SPOTLIGHT ON: Andrew Payne of General Knot & Co.
Everything about General Knot & Co. is indicates a true, deep love of the craft of neckwear. GK&Co.’s Andrew Payne ensures that attention to detail is one of his main priorities, both in the products he presents and in the way he presents them. But that’s not to say that he at all underestimates the value of spontaneity– in fact, the fabrics he now uses for GK&Co. were largely collected without a specific use in mind. We caught up with Andrew to find out more about how General Knot came to be, as well as where he hopes to take it in the future.
RYE & RIVET: When and how did you start creating your products?
ANDREW PAYNE: I began designing menswear while still in college at Parsons School of Design in NY, and continued working for various designers creating everything from sweaters to jeans over the years, but fabric had always been my focus. So after years of collecting fabrics and building relationships with fellow collectors, I decided to put all my design, manufacturing, and sourcing experience together in General Knot & Co.
All in all, designing in my eclectic way, using fabrics from far and wide, keeps the design process unpredictable and fresh. And our customers seem to enjoy the opportunity to own such limited editions and the unique sensibility of the designs.
R&R: What three words would you use to describe your brand’s ideology?
AP: Individual, Unexpected, Quality.
R&R: What does “Integrity” mean to you in terms of modern production?
AP: “Integrity” to me is looking at one’s business in the longterm (and being able to look at yourself in the mirror).
We are at an important crossroads in the global economy’s cycle [with an opportunity to] step back and reevaluate how we create and sell our products. After years of working in companies that systematically closed domestic production, moved it overseas, switched production allegiances back and forth (often, over pennies), I enjoy working here in the USA creating my product with people who are masters of their craft and with whom I have a one on one relationship. We have a collective strategy of working together for a goal of mutual success.
R&R: Who is an inspirational icon for you at the moment?
AP: Paul Smith has always been a great inspiration to me. Not only as a clothing designer, but for the love and appreciation he has for his work. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him a number of times, while shopping in his various stores. And each time I came across him, he was very happily helping customers as if he was just one of the shop’s clerks. Very unassuming, friendly, and enjoying the interaction and conversations. From what one shop’s manager told me, they have to practically tell him to go home and take a day off because he loves to be in the stores so much.
Mr. Smith once mentioned in an interview that he believes one of his keys to success is that he chooses to do business with people who share in the belief that a solid business is first built on a personal foundation. That a personal appreciation and understanding between two parties has to exist for the business relationship to prosper. I think all businesses can benefit from a little of his philosophy.
R&R: What’s your drink of choice?
AP: This is an easy one- Kentucky Straight Bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark.
Thanks again to Andrew for talking with us. For more on General Knot & Co., check it out here.