We’ve all heard art is subjective or it’s in the eye of the beholder. But as cliché as it sounds art really is one of those things that is neither right or wrong. When it comes to the way we view the world there are people that see everything as art. And aren’t we fortunate to have those people as the designers of the things we love, like clothing and hotels. As odd as it may sound the two go hand in hand. A person that takes the time to adorn his body with beautifully crafted attire can appreciate that beauty in most other aspects of his life. Think about the last time you had to take a trip, whether it was for business or pleasure. You more then likely researched all the possibilities of where to stay. You thought about what the hotel is near, restaurants, attractions that suit your needs and interests, like museums or theaters. Then you look into where you would feel most comfortable. Isn’t it true that you feel most comfortable in a place that appreciates style and elegance as much as you do?
The James Chicago is ideally situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, just steps from Michigan Avenue. In addition to its proximity to numerous dining, shopping and nightlife choices along the world famous Magnificent Mile; they have ingeniously asked local fashion designers, J.Chiekh, to collaborate with them in creating uniforms for the staff at The James. What they came up with was a way to make the staff of the hotel incredibly daper, defined, and unique. We had the oppotunity to speak with Sophie Lin of J. Cheikh and Jamie Eggert of The James Hotel and dive into the how fashion and hospitality worlds unite.
Sophie Lin of J. Cheikh
How did the partnership with The James Chicago come to be?
Sophie Lin: The James Hotel have always been very involved with local artists and collaborations are something that they feel is very important. We really admire them for that and were beyond elated when they approached us last Spring about a collaboration. We were following in the footsteps of Andrew Buckler in New York and at the time Public School was also working on their uniforms for the Miami hotel. We designed something that is distinctly Chicago in feel and we are excited to unveil it!
What about working with The James appeals to you all?
SL: Working with The James was a wonderful experience through and through. We respected the fact that they were going into each city with the mindset of highlighting the culture of the city through art in their locations. All of their visitors will be able to experience the essence of the city through not only the local staff but also the look and feel of the hotel itself. Everything was truly very well thought out. Each hotel has its own distinct interiors that reflect the vibe of that city and the neighborhood it’s in. The artwork is well thought out and placed and of course with the addition of the uniforms it will really pull the staff together with the look of the space. It makes the staff a part of this moving, living installation.
How important is travel to you?
SL: Travel is so important to us. Not just business travel, we need to explore the world in order to do what we do. Fashion is about decadence through experience, we carry that theme with us always.
Do you see menswear and the hospitality industry colliding more in the future? Should they?
SL: Fashion and the hospitality industry will collide more in the future. And they should!
Jamie Eggert, The James Hotel
Why did guys decide to collaborate with J.Cheikh?
Jamie Eggert: The James supports local designer uniform collaborations in all our cities – working with Andrew Buckler at The James New York and Public School at The James Royal Palm in Miami. We wanted to work with a Midwest designer for The James Chicago and J. Cheikh specifically as felt their sophisticated interpretation of classic menswear and understated luxury really speaks to the style sensibility in Chicago. Sophie and Cheikh are known for their modernized classic offerings and they’ve really created beautifully tailored and functional uniforms that perfectly embody The James Chicago’s luxury liberated vibe.
Do you think there is a connection between fashion and the hospitality industry?
JE: As a luxury boutique hotel, we do feel there is a connection. The James encompasses elements of not just fashion, but art, design, culture, community – as well as a classic commitment to hospitality. The other connection is in the style and savvy of our guests who appreciate support of local culture, as well as possess a sophisticated and refined aesthetic.
What’s next for The James Hotel?
JE: We are excited to announce there will be new restaurant and bar concepts (yes that’s plural!) introduced in the former Jbar space this year. While we are keeping details under wraps to build excitement, plans are drawn, permits are being obtained and we will start construction in early 2013.
Over To You:
Do you think menswear or fashion in general go hand and hand with the hotel industry? Tell us about your favorite hotel experience, where did you stay and why was it so special. We’d like to know about your experience in the comments section below or tweet us your answer.