Earlier in the year, Alden Jackson reached out to Chubstr, letting us know that he was working on a vintage clothing collection. As there’s a dearth of stylish options with a specific focus on larger men, we eagerly anticipated its release. Jackson’s brand, Le Grand Garcon, has finally launched on Etsy with a variety of vintage clothing options that range from classic and subdued to bright and flamboyant. We asked Alden how Garcon came to be, where he gets his inspiration, and what we can expect from his own line in the coming months.
Give us a little background on yourself – have you always been a designer? I am 24 years old and I live in the Los Angeles area. I would not say I am designer at all. I have always had very solid ideas about how I want to dress and how I think others should as well. I remember half the items on my Christmas list as a kid were clothes and my mom was a total mall rat. I know this is where my love of clothing comes from. As I got older, I wanted to focus more on fashion and create my own style. I started out working at retail stores like H&M and Urban Outfitters. During this time I also obtained an associates degree in Fashion Merchandising. For the last 2 years I have been building DisciplesOf Vintage which exploded on ASOS marketplace, and recently I decided Disciples and Garcon would have my full attention.
Why did you start Le Grand Garcon? I started Garcon because I feel like I have a very unique and modern take on fashion that a lot of people who produce clothing in larger sizes just don’t understand. I am bigger and I LOVE fashion and sometimes it can seem like a bit of an oxymoron. I want to debunk the theory that above average sized men and fashion don’t belong in the same sentence. I feel it can be a huge blow when guys that are in my size range want to dress on trend but get lost or frustrated when that trip to the mall or big and tall store is unfruitful. It’s hard enough just to get our behinds covered let alone find something fashion forward to wear.
Your collection has a down to earth, sort of classic feel to me, and I love that. Is there a specific theme or idea you’re trying to get across with what you’ve created? I am attracted to a broad range of influences and I feel like I try to pull the best from each one and make it cohesive. I don’t want any of the clothes to feel like they don’t belong in your wardrobe. You need a navy blue coat and a great plaid. Who doesn’t want that in their closet? I try to sneak the edge in with leather shorts and bleached custom pieces. I don’t want to overwhelm my audience nor do I want any of it to feel like a costume. These are clothes you can wear to work, wear to dinner, wear to play. Living in L.A. and being on public transportation and working retail and going to school it taught me a lot about what is really important when it comes to a wardrobe.
You offer sizes to XXXL. Do you plan to offer larger sizes in the future? Absolutely. At one point I was a 4X and 5X myself. And let’s just saying wearing too long Rocawear tees got old really quick. At this point it’s all about me finding the product. When I start producing for myself we will definitely increase the size run in line with the demand.
Are there any designers out there making clothing in larger sizes that you like? If not, what mainstream brands do you like? There is not anyone in the big and tall market that I can identify with. When shopping at mainstream brands I love Gap, Orvis, L.L. Bean and Urban Outfitters (tees and shoes every now and then) Designers who influence how I put my clothing together include Ricardo Tisci from Givenchy, Dries Van Noten and Robert Geller. Although these designers don’t make clothing in extended sizes, I look to them for fabric, graphic, and accessories directions. For instance, leopard showed up in Givenchy for a few seasons. I eventually found a scarf and high top sneakers with leopard prints and incorporated the trend into my wardrobe in my own way.
Why do you think it’s so hard to find stylish clothes in extended sizes? I think companies write off the big and tall segment of the market. By now you would think with men of all sizes showing more emphasis on personal care and wardrobe, the light bulb would have gone off in someones head. We’ve been neglected for so long though we don’t know where to start. We need blogs like Chubstr and labels like Garcon to show us we can be above average sized and still look pretty swell. You can’t just add a few inches to a garments length and width and call it a day. I am big, the models are big, so we have a true understanding of our customer and how the clothes should fit. It’s not just vintage in a bigger size pinned on someone or shot haphazardly. It’s for us, by us plain and simple.
What can we expect from Garcon in the future? Long term I see us continuing to carry vintage because of the uniqueness it provides. We would love to produce our own line of clothes, shoes, and accessories as well. I get so pissed that I can’t find rings that fit, or that shoes aren’t wide enough. Shoes and accessories may very well come before the clothes.