Bear Down



Bear Down

Good Afternoon, Steve here. I hope you’ve had an enjoyable summer and are as excited for fall as I am. Our new collection went online recently, and it is our biggest and “hopefully” best yet. With new dress shirts, neckwear, socks, boxers, leather goods and other accessories, I feel we have truly outdone ourselves.

As I write this, I am sitting at the kitchen table at my folks’ townhouse in Colorado. A few weeks ago, Gus the Dog and I packed up my trusty Tahoe and headed west from Chicago to Vail for our yearly work vacation. In August every year, I like to temporarily relocate and take my design work elsewhere. Being able to combine work with pleasure is a welcome relief, and I’ve found time to enjoy the outdoors with Gus while also illustrating and coloring the following year’s fall collection.

Since 1972, my family has had a place here in The Landmark resort. My grandfather, Ronald Macfarlane Clarkson, took up the sport of skiing in 1960 at the ripe old age of 44. After mastering all the Midwest had to offer, he looked elsewhere, eventually traveling to both Europe and Canada to hone his craft. Upon his return home, he heard a small buzz surrounding the Vail Valley and soon made his way west to see it for himself. After seasons worth of skiing and having fallen in love with everything the close-knit town embodied, he and my grandmother purchased a modest townhouse a stones throw from the gondola.

Though we rarely used it during peak season, my family always took advantage of it when summer arrived. When classes broke for summer break, we packed up whatever family wagon we had and headed to Vail for everything it offered. Not many kids from the Chicago suburbs could say they grew up horseback riding, backwoods hiking, whitewater rafting, real mountain biking, and, of course, fly-fishing for trout and steelhead in Gore Creek. While I always enjoyed the outdoors, my love for nature really took shape in Vail and is reflected in a number of the illustrations in each collection.

One of those illustrations is “Bear Necessities,” drawn right here at the kitchen table twelve months ago. Having been inspired by a life size bronze sculpture in front of my favorite restaurants, I returned home and sketched out this number. While some designs come to me right off the bat, “Bear Necessities” took a little more work, evidenced in my original sketch featured above. Ultimately, I decided to “open up” the design more to include a greater amount of detail, like the rocks, puddles, and jumping salmon. Additionally, this allows the necktie to be paired with one of our tightly checked Italian-milled dress shirts–in all, a win-win!

Anyway, there’s a little peek to the method behind all the madness and what inspires me with each new collection. As with everything in the Mayer family, there’s always a story…