James Gilchrist Interview
At 32 years old, Scotsman James Gilchrist has been developing the Adam Kimmel brand from behind the scenes as its CEO – leading the company in major business decisions to take it to where it is today; one of the most respected menswear brands to emerge in the last decade. Recently, Kyrk from Très Bien got the chance to sit down with James, where he shared a fascinating insight into the label and its exciting plans for the future. Read an extract of the interview below and check out the whole piece here.
What brings you back to Scotland?
My sister is getting married.
When was the last time you were here?
Two years ago. My parents live in London now so that is where I spend most of my time when coming back to the UK. So I do not get to come home to Scotland as often as I would like.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got involved with Adam Kimmel, and your role within the brand?
I met Adam in Paris in 2004 when I was a buyer and he was showing Fall / Winter 2005 in a hotel room at l’Hotel. I think I placed one of his first orders…At this point he was selling the line and doing everything on his own. We then got to know each other a bit better over the next two or three seasons buying appointments and I heard that he was looking for someone to help manage his business so he could focus on designing.
From the first time I met Adam and saw the collection I saw something that really appealed to me: beautifully made; creative yet totally masculine designer clothes for men. Not a very common thing! So I sent him a message saying I was interested in working for him and that was it really. From the beginning my main role has been to develop and grow the brand. That is still very much the case. As such I am involved in one way or another in almost every part of the company both creative and commercial.
Do you feel that being European has been important for helping to ‘translate’ what is essentially an All-American product to the wider world?
I have not ever really thought about that to be honest… Maybe it has…Europe and Asia are our biggest markets and I think that happened organically. Adam has sophisticated taste that I think these markets really appreciate. Also, even though the product can be described as ‘All-American’ it is made in Italy and has an understated elegance to it that I do not associate as ‘All-American’.
With so much of Adam Kimmel’s popularity in Japan, do you try to ‘alter’ the product in any way, to make it more appealing to the Japanese, or any other market?
We never do this. Other than offering smaller sizes for Asia every product is designed in New York under Adams direction. Each season he decides what he wants to do without thinking about market demands and it all starts from there.