AMERICAN MADE: J.PANTHER LUGGAGE

This clever video deftly captures the functional spirit of the “Courier Ruc Case” by J. Panther Luggage Co. I spoke with the founder and designer of the company, Johnny Diamandis, to find out more about his new company, the importance of being Made in the USA and what the plans for the future are. If you are a fledgling designer, or creative type who appreciates well-made products, Johnny is a good person to hear from.

 

How important is being made in the USA to your brand and business strategy?

It’s very relevant. All business start up fashion brands should have as close a relationship as possible with their factories in my view, as without that, it would be equivalent to being a chef without access to the kitchen. I can jump on a train and be in Connecticut in an hour or two to go over details and construction or other issues and be back in NY in the afternoon. This level of collaboration with our makers is critical to us in that we are making innovative and expensive items with mostly USA materials (except canvas from Scotland UK) so close communication with regard to development is a must. Of course logistically keeping everything in the USA makes things easier for deliveries etc. Again for the brand it’s (USA made) a cornerstone of what we do. I am a menswear designer by training and my big love has always been pre 1960’s American made items be they military jackets, utility items, a sweatshirt or denim jeans where the level of construction, fabrication is often incredible and this is what I wanted to bring to our brand. It’s luxury goods but of the USA “school” not the European (even though I am from the UK!) as we always say: you do not need to be to precious with these items as they age well, they are built to be treated rigorously!

How did you go about finding your artisans in New England?

With the importance I weigh on production this was a long, hard process. Actually other designers can often be quite protective of their contacts so it was mostly through industry people such as high end leather suppliers. I would then visit the proposed factory to establish if they were a fit in every way before proceeding with sampling.

What’s behind the name?

I have always admired brands that have managed to use animals name’s and images for no apparent reason as their logo, there’s loads out there of course. I always wanted to do that. I have always been a lover of wild cats and the Panther represents that beauty, fluidity and many other characteristics that I wanted to associate with our brand. I bring it in to our design for example the overlay on each piece that the handles attach to was inspired by a Panthers head front on (as in our logo). I also try to avoid squares and sharp lines if I can and use rounds and curves, again inspired by the feline form!

As a new company, what are the plans for the next few years, and how do you want to grow while staying true to the original vision?

I wish to enjoy these early stages without any outside “growth” pressure. To continue to make the very best product that really beats all competition at the price and we hope to grow organically as opposed to fixing any aggressive fiscal targets. We seem to be getting a nice following with many of our customers repeat purchasing which is a huge compliment and we ship the world over. Finally we do eventually wish to offer a women’s line despite the fact that we already sell a lot to women.

For more information on the company, you can visit their website J. Panther Luggage Co.

Category: Bags, Fashion, Retail, Top Stores.

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