Interviews Style

American Dressing with The Great, the Denim Designing Duo

Good friends and nice clothes are two of life’s greatest pleasures. And The Great’s Meritt Elliott and Emily Current have established very wearable pieces rooted in Americana during their many years of collaboration and palling around.

The Great the Victorian lace trim silk dress

We spoke with them about what makes an American classic in fashion and art, their own wardrobes and why working with—and wearing—denim is so great.

Why do you like designing in denim?

Denim is universally loved, timeless, and the perfect medium for self-expression. We love how a different proportion, wash, hand, or a hole and a mend can be telling not only of someone’s personal style, but of their personal story. It’s the ultimate American treasure.

The Great, Emily Current and Meritt Elliot

Your aesthetic seems very influenced by California. Do you look for inspiration in your environment? What are some physical locations that you go to for creative musings?

We definitely infuse a casual, American feeling in everything that we do. We find inspiration almost anywhere — from an old children’s book, to a one-of-a-kind treasure at a vintage fair.  The creative, sunny way of LA always helps us stay inspired, as well.

The Great The Eyelet field jacket

What is the key to starting a business with a friend?

Trust, loyalty and fearlessness.

Do you divide your responsibilities or share in all aspects of the business?

We share in everything! We find that two minds are better than one, and we are constantly creatively riffing and challenging each other.

What are your go-to personal wardrobe pieces?

Jeans, tee shirts,  lace dresses with motorcycle jackets, vintage booties, moccasins, army jackets and menswear-inspired coats and sweaters.

What do each of you usually wear to work?

Some combination of the above! Always jeans or army pants. Perhaps a feminine dress with a jean jacket. Always a flat shoe!

The Great The Play silk dress

What are The Great’s signature pieces that you’ll keep reinventing each season?

Interesting, yet nostalgic proportions of soft denim, faded and thoughtful knit tee shirts and sweatshirts, vintage-inspired lace and prints, tulle and silk pieces, army jackets rethought.

You’re a quintessentially American brand–rooted in dreams of the West and comfort and nostalgia. So, in your opinion, what is the great American novel?

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

And is there a great American movie?

Easy Rider.

The Great The Mister slouched patched jeans

SHOP: The Great
—Britt Olson

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