To quote the great ZZ Top: “…every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.”
Designer and owner of the Minneapolis-based company, Freedom From Doubt, Jared Zachary creates accessories — handcrafted neckwear — for that sharp dressed man, the dapper gentleman for whom Mad Men’s Don Draper is his sartorial idol.
Recently, Jared talked to the The Ride about that man and what it means to have Freedom From Doubt.
“Tomorrow has come; the paradigm that represents success has been permanently altered. It is time to bury our misconceptions of what defines the successful man and woman and face the day with confidence in ourselves. We may consider ourselves successful if we are free from doubt.” ~Jared Zachary (Freedom From Doubt’s website)
The Ride: Hey Jared. First of all, I love your philosophy and the quote rocks!! What and/or who inspired it?
Jared: This idea came together from the timing of the economic conditions over the last few years. I happened to graduate in Spring of 2009 with an architecture degree and felt that shock of not knowing what the hell I was going to do. Having to jump into such a competitive job market during the struggling economy seemed like a cruel joke, but I was able to turn it into the opportunity to design on my own terms. Instead of relying on the job market, I had to rely on finding my own abilities, strengths, and talents; myself. The brand was named from the definition of self-confidence, and with that, success can be achieved.
The Ride: What are some “misconceptions about success”?
Jared: I think the media constantly gives us tangible misrepresentations of success. If you walked into a grade school classroom and had the students draw a successful man or woman, you would see that success is portrayed most often as wealth and the often unnecessary material amenities that are afforded by it. Everybody has a different definition of success, but most seem to believe success allows one to buy happiness, when success should be described by intangible qualities.
The Ride: Very cool that you studied architecture. How did “creating spaces” evolve into “creating fashion”?
Jared: Somewhere along the way, I spent more time deciding what I should wear to project reviews than I spent preparing my presentation, itself. Obviously that’s an over-exaggeration, but studying architecture showed me that my design strengths were in small-scale projects. The most significant correlation between architecture projects and fashion projects is the design process. My education strengthened my ability to solve design problems with innovation and bring them to life through construction. Although I began to lose the passion for architecture, I was becoming more interested in street fashion of Minneapolis, which was far different from anything I had seen growing up in a small community in South Dakota.
The Ride: What was the first piece you designed?
Jared: The first piece I ever designed was a brown leather bowtie. Before that, I didn’t even know how to sew and was actually afraid to even try. I really wanted a leather bow, so I decided I would have to figure out how to make one myself, since I had no idea where to find one. I ended up getting a lot of compliments on it so I made some more and it eventually grew into what the brand is today.
The Ride: How have the women in your life influenced your work?
Jared: I dated this girl for a long time, who is actually the one who taught me how to use a sewing machine. She was always my toughest critic, but she was a perfect second opinion and always pushed me to develop my ideas and techniques. I owe her a lot of credit for her reinforcement, and we are still good friends today.
The Ride: You design primarily bowties. Why bowties?
Jared: When I began designing, I really needed bowties in my own wardrobe. When I made myself a few, everybody loved them; I couldn’t wear one without being complimented at least once. Soon, I had friends interested in buying them, as well, and people started referring to me as “The Bowtie Guy”, which was really weird, but fitting, I suppose. I guess I found my niche, although I have ideas of expanding, so stay tuned…
Tell me about the Freedom From Doubt man
What does he eat?
Caprese salad, lemon butter gnocchi, medium-rare fillet mignon, sauvignon blanc.
Where does he vacation?
He would backpack around Europe to gain knowledge of different cultures that would help inspire his own lifestyle.
If you can define “art”, I could give you one favorite. Impossible.
What car does he drive?
Black ’54 Roadster, tan leather interior, wooden dash, wide white-wall tires.
Pulp Fiction. “Warm, warmer, disco.”
Jared: She is one to take charge. She is focused on herself, and her confidence exudes sexiness that others envy.
Red or White?
Do you do brunch?
I either wake up really early for work and can only afford time for coffee, or else I sleep in until lunch. But, I would totally brunch if the opportunity arose.
Singing in the car. Always.
Jared: Johnny Depp. He is great at what he does, and is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood and has a unique sense of style. Best of all, He could pull off pretty much anything.
The Ride: You’re participating in Voltage Amplified 2011 (an annual runway show where rock and fashion converge) where you will be paired with a designer. They do to the clothes. You create the accessories. Have you shown at VA before? I would think it might be a challenge trying to maintain your sense of style — be true to you — and still meet the demands, or shall I say, requirements of another designer.
Jared: Yes, I am really excited for Voltage 2011! It will be my first time showing at this event, and I will be working with an amazing designer Danielle Everine, who showed an incredible collection at Voltage 2010, along with Jagress Intimates. I think that working in collaboration is key to artistic growth. Not only do constraints force the designer to innovate, this innovation can lead to evolution of both technique and aesthetic.
The Ride: What do you hope will be waiting for you at the top of the mountain?
Jared: A full collection of menswear and womenswear is my dream–maybe even a few Freedom From Doubt concept boutiques. I am confident in my vision, and I am working to see it come to life.