I met Gregory Allen the way I meet a lot of people, through friends of mine. As it turns out we have a lot of friends in common and yet I had no idea he was a designer. I guess that’s not an appropriate introductory statement. “Nicole, meet Greg he’s a fabulous designer” clearly not what my friends thought I needed to know; as that is totally not how we were introduced. Clearly I need to educate some of my friends on how to introduce me to exceptional people. I should forgive them considering the introduction was made a couple of years ago and I wasn’t blogging then. I happen to think they should have told me anyway. (You can’t win with me)
Flash forward to a few months ago I’m sitting in the chair getting my hair done and in walks Greg by this time I know that he’s a designer and I’m a fan so naturally I ask him if he’d be willing to be interviewed. Something that he is no stranger to as I had just a month before read an article on him in the Toronto Star. I figured that he would be a great first interview for the Out of the Box section of my blog, luckily he agreed.
As you will see he’s an inspiration to anyone growing up in tough circumstances and is a true testament and example of the phrase “it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re going”.
How did you become a Designer?
I guess it started with my collection of sneakers and matching baseball hats from there I graduated to everything Polo. Later a co-op stint in high school gave me a chance to work with TBG (Two Black Guys) an urban clothing line established by a couple of guys who went on to achieve success in Canada, the U.S. and Internationally. Later I worked as an apprentice with TCT (Trend Custom Tailors). I learned a lot about the fashion business and bespoke tailoring.
Favourite fashion saying?
It sounds like a cliché but very simply ‘Be Yourself’, I subscribe to the philosophy … look to the competition not as a follower but what part of the market is not being served and how you can create your own niche.
Ralph Lauren. Timeless.
Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter?
Fall/Winter. I believe you have more options.
Why is design important to the Fashion Industry or just as a whole?
Ultimately, design differentiates your product offering from the next and provides you with a competitive edge.
Gregory Allen Collection Bowties
How would you define your own personal style?
A unique style combining street wear, casual chic and bespoke tailoring; for example
I’ll design a shirt with swanky checks and prints and rock it with my jeans, chuck taylors and a blazer. Depending on the event, I’ll rock an eclectic and hip bow tie from my new accessories collection.
Who is your style icon?
One of my style icons would be Andre 3000. Aside from his gimmicky outfits, he has a cool and eclectic vibe going on.
Name a look that you wish they would bring back?
Fashion is one big cycle. This season is all about what you want and how you wear it. Most importantly, it’s about putting your own spin on it and making it your own. For me it’s about tricking out the classics to create hip, swanky shirts and bow ties. It’s all about the details for me.
So tell me about some of your experiences as a Designer, who have been some of your favourite clients to work with?
My clients range from the retailers/buyers to the end consumer. At the moment, this one particular customer stands out. A new customer had contacted me to tell me he wanted to purchase a bow tie after having read about me in the paper. What happened after that is pretty funny – He purchased a bow tie. He left my store went into a convenience store not realizing at the time the bow tie fell onto the street. Shortly after he realized the bow tie was missing, only to witness a car running over it. He ran to pick it up. The bow tie wasn’t completely ruined just the clip part was broken. He called me and asked if I could fix it. I wasn’t sure what I could do but I was able to fix it. It was just like brand new. He was so happy, he came to pick up his bow tie to wear to a wedding and I’m still waiting for the pics.
LG Toronto Fashion Week 2009 Gots Style featuring Gregory Allen
Gregory Allen Collection Dress Shirts
Gregory Allen home Furnishings
With Gregory branching out into all avenues of design we can be certain that we will only continue to hear more great things from this dynamic designer. You can find out more about Gregory and his company at www.gregoryallencompany.com
also check out his fan page on facebook.
(photos courtesy Gregory Allen)