Nantucket gets a New York makeover in our partnership with preppy belt-makers Tucker Blair! Centering on an iconic style we find very ripe for remixing, TUCKER BLAIR FOR OPENING CEREMONY
is a 5-pattern collection of needlepoint belts that combines some of our favorite imagery (like bunnies [coming soon!]
, flags, and animal prints) with the DC brand's pitch-perfect accessory design. City kids and Cape Cod-ers, rejoice!
Below, we ask Tucker Blair founder (and unabashed prepster) Taylor Llewelyn
a few questions, including why he cut one of his favorite needlepoint belts into pieces, which new pattern is his #1, and what a guy like him digs at Opening Ceremony. Check it out!
Pre-order Tucker Blair for Opening Ceremony HERE
KJ: On a scale of 1 to 10, just how preppy is Tucker Blair?
TL: Traditionally, Tucker Blair has been a 10 (or maybe even an 11!) out of 10. It’s been great to be niche, irreverent, and almost a little divisive in our brand positioning, but we’re excited to expand the brand beyond uber-preppy and combine the needlepoint medium with some edgier design motifs.
KJ: And what about you?
TL: I’m an 8 on the prep scale. Too many old torn t-shirts to score any higher.
KJ: In the early days, you bought a one-way ticket to China to find the best manufacturer for your belts. What was the hardest part about the trip?
TL: At the time, you’re so excited that you don’t think about much other than the task at hand. I was really motivated to get the business off the ground, and that tunnel-vision helped make the idea into a viable business. Looking back, sometimes I stop and think about how crazy it was to be wandering the streets of Southern China by myself trying to find a needlepoint belt factory. I got a lot of weird looks.
KJ: Did you try any exotic foods in Asia?
TL: Peking Duck in Peking was incredible. I also indulge in my share of streetstand dumplings every trip. Probably the weirdest food item I saw was a Big Mac with Rice Patties instead of buns.
KJ: How would you characterize the evolution of Tucker Blair since its 2008 debut?
TL: It’s been a great journey. Starting with 250 belts in my apartment to having 10,000 individual customers, 100 patterns, and brand partnerships with some awesome companies. It’s just been a really wild ride.
KJ: Exactly how long does it take to make a needlepoint belt?
TL: About 25 hours.
KJ: You mentioned having to cut up your own belt to give samples to manufacturers at these Chinese trade shows. Was its maker upset?!
TL: I’m not sure I ever told the maker, but now I guess word is out. It was a good friend's mother that stitched that belt for me. It had a lot of sentimental value, but cutting that belt helped me get the business launched, so it was worth it!
KJ: The imagery used in Tucker Blair belts is often nostalgic for you. Fast forward to the future–what sort of memory do you think these new OC styles will trigger?
TL: These OC belts are much more pattern-based than the whimsical motifs we typically produce. I think the response will be the same and the target customer is just slightly different. There’s no reason someone can’t like Leopard print as much as the next guy likes Quail Hunting!
KJ: Which of the five is your favorite?
TL: I like the leopard print. It’s something I have never seen done in needlepoint and I was amazed at how great the print turned out. It really opened my eyes to so many other design opportunities that exist, but haven’t yet been explored.
KJ: And now for some old-fashioned peer pressure! Although you admit to being "pretty preppy" and not shopping a ton at OC, is there a brand or two here that you could see yourself branching out for?
TL: Absolutely! I’ve been eyeing these Reyn Spooner x OC shorts
for a while. I think I need to go online and grab a pair for summertime.
tucker blair for opening ceremony
it takes two