Artist’s Den: ‘title of work’

With a scattered skyline still under construction, fog masking the familiar landmarks and a case of the mid-day doldrums, the city almost seems serene as opposed to its normal frenetic pace. From his penthouse design studio in Chelsea, Jonathan Meizler straddles the line between art and commerce with ‘title of work‘. Launched in Fall 2011, the men’s accessories brand is an amalgamate of perspectives, bridging concepts of fashion, art, industrial design, and architecture and using a 2.5″ wide by 58″ long piece of fabric as a canvas. “It was important for me to create ‘title of work’ with a specific identity and a finely curated point of view to tell a complete story” says Meizler. And he’s done just that. Opening to critical acclaim, he’s continued to push the envelope with his next release ‘Beauty in Decay‘, exploring elements of decomposition via chemical processes in both biological and man-made deterioration.

“I am profoundly drawn to the artistry of decompostion, both in nature and that brought on by us. I chose to design and recreate certain procedures within this collection.”

And with each collection more involved than the last, I sat down with Meizler to traverse his influences, particularly his creative space. We started with his personal office. With trinkets from his travels abroad and a bustling city at his feet, inspiration is constant–and sometimes overwhelming. “As a designer, I work so much in my head and with a lot ideas bouncing around I need this minimalism–white walls, open space, lots of light– to declutter and help me sort through those thoughts. It’s great to have a place that I can come to and just breathe. I find clarity here. That helps me a great deal creatively.”

We then took a walk through the showroom that doubles as a work space, establishing a balance between functionality and comfort. All fabrication is done in-house, in addition to operational tasks, packaging, and marketing, essentially all of the busy work that goes into managing a brand. Yet the transitions are seamless and eerily calming. “I modeled the layout after an art gallery. I wanted to capture that serenity of being able to walk through and experience an exhibit.” And each season has been a collection of art. Eclectic and intricate beading, compelling fabric combinations, and a blend of dark humor and dramatic themes show the range of Meizler’s philosophy. “I think it’s a culmination of history and cultures that sets the stage for progressive and ambitious design. I don’t want to simply do ‘Americana with a twist’ or rework an old palette and fabric mix.”

And how does he stay competitive in what is arguably the creative capitol of the world? “It’s all about the energy,” says Meizler. “I lived in LA and its very leisure, you kind of have to manufacture your own life there. But in New York, there is something innate, very kinetic and active. Living here will force you to make a decision one way or the other. There is no room to deliberate for too long. There is that sense of urgency built in that keeps this industry alive and partnering that gut instinct with some insight into what’s marketable is how you keep your integrity and vision as the brand becomes more and more successful.” Just by being here you’ll find inspiration in the simplest things. “I’m obsessed with fruit stands in the city. The colors, the way they’re organized–it’s so meticulously placed. With all the movement around them you find this little box of just vibrant hues and shapes. I can be walking and just stop in my tracks to admire them. Then I come back and dissect my experience and translate that into something tangible.”

After getting a sneak peek at S/S ’15 already in the works, be prepared for another shift in men’s accessories.

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Thierry Augustin

A&H Magazine Content Director.