In considering the balance of living—both indoors and outdoors—John Elliott has teamed up with a new collaborator this season: Caterpillar, the iconic, all-American industrial equipment company. In Elliott’s concept, CAT links the FW19 collection theme—the nostalgic manifestation of a coastal “dream home’— by adding an element of utility and construction. The link-up stands as a metaphor for growth. CAT’s logo appears throughout the collection, while textile development is also part of the partnership—iridescent nylon, reflective taping, and waterproof corduroy evidence Caterpillar's more function-focused roots.

In our lookbook feature, John speaks to the story and inspiration behind this unexpected partnership.

The John Elliott x CAT Collection will be available for purchase Wednesday, September 25th through, select global CAT retail stores, and our exclusive partners: Barneys, SSENSE, HBX, Roden Gray, United Arrows & Sons, Estnation, and select global boutiques.


How did the collaboration with CAT come to be, and how does it tie in with the theme of your Fall / Winter 19 collection?

Our Fall / Winter 19 collection is rooted in a fantasy-slash-memory of a coastal ranch home in Northern California, my mom’s ‘dream home.’ This collaboration happened because we were curious about telling the story of constructing that home. The idea of what would be in that home, and how we would go about building it, brought us to a place where we were interested in working with a company that’s authentically American, and specializes in workwear. CAT has roots in building California’s agricultural economy, so their history tied in with our collection’s theme. The fact that they haven’t done other fashion collaborations and have one of the world’s most recognizable logos was also appealing. Growing up, friends of my Dad, who were working class, would wear their CAT logo hats on Sundays as a symbol of pride. I thought it would be interesting to collaborate with a company that was relevant to my upbringing and autobiographical.

You traveled to Montana to go through CAT’s Workwear archives. What was it like to collaborate with them?

We had the unique opportunity to go through CAT’s Workwear archives in Bozeman, Montana. We worked with them for several days. Being able to travel to a beautiful part of the country and see how people live is always interesting to me, but learning how all of CAT’s innovations are truly rooted in function was eye opening. Every detail that’s implemented in their products is intentional, and rooted in a real dialogue they have with their consumers, most of whom own and operate Caterpillar machinery. There’s a wild west kind of approach to living in a state like Montana, where there’s massive amounts of land and people own huge properties. CAT’s innovations come from function, their customers need a place for their tools, and proper insulation for when the ground is frozen, to get through a 12 hour shift. Hearing the stories of why these decisions are made, rather than trying to guess, was a dialogue we really enjoyed.

What was the inspiration behind the design of the collection?

I wanted to put Caterpillar in both an uncomfortable and comfortable setting at the same time. A lot of the stuff CAT produces is high visibility, so I thought it would be interesting to flip that and use iridescent fabrics. The fabric we utilized is from Italy and looks beautiful both on the runway and high street. It’s not something you’d necessarily expect from them. We put 3M reflective logo hits throughout the collection. This high visibility serves fashion and function, so I tried to find the sweet spot. For the French terry portions of the collection, we used heavier weight fabric with a ‘Double Dye’ finish, which is a process we developed in Japan. It’s similar to tie dye in the unique randomness of color. The products in this collection have a mix of earth tones, to reflect CAT’s roots in construction. Another exciting component to the collection is waterproof corduroy - it’s featured in the construction of outerwear and pant silhouettes.

What was it like to have Caterpillar featured in the Fall / Winter 19 runway show?

This collaboration was vital in telling the story of the season. We showed in a warehouse that produces modular homes, and it was striking to see the Caterpillar logo walk in that setting. There was an energy backstage, it wasn’t something people were expecting. I think editors, guests, and even the models were excited to be a part of that show because the collaboration was so unexpected. I like to tell stories about America and California, and CAT’s roots as an American company that developed the Central Valley helped reinforce the story of creating this dream home in a beautiful part of the world.

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