Keeping it dapper: Fox & Brie
Jess Decelle, 26, based in Austin, Texas is the creator behind Fox & Brie. The inspiration came in 2010 when she started using her grandmother’s Singer sewing machine. She started selling some of her own designs under the brand name, then moved on to create bow ties in March 2012. Taking her cue from her grandfather on the importance of being a gentleman, Jess also makes pocket squares, neck ties and tie accessories.
Bow ties, pocket squares and ties…what drove you in this direction?
Jess: I began making ties and bow ties for my husband, and fell in love with the intricacy and detailing that was required in their construction.
Do you prefer a man to dress dapper, considering your designs?
I prefer a man to dress appropriately, but that doesn’t always mean he has to get dressed up. If the occasion requires it, put on a tie. If you’re feeling dapper, sport that bow tie.
Which of your current designs is your favourite?
Are the designs all your own or are there multiple designers? Do any designs come from outside of the brand?
I’ve worked with a few designer friends on personal projects and have a collaboration or two in the works, but as of right now I am the sole designer at Fox & Brie. I create my own sewing patterns, hunt for unique fabrics (many of which are vintage or dead stock), and cut, assemble and sew each item. Even the packaging and displays are made in-house.
Would you say your work is directed at a particular trend or group of people?
From a marketing standpoint, yes, but while my current work may be aimed at a specific target market, I don’t like to limit my ideas to any particular group of people. I make what I love.
What are a few of your likes and dislikes in terms of design and style aesthetic?
There is such a variety of different options available, and what I like is seeing how different people use each item to suit his or her own personal style. As for dislikes, I’ll just say this: unless you’re on your way to or from the gym, leave the sweatpants at home!
Do you have a team working with you to help manage the brand?
I have so many amazing and supportive people in my life, and while they may not directly manage the brand, they certainly manage me. I’m in awe of their love, and so very grateful.
How would you describe your personality, and is this reflected in your work?
I’d say that I’m classic, yet quirky; confident in my abilities and always looking for a new adventure.
What are your favourite things about your job? Are there any negatives?
I love everything about my job. Even when it isn’t fun – when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, or I’m worried about a deadline, or I don’t know if I’ve made the right decision. These are the times that keep me going. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
How do you feel fashion can affect an individual’s image and/or self-esteem?
Fashion should be a reflection of the individual. Fashion should not be a reflection of how we want others to see us.
Please tell me about the creative process that went into your current collection. What techniques were used?
Since many of my materials are vintage or dead stock, I like to think that the fabrics find me. I’ve uncovered long-forgotten linens from attics, estate sales, storage buildings and a couple of barns.
How do you feel Etsy has helped your business?
From the start, Etsy has been a great asset to Fox & Brie. In the beginning, it’s so important to promote and build your brand name and Etsy helped me to connect with customers who may not have found my shop through conventional search methods.
Have you ever produced bespoke items for Etsy customers?
About half of the weddings I work with are custom-ordered. I take the couple’s wedding colours and ideas, and try to find interesting ways to make their vision a reality.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The independence! As a child, when someone would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was: “I just want to make neat things and go on lots of adventures.”
Have you any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
I have too many plans! In the spring, I’m introducing a line of suspenders along with a variety of new bow ties, neckties and pocket squares. With wedding season approaching, I’m excited to work with some amazing new clients and their creative wedding ideas. There are also a few secret projects in the works, incorporating my love of hand-printing fabrics and inspired by my weird, fairytale childhood.
Finally, what is your one fashion vice?
Comfort. If it itches, pinches, rides up or doesn’t quite fit, I won’t wear it.
Photos: Jeremy Thornhill, courtesy of Fox & Brie