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Building a luxury brand with P.Johnson Tailors
Chatting with Patrick Johnson about winemaking, good taste, and living slow.
Combat boots for the journey
A quick intro
Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to my new friend, Patrick Johnson, owner of P. Johnson Tailors. PJT is a clothing company based in Australia and New York.
Patrick and his team specialize in making custom suiting, formalwear, and luxury sportswear. They have showrooms in New York, Sydney, London, and Melbourne.
Tell us about yourself…
I was born in Adelaide, Australia, and grew up between the city and the farm. Farms create a sense of curiosity and foster a well-honed appreciation of natural beauty, regardless of where they are. I studied agri-science, specifically Oenology, the science of winemaking.
I learned that winemaking wasn't for me, but it did instill in me another valuable way of seeing the world. I then took to the UK to dive deeper into my passion for clothes, first at Central Saint Martins, then with shirtmaker Robert Emmett on Jermyn Street.
After building that business, I decided it was time to head back to Australia and share what I had learned in my travels.
Your business was founded in tailored clothing at a time when, culturally, it feels like the suit is no longer the default signifier of “good taste.” How have you built PJT with that in mind?
Tailoring should be separated from its caricature. I think that is what has altered our perception of it. The suit is a distinguished element of good taste—part of a sophisticated wardrobe where all elements can be tasteful. It is all ‘usage v abusage,’ i.e., how and when.
Dressing is a language, and when done tastefully, it is simply that language used well.
You've launched Tennis collections, loungewear, fishing gear, and even denim. How do you think about merging formalwear with these other pieces tastefully?
It is not always a case of ‘merging’ formal wear with less-than-formal wear. It is more of just taking each part of the wardrobe and giving it its most tasteful version. Again, it is getting the language correct. Then the greatest pieces somehow manage to transgress their original because they are pure and strong.
What are some of your most treasured pieces in your wardrobe, home, etc. (a piece of art, a watch, a belt, etc)?
My Aquanaught watch my wife gave me is, no doubt, one of the most beautifully designed objects of dress I own. We have an old rough, unfilled travertine coffee table in Melbourne that is beautiful and so strong as a design. I have many beautiful clothes, but they are still more ephemeral, perhaps, but I will never part with some of my Arnys ties.
You help guys dress for hybrid environments (working at home, in the office, traveling, etc) all the time. Are there principles or guardrails that you live by?
Firstly comfort is king, And don’t view ‘business casual’ as an excuse to underdress. You may as well always be dressed on the upside, but do it with a soft verve that is natural.
The simple act of wearing a tailored jacket can even draw jeans out of their workwear home. Look finished, look considered. It is a really enjoyable area to dress in because it carries some tailoring into a space that makes it very approachable
On your Instagram page, your bio reads, "LIVE SLOW DIE OLD.” Can you expound on that?
I think we are forced to race through the only life we get.
There is so much to enjoy every day, so I wish that people be aesthetically literate enough to enjoy more of their time on earth.
I feel that is attainable, it is a conversation we subliminally have with every client. For this reason, it doesn’t stop at clothes.
Getting dressed well is just one thing that should be enjoyable, and it's just a start really.