An interview with Jort Kelder


July 2, 2018 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?

JK: Like a lady, I wouldn’t discuss my age. Let’s say, I witnessed Neil Armstrong landing on the moon… I studied law but I didn’t want a job as a commercial lawyer or corporate honcho. Instead, I loved to write and discuss politics, so I became a journalist for a Dutch business entertainment magazine called QUOTE. After a while, I became the editor-in-chief.


VR: Your educational background?

JK: I have a master’s in law, but I never worked in that field.


VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your clothing enthusiasm)?

JK: I am not married and do not have children. Concerning my style: I never let my girlfriends decide what I wear. They sometimes make fun of me for wearing old-fashioned stuff like suspenders and 3-piece suits. But let’s be honest, people prefer personality over a nondescript style. I don’t follow trends and promise them that my style will all be fashionable again.


VR: …and your parents and siblings’ reactions back in the days when you were younger?

JK: My family couldn’t care less about my style. My father is a tall man who, in his best days, wore 3-piece suits, but my brothers are both corporate guys who dress more typically and without flair.


VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?

JK: I am a journalist and TV presenter. My work is my hobby. Besides that, I love classic cars and try to collect a few. I enjoy sports – skiing and tennis are both lovely ways to waste some time, but the outfits of most tennis players and skiers are horrible. I would like to go back to the days of gentleman sports.


VR: How did you first become interested in clothing, and when did you turn your eyes towards the tailored style? Why classics instead of fast fashion?

JK: I am interested in history and like classic and timeless things that refer to the past. Call it nostalgia, but that’s the way I am. I love women’s fashion but I tend to mistrust men’s fashion. I believe a guy shouldn’t be interested all too obviously in his looks. (Yes, I know, we all are, but still…)


Featuring clothes from the JORT-line

VR: I have heard that you are extremely interested in the history of clothing. How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?

JK: In the nineties, when I was a young and an up-and-coming journalist, I published my first book called ‘Man & Pak’. I wrote that book together with my friend Yvo van Regteren Altena, who lived in Italy and devoted his life to tailoring, perfumes and exquisite food. My knowledge of fabrics is based on an obsessive interest in craftsmanship, a bespoke lifestyle and eccentricism. I learn by reading books, traveling and just watching.

VR: How would you describe your style?

JK: Classic with a twist. In my case, the twist can be suspenders. In my home country that’s my image: the guy with the braces.


VR: How did you become the face of Suitsupply’s Jort-collection?

JK: I knew and was friends with Fokke de Jong, the Founder and CEO of Suitsupply. Once I got to understand the brand and what it was trying to build, it became clear to me that the quality was great and the possibilities are endless. From there, we decided to develop the Jort collection.

VR: Why should my readers try the Jort-line instead of the many other lines on the market?

JK: The JORT line offers the best quality product and value guaranteed. The Jort line is all about detailing and luxury, but it is well-priced luxury. We use mostly super-150s fabric, which is a rich and delicate fabric of great quality. We have button flies and Neapolitan shoulders which are luxurious and found on only the best of suits. That said, we still make the prices attainable so many people can experience this luxury. One of my favorite items is the long cashmere sock, it feels great on and it is a simple luxury that anyone can have.


VR: Who or what inspires you?

JK: I’m inspired by men who invented their own definition of style – and that is like Suitsupply and it’s mantra of “Don’t just fit in, find your own perfect fit”. When creating the Jort Collection, I always read about historical figures who did something that had never been done before. Winston Churchill wore a boiler suit against the dust of the battlefield. During the Crimean War, Lord Cardigan tore apart his pullover and the cardigan was born. Prince Edward started wearing suede shoes in the city, which ushered in the end of the ’never wear brown in town’ London fashion rule. You need some personality to break the rules, so my advice is: just do it, make your own rules and be part of history,

VR: What’s your definition of style?

JK: Less is more.

VR: Where does the inspiration for the Jort-collection designs come from?

JK: With the Suitsupply design team, I choose an interesting historical figure with a strong sense of style. For the collection a few seasons ago, I was inspired by Porfirio Rubirosa and Gunther Sachs. For another collection, I was inspired by daredevils and picked a guy who broke a speed record on land and sea: Sir Malcolm Campbell. The most recent collection was about Men of Leisure, the great men who prefer the good life over an all-day job. Here, we were inspired by Gianni Agnelli or, in his later days, shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.


VR: Finally, what do you think about the style of Dutch men in general?

JK: Since the 1990s, Dutch style has improved thanks to importing the best brands from Italy. Suitsupply started in the new millennium and it adopted the Italian style. Now Suitsupply is the market leader and has improved Dutch style overall. But let’s be honest: in airports I still recognize my fellow countrymen!


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Only a beautiful life is worth living.

"If John Bull turns around to look at you, you are not well dressed; but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable".
~ Beau Brummell