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