Meet Mark Calder, Creative Director of Calder Carmel- one of Patrick James's premier vendors. This designer brings a touch of sophistication and style to each of his pieces - including unique abalone shells as buttons - and we were honored to have him in our Fresno store after a meeting at our buying office, as we sat down to discuss his career, inspiration, and state of the industry. Read on to learn more about Mark, and his distinct designs.

Mark Calder of Calder Carmel

How did your career start?

I was a kid growing up in Newport Beach and had a love of beautiful clothes from the day I could speak. I got an after-school job at my favorite store, At-Ease, which helped support my clothing habit.

What inspired you to start Calder Carmel?

I had the great fortune of working for incredible companies and spent 27 years at Robert Talbott, 20 of those designing shirts, sportswear, and clothing. I had a spiritual call upon my life - a step out in faith, if you will - to fulfill a lifetime dream: design and build beautiful clothing without compromise, and serve the best merchants in the country.

Abalone shells used to make buttons

In designing your collections, where do you draw inspiration from?

My inspiration is from the natural world around us! I have been blessed to live on the Monterey Peninsula for the past 22 years, and am overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounds us. Color is our key to creating a singular look and the source of our unique expression.

You've made the decision not to compete with the stores you sell via the internet or your own stores - what lead you to that decision?

I grew up in a better-specialty store environment and believe that personal connection is the key ingredient to communicating exceptional quality, value, and style. Professional sellers are the essential ingredient in providing superior customer service. Our goal is to support the great stores that faithfully serve their respective communities.

Mark Calder of Calder Carmel

What is the importance of the role that independent menswear stores like Patrick James play in today's world?

Patrick James is a member of an exceptional group of discerning merchants which faithfully serve their communities by providing superior products and professional assistance.

What's one item you never leave home without?

My glasses! I need them to drive! But I am fine designing without them!