettes such as western-inspired overshirts and bomber jackets.

Elliott created a custom three-dimensional textured plaid with varying yarn levels that resulted in a slubby texture. He applied the plaid to an anorak-style pullover as well as shorts. He also created mohair sweaters with bright stripes.

The designer, who opted against doing a runway show this season but didn’t rule out returning to the catwalk in the future, said he showed the line to retailers in Paris and Milan during men’s fashion weeks there and the reaction was strong. “We did well with the line at wholesale,” he said.

Most of the retail accounts opted for his core pieces, he said, while his online sales tend to be more commodity-based. But at his five flagships, it’s the fashion pieces that do the best. “Those customers want to see what’s new, they want to touch and feel it — and they want a story.”

And that story will come easily to Elliott this season — he can just tell them about his uncle, the Vietnam veteran.

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