Nathaniel "Natty" Adams

FRENCH QUARTER

Writer and Designer | nattyadams.com

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Natty was raised in Greenwich Village, studied at NYU, and earned a master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. After working for several high-end men's runway and luxury clothing designers, he founded his own company that specializes in fine custom tailoring and bespoke suiting. He has written extensively on the subject of dandyism and men's fashion in his own books We Are Dandy and I am Dandy as well as in articles seen in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Harper's Bazaar. He is currently ensconced in a French Quarter dwelling while at work on his next book — a historical biography set in Civil War New Orleans.

WHY NEW ORLEANS?

After my wife finished her nursing degree at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, we decided we desperately needed to move somewhere with a vibrant street culture, nice architecture, lots of greenery, and a knowledge of spices that goes beyond Old Bay Seasoning.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO NURTURE CREATIVITY?

I take lots of walks. It's something New Yorkers are quite used to and from the French Quarter I can walk to the End of the World or the Ogden Museum in under an hour. In a verdant city with beautiful architecture and eccentric, attractive, and stylish people, there's no shortage of inspiration.

HOW DID THE PANDEMIC INFLUENCE AND AFFECT YOUR CREATIVITY?

I rethought the kinds of suits I wanted to be making and the kind of clients I wanted to court. We all had a great reckoning with mortality and the abundant feeling of life's-too-short-ism made me more determined that the things I leave behind me should be beautiful ones. I hope when vintage nerds 50 years from now find a Natty Adams tag at an estate sale they feel like they've found a treasure.

WHAT IS INSPIRING YOU RIGHT NOW?

At the moment my biggest aesthetic inspirations are sexy Helmut Newton photographs, old Mediterranean men in rumpled linen suits, and the music of The Wedding Present.

BIGGEST INSPIRATION IN YOUR WORK?

My clients are my biggest inspiration, because I feel like each one is a co-designer on their unique garment. Other than that, architecture remains my biggest inspiration, along with the decorative or applied arts. As much as I take inspiration from all visual arts (and get creatively turned on by music), I always find my greatest inspiration in works of art that are made for living — buildings, ceramics, glassware, furniture, and jewelry. Like fine clothing, they combine beauty with necessity and utility.

FAVORITE QUOTE?

"Unquestioning devotion to authenticity is, in any department of life, a mark of the naive — or worse." Kingsley Amis

Answers were edited for length and clarity.

This article appeared in the April 2022 issue of Adore