John Elliott Exclusive Interview with UpscaleHype Japan

By Kyle O. on
December 22, 2015

Back in October, UpscaleHype Japan (UHJP) Editor and Chief Yukee Abbé did an exclusive interview with designer John Elliott (JE) for NBA Japan. He kindly translated it for us so you guys can read it. Check it out:



UHJP: A lot of famous people including NBA players wear your clothes nowadays, how do you feel about it? Did you imagine this situation when you started the brand?

JE: I didn’t imagine it when I started the brand, but I hoped for it. One thing I’ve always maintained is that you want to be respected by the people you respect. People purchasing my clothes is the ultimate sign of respect. When I see athletes or celebrities wearing my clothes, it’s a huge honor.



UHJP: You started with basics like jeans, sweats and now you do a full runway collections, how do you keep yourself inspired and creative?

JE: For me it’s just trying to take different approaches to being creative. I try to go outside my comfort zone and look at different ways people approach every day life in different parts of the world. My inspiration will usually spawn from looking at different ways of thinking in everything from food, to transportation, to the way people dress.



UHJP: Could you break down your typical day as a designer?

JE: It changes too much. I don’t know how other people design, but I definitely do not have a routine. I think that’s a good thing, I try to avoid routines.



UHJP: You come to Japan pretty often, how do you like Japan?

JE: Other than the United States, Japan is my favorite country in the world. Tokyo is in my top three cities in the world. The food, the people, the convenience of life, and the overall experience is second to none.



UHJP: Basketball players are the tallest, do you custom make clothes for them? Do the retail sizes actually fit them?

JE: I only custom make clothes for one guy, and thats LeBron. He’s a friend and supporter, and we’re such fans of him personally and professionally that we’re willing to do whatever he needs. Generally speaking, our clothes are cut long and slim, and that works perfectly for most NBA players off the rack.



UHJP: What is in your current shoe rotation?

JE: Nike Air Moabb OG, Vans Skate Lows, Yeezy Boost 350, Jordan 1 Fragment.



UHJP: What is your all time favorite basketball shoe and why?

JE: My senior year of high school I played in the Air Jordan 11. I loved that shoe for hoops and the way it looked on the court. When I was a kid, I had the Air Zoom Flight 95. I remember everything about them from their unique design to their marketing – shot simply against white with a 1-800 number.



UHJP: If you use a NBA player as a model for your runway, who would you pick and why?

JE: Elfrid Payton because of his dreads. He’s probably got my favorite hair in the NBA.



UHJP: Because of the wider distribution by Sazaby League, people have more opportunities to get your clothing, how do you see Japan as a market?

JE: Japan is a very important market for us. There’s a lot of opportunity and we hope to grow with strategic partners like United Arrows & Sons.



UHJP: What is next for John Elliott + Co?

JE: We will be releasing our annual magazine in October, Research Document Volume 2: Pacific Study, and I’m very excited for people to see that. I’m also working on Fall / Winter 2016. I love working on new collections and that’s really my main focus right now.


UpscaleHype Co-Founder. Follow me at (@kyleok).