I think in order for anybody to understand why the johnnie-O brand was created, they might need to know a little something about yours truly.
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the fifth of seven kids. We moved to Chicago in 1968, then moved to Los Angeles in ‘72, and then moved back to Chicago in ‘74. I spent most of my time growing up on the north shore of Chicago in a town called Winnetka, a place where blue blazers, khaki pants, and “alligator” shirts were pretty much the norm. Ten years later I went back to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. Suddenly, I saw fewer blue blazers and more corduroy OP shorts. Needless to say, my penny loafers got a lot less play than my new flip flops.
Upon graduating from college, I embarked on a career in radio and television advertising sales back in the midwest. But before I knew it, I was back on a plane to Los Angeles for the third time in the fall of 1997, and I haven’t looked back since. After a few more years in advertising sales and some walking in my sleep selling financial printing in LA, I had an idea, an idea that was rooted in years of blue blazers, penny loafers, and khaki pants coupled with years of flip flops, board shorts, and graphic t-shirts. Ten years later, johnnie-O, the brand, is making good on my original vision of bringing west coast prep to life.
Who’s to say a guy can’t wear khaki shorts with a blue blazer? Who’s to say a guy can’t drink margaritas with a strip steak? Or eat fish tacos with a glass of red wine, for that matter? Who’s to say a guy can’t love links golf at Chicago Golf Club and still love playing in the canyons of Bel-Air Country Club? Who’s to say a guy can’t love swimming in a fresh water lake and surfing in a salt water ocean? And who’s to say a guy can’t love his family and friends just as much on the west coast as he can in the midwest?
Certainly not me……….