Jack Manson - Bridging History with Fashion
Written by Shariah Green
The one thing I envy most about celebrities is that they usually have someone designated to manage a personal headache I deal with every morning...which is getting dressed!! I don’t know about you but I can be the most indecisive person when it comes to finding an outfit for work or special occasion. Therefore, a personal stylist would be awesome to help pull my idea of style together. But, for Jack Manson its likely a breeze, because not only does he have great taste himself, Jack is also the guy behind some of your favorite celebrity looks.
Jack is most known for his work with, Jamie Foxx, an American actor, singer/songwriter, and comedian. Although he spent 25 years in the medical industry, Jack Manson has always identified himself as a creative; which is not unlikely coming from a family history deeply rooted in the arts and medical field.
Because of his success as a personal stylist for Jamie Foxx, Jack was inspired to create two clothing brand lines, GRVL and Jack Manson. “My inspiration behind both of them was creating a lifestyle apparel line that sort of fits every occasion.” GRVL is an urban street wear line that creates contemporary pieces inspired by the history of designers mixed with the eclectic culture of today. What I personally love is that the clothes in this line offer a mini history lesson on what you’re wearing. For example, did you know that the hooded sweatshirt was first produced in the United States starting in the 1930s? The modern clothing style was first produced by Champion in the 1930s and marketed to laborers working in freezing temperatures in upstate New York. I didn’t know this until seeing one of GRVL’s jogger sets which dropped the gem of origin on the side of the hood. Therefore, bringing awareness of a fashion trend that became popular only 89 years ago!
For Jack, “applied knowledge is power” and he’s proving it through everlasting success!
Shariah: What led you to the fashion Industry?
Jack Manson: I have been a long time fan of clothes since I was a child. From Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, who had his flagship store down the street from my high school, in Washington DC back in the 70’s. And, that was sort of like the beginning of it. As I got older, I went to work for the New Orleans Hornets and sort of found my style from hanging around some of the basketball players. Then given the opportunity with Jamie Foxx, after being his personal trainer, he asked me to become his stylist. So, I fell more and more in love with the idea of fashion, design and style.
Shariah: Wow, wait! So, let’s get this right. You started off as a personal trainer and it led you to being a stylist?
Jack Manson: (Chuckles) Yes. I actually have a degree and certification as a Physician Assistant and have practiced medicine for over 25 years.
Shariah: Well, you have an amazing background and it sounds like you can offer different levels of intellect to anyone you deal with. But, for the fashion industry what skill sets do you believe are important to be successful in the fashion industry?
Jack Manson: Well, I think you should have a hold on the culture. What’s actually trending as well as being well rooted in what you believe to be fashion or style. And, everyone has a different take on it. I think you have to have a great team of support. Everyone from God, family, to your friends. As well as a very, very good clientele base that really appreciates your work.
Shariah: Speaking of trends...are there any trends that you’re seeing in the industry that is an absolute no in your eyes? Regardless of what everyone thinks.
Jack Manson: That’s actually a really good question! You know, there really isn’t at this time. I would say, you know, when we were growing up, I believed that there was some absolute no, no’s. For example you couldn’t mix plaid on plaid or polka dots with lines or something like that. But you find now people really pushing the envelope and the limits of patterns, colors, sizing and everything else. I think that it's great! I don’t really see any faux pas in the fashion. With the exception that it may not fit your style.
Shariah: So you’ve shared your journey in your career. Now tell us a bit about your new clothing lines. You have a suit line and an athletic wear line. What inspired the designs?
Jack Manson: I just believe that the male should have or people in general. But, because I’m particular about designing for males; I believe that men should have clothing for basically every occasion. So my inspiration was looking at the man from his everyday life. From what he does on a Saturday morning, when he wakes up and goes out to play ball with his boys, to hanging out in the club and to actually having the business meeting he has to go to, where the suiting comes in. As well as the formal events you may have to attend. So, that was big for me. That was big for my dad and my uncle when we were growing up. Their thing was to make sure you have the right clothes for every occasion. So, that was sort of my inspiration behind both of them - creating a lifestyle apparel line that sort of fits every occasion.
Shariah: Not to force you to pick favorites, but is there a celebrity that you’ve enjoyed styling the most?
Jack Manson: You know, I would have to say it would be Jamie. I really enjoy styling him. When we hit it, we hit it. You know, we try to nail it. It’s a give and take. So there’s things that I like that I’d wear because of my personality, and he might not wear because of his personality. But, because we have a good relationship we can find a happy medium where we create the look that I know would look great on him and he feels comfortable wearing.
Shariah: What is your greatest strength and how has it helped you in this industry?
Jack Manson: My greatest strength is actually patience. because I know that embarking on this journey - particularly since it's been such a career shift that everything doesn’t come overnight. It doesn't come in months. Sometimes it take years. In this case I’ve basically been following this journey for about nine years. I’m close to my 10,000 hours. So it's starting to manifest. So, I think that it's sort of where I’m going.
Shariah: Where can we find your clothes?
Jack Manson: Well right now you can find GRVL (Gravel) at www.grvl.fashion and we’re online. In a few weeks you’ll be able to find Jack Manson (suit line) online at jackmanson.net and within in a few months the goal is to be in a few stores.
Shariah: What is one thing we wouldn’t know about your brand that we cannot learn from the web?
Jack Manson: Well, I think that the two brands are a true reflection of who I am and what my life has been. And a part of it has been very artistic. My grandmother was a well-known artist from the Harlem Renaissance and my grandfather was a Podiatrist. So, I have taken these two brands and really tried to keep them separate, but also share a part of my life. The GRVL brand is more street, more artistic with some sophistication. Where the Jack Manson line is actually the intellectual side of me, where I try to bring history and fashion together. What I mean by history is that I believe all garments from dresses and a-line dresses that come in all different types. To men’s wear from slacks and pants; to sweat suits and joggers, all started from some original point and from that we’ve built fashion off of it. So, I like to give homage to those people, designers, inventors or creators that have brought the original pieces to us and then I’m putting a spin on it by adding my own touch.