The Brett Johnson Collection is one of the latest menswear lines to hit the fashion radar. Son of Robert and Sheila Johnson of BET fame, Brett Johnson is seeking to make his own mark through his clothing designs. The line launched in 2013 features sleek and stylish outerwear made of high quality fabrics.

Originally available only online, Johnson is now working with retailers to bring his designs to brick and mortar locations. In a recent trunk show held at NeimanMarcus in Mazza Gallerie, Washingtonians got a chance to see the up and coming designer’s handiwork in person. At the event, caught up with the young entrepreneur to get his fashion insight and his take on his collection.

What made you become a designer?
When I was about 8 or 9 I used to source fabrics and leathers and take them up to a cobbler up in New York and have him put them on Air Force 1 Nike shoes. Every since then I was off to the races with that and now I have about 700 pairs of shoes and sneakers so that’s where my first love came from. The second was my mom. She does design work as well and has a line of scarves. We both are very big into quality so that’s why Italy was the right choice for us in terms of fabrics, leathers and construction you can’t get any better.

What can you tell us about your current collection?
For our Autumn/Winter 14 collection, the inspiration behind it was 90s menswear in New York fused with 90s menswear in Italy. You’ll see a lot of tech fabrics, lambskin and pebbled deerskin throughout the collection. One of our bestsellers this season is our parka jacket because of the versatility. You can wear it three different ways. This fabric is from a mill in the northern part of Italy call Limonta. You can actually wear into the shower and not get a drip of water onto you. There’s 100% shearling in the hood and in the collar. You can wear it as a convertible collar with the neck up or just with the hood off. The parka also comes with storm cuffs and lambskin accents.

For the quilted jacket, I took my inspiration from the cobblestone in Florence. This is my reinterpretation. The jacket is made of washable lambskin so that way if you’re out in inclement weather there is no problem with hurting the leather.
The hero piece of the season so this is pebbled deerskin biker jacket. 100% shearling on the collar and we have calf suede here right by the zippers. I love this piece. From the moment I was designing it, I was thinking this is going to be it so we actually use this in our ad campaign as well. The leather it just speaks for itself.

Where are you based?
We are totally based in Bethesda and work with a couple groups out in New York.

Where can you line be found?
This is actually our first season selling wholesale Autumn/Winter. It’s going great we had a trunk show in Dallas at Stanley Korshak and had an amazing sales day. It was there best sales day at their new store, The Shak and we accounted for 2/3s of their sales that day.

Who is your target audience?
Our core demographic is the 28 – 33 year executive, finance guys on the weekend, real estate guys, athletes and entertainers. But the clothes are for everyone. Our parka can range from a guy in his early twenties all the way up to his 70’s. We had a guy in Dallas, 67, who bought this jacket for him and his son.

Where do you see yourself going?
Outerwear but we are getting into knits. This is the first season we are starting to do knits. You’ll see it a lot more in our Spring/Summer ‘15 collection and we are starting to work in trousers. We have a short and two styles of pants for the spring.

Chatting with Johnson, the love for what he does is clearly evident. There’s a twinkle in his eye as he talked about designing each piece and the attention to detail and workmanship is extraordinary. With his clothes being spotted on the likes of jazz musician, Robert Glasper, rapper, Ludacris and Chicago Bears Josh Morgan, it’s only a matter of time before they are snapped up by other discerning gentlemen.

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