Don Jones is calm. He substitutes the word “fresh” for “cool,” and when he talks about his artwork, his voice is relaxed and thoughtful, the word “organic” creeping in often when describing the influences behind the clothes he creates. Designer of the clothing line Truffles, Jones has been customizing clothes since he was 18.
“I wasn’t able to find what I wanted, at least price-wise,” he said. That’s why Jones started taking things apart and putting them back together again.
Truffles isn’t named after the chocolate, rather the image it creates, what Jones described as “dark, underground, soothing, mysterious.” It’s a mushroom. He mentioned running into a mushroom farmer who believed that you could cool down global warming by farming mushrooms. So the name Truffles stuck.
The graphic designer and photographer said he takes his time with everything, he doesn’t wear a watch. “Stress,” he said, “will ruin the creative process.” What sets Jones apart, and what makes his clothes unique, is that rather than starting from scratch he repairs.
“There’s a certain process to it, it’s meditative, slow, you learn how it was made by taking it apart.”
His line is only a few months old and he calls it “a fairly new endeavor.” But the endeavor is already being talked about, with an upcoming Los Angeles meeting meaning there is a possibility for his clothes to be shown at Fred Segal.
Jones describes his line of clothing as a combination of military function, beach clothes and elements of indigenous culture, with a wear-and-tear philosophy. Sustainability and growth connects to the aesthetic in his work, crossing the line between what’s feminine and masculine.
“There’s a thread of history to it,” he said. “There’s a beauty of things falling apart, it’s about letting go, there’s a delicacy to that.”
With pricing between $15 and $250, Jones creates T-shirts, underwear, jackets and more.
His background in photography and design comes through in his attention to detail.
He talked about the processes he uses with his clothes, bringing in natural iron, copper, berries and clay, rubbing those natural elements into the fabric and stripping it off. The images on his clothes become the stains themselves. In one case he used metal mixed with ink, creating an image that will later oxidize. He calls it “super magical.”
Jones moved from New York to Portland three years ago.
“I just needed a change,” he said. ” I wanted something greener.” He said when he came to Portland it smelled different. “It was just exotic and enthralling.”
When prodded about future plans Jones said he prefers to live minute by minute. But the word “collaboration” came to his mind. He’d like to work with 1-2 designers and form a group where he could travel, buy fabrics, learn more about the various ways clothing is produced. But for now, he’s going to stay. “My head and my heart are here,” he said.