Designer, Retailer, Animal Rights Activist
Good things do happen to good people. Case in point: John Bartlett. And if like me you have been in New York City since the nineties you cannot think about menʼs fashion without Johnʼs name popping into your head. Known for his rugged American sportswear style, John may have experienced the ups and downs of the fashion roller coaster these past two decades but he has emerged as a quiet force in the New York fashion landscape.
He debuted his first collection in 1991 and quickly went on to win not one but two CFDA awards, the “Perry Ellis Award for Menswear” in 1993 and the “Menswear Designer of the Year” in 1997. When, a few years later, his backers pulled out he was forced to shut down his operation. Having found his true calling John forged ahead and relaunched his business with a small menswear collection that was shown during fashion week in 2003 at the Harvard Club, one of his alma mater (he is also a graduate of F.I.T). Fast forward to today, John ʻs business has been growing steadily and, if you happen to be in Greenwich Village, you may even luck out and find him at his store on Seventh Avenue and Charles Street where he still manages to pop in when he is not traveling or designing for Bon-Ton, with whom he has collaborated for several years.
But thatʼs not the whole story. John is a fervent animal rights advocate and has been for many years. He is very vocal about it and has put his money where his mouth is by launching a nonprofit animal rescue foundation “The Tiny Time Rescue Fund” a couple of years ago. The organization is named after one of Johnʼs three dogs, a three-legged rescue German Shepherd-Rottweiler mix. You can spot him on the picture with John and his two other rescue dogs. While Tiny Tim passed away from Lymphoma in 2010 his memory lives on through the “Tiny Tim Collection” which was launched to support fund raising for the cause. Tiny Tim is represented on the John Bartlettʼs logo as well as on several items such as T-shirts, scarves, accessories and the boutiqueʼs shopping bags.
In addition it is not uncommon for John to host events, like the one I remember fondly attending in the summer of 2011, on behalf of the North Shore Animal League where John originally adopted Tiny Tim and Millie (a chihuahua-Jack Russell Terrier mix). Picture this: a Saturday afternoon in Greenwich Village and a 36-foot mobile adoption unit parked in front of Johnʼs store filled with dogs, puppies and kitties ready to find a home. Even if you are not able to adopt any of these little creatures, for whatever reason, your heart will melt and it is hard to walk away empty handed. The good news is you can still help by making a donation via the website at: http:// www.johnbartlettny.com/tiny-tim-rescue-fund
1. What do you love most about your job?
I love the freedom it allows me. To quote the great Ms Vreeland,”the eye must travel” and I love that part of my job is to see the world while also finding inspiration in every day…
2. If you did not live in New York where would you live and why?
I am very much drawn to northern california…somewhere outside of San Fran but close enough to access its amazing culture…I love nature and redwoods especially..
3. When not working what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy time with my fiance and time with our dogs..I enjoy getting into our Subaru and heading out of town all five of us (two men and three dogs) even for the day.
4. What is your best memory from childhood?
Dressing up in my dad’s clothes!! and then my mom’s!!
5. What is your favorite holiday destination and why?
I love Mykonos, late june/early july… still not cuckoo with people but hot enough to hang at the beach all day. I proposed to my fiance, John, last summer there so it will always be a treasured spot.
6. Book or e-reader? Why and what are you currently reading?
Both.really depends on where I am and what I have in front of me..I use them together and when I am done with a book, I try to send it off to friends so it can get read a lot.
7. Which social media platform do you use and how did they impact your business?
I use facebook, twitter, and a bit of instagram..I also manage an online store that is our best platform for business.
8. What is a true luxury for you today?
True luxury is spending time with loved ones in an unhurried relaxed manner