If you think the only crocodile you can afford is the one adorning a Lacoste item, Jason Briggs offers an elegant solution in the shape of one of his crocodile wallets, available from a handful of high-end retailers and from his artfully decorated store in the upper Marais.
When we meet, he’s debating what kind of paint will best serve the artwork being added on his pristine walls by Regards Coupables, an up-and-coming Parisian artist whose claim to fame is his sultry artwork (and the subsequent Insta-ban which saw him lose his 65K-strong following – he’s rebuilding fast). Until summer, a bouquet of wild blooms by Sun Young Min grew in its place. As the sunlight warms this deceptively quiet street also home to the famous 404 couscous place and a rash of new eateries, the artwork takes shape, drawing eyes on the minute but impeccably, cunningly designed store. “I militantly think design and fashion should be inclusive. Same goes for art. Not everyone may have the means to buy one of our products or a work by our featured artist, but by snapping a picture of our store they can participate both to our brand and in the artist’s vision. I also like the fact that we get to do something ephemeral and of the moment, as opposed to the lasting principle that governs our work. A playful rapport with all involved.” Such playfulness can be found in the First, his double-sided wallet inspired by a vintage one he found, which was specifically designed to be slipped invisibly in a tuxedo.
Briggs’ backstory is the blueprint for Slasher career management: having studied law, he veered into telecom engineering before launching into consulting. One thing led to the next, and to the luxury fashion sector. Through friends (Azzedine Alaïa, if you are curious), he met Andrée Putman. What came next is any design enthusiast’s dream. Suitably impressed by this hard worker, she offered him a job. He stayed a decade and was in charge of turning her into a brand, as well as handling special projects such as the Putman hotel in Hong Kong.
After leaving Putman, it took him a few years to grasp his own desire to open a brand. He didn’t idle: more consulting, this time including architecture and branding. But his first love came calling again. At 16, he’d designed a wallet, cut from ostrich leather and which he still jealously guards in his office, and it had become a bit of a signature gift over the years, with friends clamouring for theirs. Finally, he gave in and started to explore this almost entirely untapped niche in accessories. The polarity of his professional identities – branding expert and ethical designer – pushed him to offer his designs at a fair price. Rather than make crocodile into the ultimate dreamboat of inaccessibility, he went the other route, offering it at an affordable luxury level, thanks to vertical integration and cunning design choices.
No crocodile tears over these purchases.