What made you want to start Otis James Nashville?
Starting this company came out of a desire to create connection, both for me personally and to anyone else interested in having a stronger connection to the source of products. I had just finished a big solo bicycle trip around the country, and I moved to Nashville with the desire to make custom clothing. I quickly got sidetracked into accessories, but I'm happy to stay there for a while. Basically, my initial idea was to have a business where the name reflects the source, where you can make a call or email and speak directly with the person who made or designed the product, and where you can physically see the scope of the operation and understand at least some of the work that goes into creation.
What are your current design influences?
I'm kind of a filter feeder. I don't actively seek inspiration too often, but I may find ideas from films, paintings, or photography. To be honest, much of what I am pursuing now are ideas that I wrote down 5 or 6 years ago, ideas that I just didn't have the time, skill, or resources to pursue at the time. A lot of them came from my time traveling.
Name four key words that describe your aesthetic.
Simple. Textured. Subdued. Natural.
Is there one design that you're particularly proud of? That says what you're all about?
In general, I'm most proud of the cap designs. They have required the most work and revision, and a lot of skilled labor goes into the construction of each one. Specifically, at the moment I am particularly proud of my latest style, which is an ivy cap. It's something I've been developing off and on for a couple years now. I'd done many iterations, but nothing that really satisfied me. I'm very pleased to finally have this in my catalog.
What is it like to be a Creative in Nashville?
For the most part, being a creative here has been invigorating. I remember distinctly how welcoming and encouraging this city was when I got started 6 years ago. With all the attention the city has received of late, there have been many opportunities afforded someone like me. It's something for which I am very grateful.