"I enjoy risk," says Chris "Paco" McCauley, designer and owner of Los Angeles based clothing line Franklin + Gower. McCauley isn't your typical fashion designer: before starting his line in 2009 McCauley spent years working in finance. Although McCauley may have made the transition late in life, his interest in fashion was ignited in boarding school when he abandoned the standard uniform for a more stylish bow tie: "It wasn't even about style, it was a practical decision. I wore a really wide tie back in the seventies and I would always spill on it so bow ties made more sense." His desire to stand out in a crowd followed him through his successful career in finance. He recalls one day when working for HSBC in London, wearing "a lovely tan poplin suit on the trading floor - I was the only one. In London but nobody wears tan, everybody wears a dark suit." McCauley found his time banking and in boarding school influential in terms of design. "I am a big fan of the British shirt and style of tailoring" McCauley explains, "We bring some of that into Franklin + Gower with the double-vented jacket in a bunch of great colors."
Now based in LA, McCauley has a whole new kind of inspiration: "the t-shirt/denim guy" who might think, "Hey, I'm in Malibu, I'm out walking my dog, I need something to put on." Known for customizable blazers and shorts, Franklin + Gower is expanding. Fast. When I talked to McCauley, he was wearing Franklin + Gower's brand new cufflinks that aren't even in production yet, and the brand recently launched women's wear "just to shut people up" (Thank you!) and bathing suits.
Although McCauley counts Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Hamm amongst his famous fans, he sees James Bond as the style icon behind the line. "When he walks into a room he owns it. Typically he's dressed to the nines. Dodging a bullet, not breaking a sweat, that's a Franklin + Gower guy." A fashionable risk taker.
Here is a video of Franklin + Gower at work: