by Abby White
Local accessories wunderkind Otis James has a simple credo for success: Make a quality product with a strong attention to detail and be friendly.
So far, it's working. James' work has been lauded by the likes of Southern Living, GQ and Garden & Gun, and his handcrafted hats, neckties, and bow ties can be seen on the best dressed folks in Nashville and beyond. In a world where mass produced goods are readily available, it's refreshing to see an artisan dedicated to taking the time to create something completely by hand.
James, who launched his business in 2010, moved his headquarters from a garage to the Marathon Motor Works building, where he shares a space with fellow artisan Emil Erwin. In addition to providing more room for equipment and materials, the expanded workspace allows James' clients to see the operations in person, which is pretty rad. It also serves as a retail space for James and Erwin (James is usually in the shop from 10-6 weekdays but recommends calling 615-638-1469 before you stop by), where you can find styles that aren't available in his online shop or at local stockist Imogene + Willie.
An expanded workspace brings an expanded line. Ladies, you don't have to steal your man's Otis James cap anymore, because he's launching a line that is for the boys and the girls. Next Thursday, October 18th, from 7-9 pm, James will introduce his 2012 fall/winter collection of made-to-order hats in an exclusive shopping event at Barista Parlor in East Nashville.
The event, which is open to the public (RSVP by October 17th to firstname.lastname@example.org to secure a spot) gives guests the opportunity to pre-order three different unisex styles of James' hats.
There's the newsboy:
The Greek fisherman:
And the classic ball cap.
You can choose from over a dozen limited edition, exclusive luxury fabrics — we're talking about tweed, cashmere, waxed canvas and camel hair, people — and guests who place orders on this evening will get a special discount (you also have to RSVP to get the discount, so don't forget!). Each hat that James makes is measured to perfectly fit your head. Couture headgear, anyone?
In addition to shopping, you'll enjoy provisions from Porter Road Butcher and The Bang Candy Company and libations from Corsair Artisan Distillery and Jackalope Brewery. Local songstress and High Class Hillbilly owner Nikki Lane will serenade you while you shop.
The fall/winter line will not be available to the general public until October 24th, so earlybirds, come get your worms.
Photos by Heidi Ross