In 2006, out of his New Jersey apartment, Jesse Chao launched VITTORIO J. Six years later the President of the United States was wearing his designs. At FreshNeck we carry Vittorio J’s VJNY collection (and love it) which focuses on slim neck-wear inspired by “New York City’s unique cultural soufflé.” We talked to Jesse Chao about his background, his inspirations and what’s next for VITTORIO J.
Jesse graduated from Montclair State University with a major in marketing and finance and no traditional fashion experience to speak of. It was in college where he started dreaming of designing, he had always had great style, but didn’t know where to start. So he studied one of the greats – Ralph Lauren – who also started in neckties. Considering he was in college and money was tight, Jesse took a cue from Ralph Lauren and started designing ties which were relatively inexpensive to design and manufacture.
Nothing quite captures the essence of VJNY like the King Skull moniker. It was inspired by Jesse’s love of the skull and cross-n-bones pattern, with a twist, the added crown symbolizes the ROYALITY of the design, which is part of the VITTORIO J mantra, “CLASSIC. ROYAL. GOODS”. Living in the city Jesse calls, “the fashion epicenter of the universe,” he often draws his inspirations from the scenes of New York , including tattoos, street wear, and the flags of different countries hanging in multicultural streets of New York City. His favorite tie of the VJNY collection is The Filipino Flag inspired tie which represents his own ethnicity. Jesse stresses three keys in making a great tie, “Craftsmanship, Design and what [he] calls the ‘Wow’ factor.” And believe us, he delivers.
We asked Jesse what makes a good tie so important. He gave us a great answer, “it’s the quintessential accessory for a man, it reflects your personality.” Well if that’s true his ties reflect some of the strongest personalities in the world. Whether it’s men’s style icon Pharrell, basketball legend Magic Johnson or the most powerful man in the free world Barack Obama wearing his designs, it’s safe to say he’s ties reflect well.
With momentum on his side, Jesse looks to expand into different accessories, including bowties, pocket squares and scarves (you can bet we’ll be carrying those as soon as they come out). He also hinted at “some really great collaborations coming for Spring/Summer 2013 with other elite NYC designers.” Although he wouldn’t tip his hand on who he plans to collaborate with, we’re definitely excited for the possibilities.
We ended talking about the future of menswear. Jesse commented, “People are becoming so much more receptive to new thinking in shopping and spending, because it gives the consumer a lot of options and possibilities at moment’s notice, which I think is cool… So naturally, aligning VJNY with FreshNeck is a great opportunity for my brand.” The feeling is mutual; we love carrying the VJNY collection and love the feedback we’re getting on it. Its brands like this, with interesting back stories and great designs, we think our customers can really get behind.
VJNY ties on FreshNeck