Antoni Porowski is high on my list of style icons. Right up there with him is Neon, the Queer Eye chef’s foster pup.

The Montreal native recently teamed up with the California-based denim company J Brand to launch a 10-piece, sustainably-minded capsule collection. J Brand x Antoni is the dreamiest combination of casual and cool. There’s everything from T-shirt and jean pairings to an insanely chic two-piece leather ‘fit. 

This partnership is as authentic as it gets. Porowski refers to the American company as his “favorite denim brand” and has been wearing it in-real-life for years — both on the red carpet and Instagram. When J Brand noticed the star’s undying love for its Mick Skinny Fit collection, they slid into each other’s Instagram DMs. The rest is history.

Porowski approached this partnership with a plan: to make sure his collection comprises pieces worth having in one’s wardrobe … forever. He eloquently described his fashion line, comparing it to his specialty: food. He says the pieces are “as classic as mozzarella sticks and timeless enough to last beyond the days of social distancing and sourdough starters.” Iconic.

The limited-edition line comprises six pant styles, two jackets, and two graphic T-shirts. They also look really good mixed and matched with other pieces within the line. 

Ahead, Grazia chatted with Porowski to learn more about the line:

Can you tell us about the design process? Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact production?

We began curating a collection near the end of 2019 in Los Angeles, where I put a lot of thought into my dream pieces for a capsule collection of must-haves. We had our first fitting in January in NYC, and then when COVID hit, I was in Austin, Texas at the time, so it was a lot of back and forth with samples and feedback. I am so lucky that we had the chance to start the process prior to the world shutting down, but I have to say that even during spring 2020, we still managed to keep things moving.

Please explain the meaning behind the “aloof but present tee” (obsessed). And “sea salt tears?”

If I had to describe myself, aloof but present is probably at the top of my list. Growing up, I’d get insecure that people would mistake my aloofness for lack of intelligence. At my age now, I’ve decided to own it and put it on a T-shirt. Sea Salt Tears leans into my love of good flake salt and sensitivity, as shown in literally every episode of Queer Eye. I’m the one who’s usually first to shed a tear. The design is also a nod to my love of band tees. There’s something Depeche Mode-y about it that I just love

Antoni and J Brand Aloof But Present T-Shirt

We’re in love with the J Brand x Antoni Bomber jacket. I think I need to buy one for myself.

What’s great about it is that the fit is true to size so that it can be worn slightly fitted but still maintains nice billowy arms like a true bomber. A lot of guys go one size up and opt for an oversized look with a hoodie underneath. I’m proud of the details like antiqued brushed brass zipper and pockets at just the right spot. A pet peeve of mine is when pockets aren’t placed correctly, and you look and feel uncomfortable using them. These allow your hands to stay snug and arms to hang in that cool, carefree way.

Antoni Porowski J Brand

What’s your fashion philosophy?

Keep it simple. That said, I let myself have fun with pushing the envelope now and then. I always try to look at the future and think, “How am I gonna feel about this particular look when I’m older and wiser?” before I go for something really bold. Other than designing this collection, I really try not to take dressing up too seriously.

We know you like to wear J Brand on the red carpet. Which of these would you pick to do so right now?

Denim aside, the leather Modern Skinny Pant. They’re buttery, have the right amount of stretch, and instantly make you feel sexy when you throw them on.

Antoni and J Brand Leather Outfit

Did you film the video campaign amid the pandemic? What was that like? 

We did. The concept I aimed for was ‘A Man and His Dog,’ which is fitting because, during the pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of time with my rescue, Neon, spending weekends in Woodstock, N.Y and on farms around NYC and Pennsylvania. I’ve really taken a liking to local travel and wanted to convey a sense of tranquility, comfort, and intimacy. COVID has been a very trying time for so many, but as an optimist, I try to find the lesson in all of it for me, and that’s been an appreciation for how my life has slowed down. I have a lot more time to think and be with myself, which I feel the images convey thanks to the brilliant Terence Connors.

He was game for literally anything and got excited when he found out I was too. Before I knew it, I was shaving my head in a barn, swimming in the lake, and running around fields with Neon. We kept the crew as small as possible with my stylist Chloe Hartstein and groomer Kumi Craig, and everyone on set wore masks and practiced safe social distancing when possible. J Brand reps were there virtually, in a sense, being sent images to L.A for approval.

We have to ask: Does Neon have a custom J Brand shirt? That part of the video was epic!

She stole mine. Chloe, Neon’s bestie, put her in the Sea Salt Tears tee and tied a knot at the base so she could still run around. We were all shocked that she genuinely seemed to love it, but the jury’s out whether it was wearing her dad’s tee or just the attention it garnered from the rest of us.

Obviously, sustainability is a top priority but as a consumer, it can be difficult to understand how a brand is acting sustainably. Sometimes all they see is a more expensive price tag. As someone who’s very familiar with J Brand, what is the brand doing to reduce waste?

All of the denim in the collection is sustainably made using J Brand’s eco wash process, which uses an average of 90 percent less water in the wash process. Recycled thread and premium organic cotton are also used throughout the collection. What justifies the price for me is the lasting factor in that the pieces are truly great quality and won’t break down after a few washes. Plus, the cuts and styles are everlasting: I was very conscious not to lean into too many trends of the moment and wanted a collection I’ll be proud of ten or fifteen years from now.