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New in Town

Jerrod Collins, founder and designer of the nascent accessories label The Goods for Society, talks life, menswear, and his new life in the Big Apple.

What began as a trek to find a winter-worthy sweater turned out to provide a chance meeting with fellow menswear enthusiast, Jerrod Collins. Heading down Bleeker St, we eventually stopped into the Rag and Bone retail shop on Christopher Street. Jerrod greeted us as we entered and offered to help out. “A sweater? I like this one. This one is dope,” he said, pointing us toward a shawl collar sweater in marled wool. Twenty minutes of conversation later, we left with said sweater in hand and a meeting scheduled the next day.

Jerrod arrives at the new Stumptown straight from his apartment, gliding with a casual swagger and sartorial ease of somewhere else. Somewhere not New York.

“Born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut,” he states proudly. “It was great. I was exposed to the arts since early adolescent years. Over time, I just developed a competitive craving for fashion, media, design, and style forecasting.”

And the craving has driven him since. After attending Howard University in Washington DC, where he studied fashion design, Jerrod has spent the past 4 years with Rag and Bone, starting from the stockroom and moving up to work sales in the West Village retail store. “Working in premium retail sales, I come across a unique client base with distinct preferences centered around various elements of style. Just the dialogue alone keeps the days different and the styles that go along with them.”

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“Style means that you take a moment to approach the day from your personal vantage point. It shows through your details. It’s the best way to show who you are without saying a word. What you select, why you picked it, and how it you paired it. When it comes to style, every piece has a story.”

On top of his busy sales job in a new city, Jerrod is launching his own menswear company, The Goods for Society. “The Goods for Society (TGFS) creates furnishings that can find their way into your everyday style but could elevate the value of a look. For example, I love wearing ties, and while there are guys that like the idea, a lot of them don’t because they simply haven’t before, or because their ‘job’ doesn’t require it. I want my neckwear to be used as a universal piece within our modern day culture – not so much a requirement. My goal is to give men stylish options for their everyday life.”

And stylish they are. Jerrod brought a messenger bag (Rag and Bone, naturally) full of his works in progress. The rich textures of chambray ties, silk pocket squares, and playful patterns provided a unique sense of whimsy against the muted palette of his black denim and gray shirt.

There is a care to the way he presents each item, turning them over delicately in his hands. He is immediately focused. This is more than a hobby.

“Nine times out ten, once I get home I’m touching some component of my company, The Goods. Here I am experiencing every part possible of living the dream and being an entrepreneur. Late nights, trial and error and spreadsheets. Usually it’s close to 3am and I need to call it a night, wishing I was off the next day.”

That means overseeing product development and visual campaigning (design, merchandising, and creative direction for The Goods for Society portfolio).

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“Nine times out ten, once I get home I’m touching some component of my company, The Goods. Here I am experiencing every part possible of living the dream and being an entrepreneur.”

While we walk further through the West Village, Jerrod points out a the broken ledge of a brick building across the street. “I find myself caught staring at buildings, alleys, and construction sites…I find the use of the materials to be amazing and the color palettes to be a cool coincidence. Just seeing the lines makes me thinks of ties with suiting. A lot of the machinery used to build these buildings give great ideas for distressing and hardware as well. I try to wander once a day if I can, hoping to stumble onto something new or find a place someone told me about.”

After a handful of photos, Jerrod proposes we change it up. “I always feel confident with a tie and pocket square. And I always like to be appropriate…but also against the rules.”

The next outfit is subtle rule-breaking in its most appropriate form. His handkerchief goes into the back pocket of his jeans. And not like a tufted square poking out of the breast pocket of a dinner jacket – he stuffs a portion of it in while the other end topples out loosely. “Good.”

Minutes later, a stranger interrupts our photographer’s instruction to compliment Jerrod on the back-pocket square.

Does this happen often?

He smiles. “I’m in New York now. It’s a place where you never see the same thing twice, so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.”