What’s better than one stylish person? Two stylish people! Particularly a stylish couple, like Lane Gerson and Julia Arnhold.
Lane is the co-founder of the elegant and minimal shoe brand, Jack Erwin. Julia recently joined the company as well, as Director of Women’s, an expansion of the brand that launches today (lucky for us!).
We caught up with the two of them in their Soho apartment a couple of weeks ago.
Describe your style in three words.
Julia: Love a uniform.
Lane: Keep it simple.
How does your personal style influence the Jack Erwin aesthetic?
Julia: My style is always evolving but for the most part, I’m detached from trends. I like the details that go unnoticed by most people, and I shy away from the overt and overdone. This concept is a huge part of the Jack Erwin creative process. We continuously ask ourselves: how do we design shoes that are beautiful and seemingly simple from a distance, but up close contain nuances that reveal themselves over time.
Lane: I really enjoy clothing and care about how I present myself, but I’d rather not spend time putting together outfits or rummaging through my closet in search of something particular. I gravitate towards clothes that I can wear over and over and that pair well with other items. Whatever I’ve just worn lands at the top of the pile in my drawers, so once a piece of clothing gets into the rotation, it’s much pretty stuck there. We design all of our collections with this in mind.
What is most important to you: comfort, beauty, or innovation?
Julia: It’s so, so important to be comfortable! For me, comfort and beauty go hand-in-hand. I don’t like to leave the house wearing anything that’s uncomfortable, so I think a lot about materials and shapes. I’m a strong believer that just because something is comfortable, doesn’t mean it can’t be refined.
Lane: I agree. I believe that style is about feeling confident. It’s about getting you to a place where you feel ready to take on your day. It’s kind of hard to do that when you’re not comfortable.
What’s the inspiration behind the women’s shoe launch?
Lane: We’ve spent the last six years designing minimal and refined men’s shoes, meant to be worn by people who live in the city. Our collection is not fussy or finicky. Without overthinking it, you can grab any pair of Jack Erwins, easily slip them on and run out the door. We were inspired to develop a women’s collection with this ethos in mind.
We’ve wanted to create a line of shoes for women in the city for a long time, but wanted to do it right. Finally, about a year ago, we felt ready. It’s been a fun and challenging experience building this collection from the ground up and we’re excited to see and hear the response.
Julia: I met Lane before he and Ariel, his co-founder, started Jack Erwin. When the two showed me their first men’s collection back in the day, I immediately started chirping in their ears about applying the same design principles to a women’s collection. Over the years, I’ve been able to wear a lot of the brand’s boots and sneakers in the smallest sizes, and I’ve always pushed Lane and Ariel to make a more cohesive and intentional lineup for women.
I’ve found that it’s difficult to find shoes that are clean, straightforward, and graceful, so we wanted to make shoes that are considered in every way, yet not over-designed.
Wearability was also a big consideration. I love a heel – but for the most part, I’m practical. I like to dress for doing. I grew up in New York City and I think a lot of New Yorkers share that mentality.
What is it like working together and being in a relationship?
Lane: It’s kind of like not working together and being in a relationship, only instead of stressing/discussing/sometimes disagreeing about what sounds best for dinner, we get to stress/discuss/sometimes disagree about shoe shapes, zippers, and brand books. And, much like when you cook an amazing meal, collaborating on a beautiful shoe is pretty rewarding.
Julia: Well that’s one way to put it! There’s no question that we spend a lot of time together, but it’s pretty cool to be able to see someone you know and love in a new context. We understand each other better because of it.
What is one recent thing that has influenced/ inspired you?
Julia: I recently watched the Bill Gates documentary on Netflix, Inside Bill’s Brain. The number of books he reads is staggering. I don’t think there’s anything more inspiring than a person who makes learning a priority.
Lane: Downton Abbey. I have a little nostalgia for when good tailoring was a thing.
Photos Bogdana Ferguson