Today we’d like to introduce you to JJ Collier.
Thanks for sharing your story with us JJ. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a former pro snowboarder who dreamt of being an apparel designer. While still on tour in the late 90’s, I bought a sewing machine and started making garments. Over the past 20 years since, I have gone on to lead design teams at Ralph Lauren, Spyder, and other top technical and lifestyle brands. Today, I drive design direction for Triple Aught Design and other brands; guiding their narrative through product, consumer engagement, and the holistic mission of modern apparel design and development…nearly all of it rooted in authentic mountain experience.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I was an athlete, brands weren’t looking to their pros for design the way they do now, so I didn’t get the voice I wanted to provide ideas to my apparel sponsors. I had to leave the sport as an athlete and come back as a designer…
Later, designing, choosing fabric, cutting the pattern, and constructing a wedding dress (and all the bridesmaid’s dresses) single-handedly, on a home sewing machine, as a self-taught designer remains one of the most stressful things in my career (and that was in the first year!). I’ve had stressful moments since, but that was a big one.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Collier Brands, LLC story. Tell us more about the business.
Specialty: Whether leading an in-house team or consulting, I am known for rich storytelling on the front end of a seasonal collection, then providing compelling design that combines the seasonal concepts with timeless design and often-brand-new solutions for elevated function.
Proud: I am the most proud of the opportunities I’ve been able to create for others. I was given an unbelievable opportunity once and, when I see great talent, I pay that forward.
Apart: The range of technical expertise paired with classical tailoring experience makes collierbrands different from other apparel design consultants. From base layer to a tailored jacket to a 3-layer Gore-Tex shell, I’ve designed them (and sometimes combined them).
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
My first job at Salomon definitely included a bit of luck. I was an ex-pro athlete and self-taught designer just getting started. Salomon had not successfully been able to find the narrative for their new apparel collection and my name came up…athlete with long end-user in technical apparel, but with a sense for modern fashion. They could have called anyone, but I got a shot at the title. I showed the team at Salomon a fresh point of view and was, by some miracle, offered an opportunity others would kill for. I have never forgotten that and I’ve worked hard every day to pay respect to that opportunity and to try to create those for others too.
- Website: collierbrands.com
- Instagram: collierbrands