The Elder Statesman
The passion, diversity and unrivaled craftsmanship woven into the fabric of The Elder Statesman are direct extensions of its founder, Greg Chait. Born in Toronto, Greg’s childhood was never settled but spread across the United States – based in Arizona, but spending time in New York City, San Diego and Seattle. The youngest of three, Greg’s consistent movement influenced him at a young age to see the world from a variety of angles and absorb the daily activities, style and aesthetics of each place with a pointed perspective.
“Ever since I was a little boy, I always gravitated towards well-made things. Always. It was innately me,” recalls Greg. From tin-type photography he and his Dad would find at vintage gun shows to his mother’s taste for luxury goods, Greg always found himself searching and researching what he coveted.
Chait’s penchant for exploration continued into his educational pursuits. “Early on in University, I would get pretty restless in the towns I was in, there was no other reason for this, just that I needed to be on the move.” Studying in Santa Barbara, thereafter moving to London, Chait eventually created his own degree in ‘Communication for the Entertainment Industry’ at the University of Arizona. Post-undergrad, Greg relocated to Los Angeles for work where he simultaneously enrolled in the UCLA master’s program. “I was leaving my day job at The Firm to head off to night school, and this gentleman from Virgin Corporate asked me where I was going,” recalls Chait. “I told him I was going to class. He scoffed saying ‘that I was better off in the school of life.’ I considered it a premonition because both he and Richard Branson left school, and went on to build the Virgin Empire.”
Greg’s transition into the “school of life” started with music, a passion he conjured while on his first summer break at Santa Barbara. He began his career as an intern to Whitney Houston’s personal team at the age of 18. An unforgettable ride to say the least, he went on to work under the West Coast President of Arista Records and then eventually landed a position at The Firm after graduation. Greg’s arrival at The Firm coincided with rapid changes in the music business, which influenced his decision to remain a loyal fan to the music.
While continuing to work at the Firm, Chait and the owners of Australian Brand Ksubi collectively decided to launch stateside. He worked tirelessly from the confines of his living room at night for the first year, all of which resulted in Ksubi becoming a global fashion brand with strong presence and competitive distribution in the States. A full-time partner by 2004, Greg eventually sold his shares in the beginning of 2007. Working with Ksubi, entering the fashion world from entertainment, marked a crucial turning point in Greg’s life where a wealth of experiences, interactions and refinement of his own personal aesthetic found themselves needing a true place to exist.
Still carrying his childhood appetite for collecting luxurious items, Greg’s cashmere blanket collection grew exponentially of the years, yet never fully satisfying what Chait considered to be “the perfect cashmere blanket.” A friend introduced Greg to a collective in Canada that handspun yarn under a local guild of knitters, who he enlisted to create his dream blanket. “I was looking for something utilitarian, as well as the ultimate in terms of luxury,” says Chait. “I didn’t know a lot about the process at the time, but quickly figured out that it was ‘about the yarn,’ it has to be about the yarn. It’s the DNA of everything. So they hand spun yarn for me, which they then hand knitted into a blanket that weighed nearly ten pounds.” Greg returned from the trip with two blankets and the owner of Maxfield asked to see them. Greg showed his custom blankets, and left with a bulk order for Holiday.
Realizing that after years of collecting beautiful raw materials and exploring various markets and cultures all over the world, Greg decided to pool his inclinations for beauty and fine goods together to found The Elder Statesman in 2007. Named in honor of Chait’s late brother, Paul, The Elder Statesman not only fills a void in the current luxury market, but ties the worlds of weaving, knitting, spinning, and creating into a thoughtful, one-of-a-kind collectible. Beginning first with custom blankets, The Elder Statesman (now in its fifth year) offers a wide range of product from knitted hats, ready-to-wear, accessories, home interiors and eyewear with an additional line, TYRO by tes which offers the same level of integrity and style found in the The Elder Statesman collection but at a more attainable price-point. “With the Elder Statesman, I can draw on every culture, from Alaska to the South Pacific to Europe and Asia,” explains Chait. “Each culture is rich with unique fibers, knitting and/or weaving processes and it is this diversity that gives The Elder Statesman a character, a purity and an authenticity like no other. Every piece transforms the buyer into a “collector,” and will essentially, become a part of their everyday life, a part of their own story.”
Chait currently resides in Malibu, California with a private studio located in West Hollywood.