A few questions with our founder, Garrett Neff.
Why is Chadds Ford special to you?
I grew up in the Chadds Ford/Wilmington, Delaware area, and still have family and friends there. I played tennis and soccer and swam competitively in towns all around Pennsylvania and Delaware while growing up, and as an adult. I love coming back and bringing friends from New York to experience a rural, yet culturally significant part of the country.
What do you mean by culturally significant?
Chadds Ford has a very rich cultural history. I learned this in school, for example, in middle school I visited all of the plaques marking the areas where the Battle of the Brandywine took place. I'm not a history buff but it was a very significant battle, the longest single day battle and where more troops fought than in any other battle in the American Revolution.
Also, I've been very interested in the Wyeth family and their art. We had a Spanish Photographer friend come and stay with family in Chadds Ford to work on a project where she photographed the subject matter in a similar style to the way Andrew Wyeth painted, and in many of the same settings. She and I had originally met in Spain while I was there promoting a GQ Spain photo shoot. Years later she and I were speaking about different projects that she was working on and she said that she was going to visit The States to work on a project having to do with Andrew Wyeth in Pennsylvania. She had no idea that my family lived 15 minutes from every place that she would have been interested in visiting to complete the project. It was a huge coincidence and I suppose another sign of how important Chadds Ford is from a cultural standpoint.
This has happened a few other times with Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, and a few other locations in the area that friends from far away coincidentally wanted to visit, not knowing my personal connection.
Whats your perfect day like in Chadds Ford?
We wake up at my mom and Alex's (her long time significant other) place and go to Greenville Country Club for some morning tennis, a bite to eat and a swim. Then we head out for a little antiquing along route 1 to pick up some great items for the friends to bring back to their apartments or homes, while working up an appetite. Hit Hank's Place for some authentic Pennsylvania food with a little history. Brandywine River Museum is a must. Grab a coffee and hit up Longwood Gardens for a fountain display and to check out some old bonsai trees and a million other things. Then we head to Pizza by Elizabeths in Greenville for some low key, but elevated, pizza and salads before heading home for a whiskey and wine by the pool.
One day isn't enough of course. but we all know that. Definitely missing horse races, hiking The Laurels, canoeing the Brandywine. So much more.
How has the area influenced KATAMA.
KATAMA came about as I was reaching out for and inspired by simpler times outside of the city, away from the airports and busy urban lifestyle that became my normal in the fashion industry. I became obsessed with the idea of recreating the best childhood memories and building a lifestyle brand around the idea of getting away from it all but keeping the aesthetic elevated. The name KATAMA comes from the Native American word, which means "a good place for fishing" in Wampanoag which speaks the Algonquin language. There's an area called KATAMA Bay on Martha's Vineyard which is where I learned to sail and fish and went digging for clams, which is well documented in family photos which is the main inspiration. But growing up around Wilmington, DE and Chadd's Ford and having that balance is what I really want on a personal level.
I feel like Andrew Wyeth's art and my interests are aligned, especially when it comes to getting off the grid and where we both have spent a bit of time. This has served as an endless supply of inspiration for KATAMA. Between New England and the Chadds Ford area there is so much natural beauty. We have also taken color directions Wyeth's art. The egg tempera muted palettes of Wyeth are subtle perfection.
** Want to meet Garrett Neff and Shop KATAMA at our pop up in Chadds Ford PA this month? Click here for more info.