The Obtainer - 3/13/24, Wednesday

↦ Style Strategies: Benjamin Edgar Gott

The Obtainer
The Obtainer

Wednesday, March 13th Edition

Single cigarette holder
Single cigarette holder
Cory Ohlendorf

You would be intimidated to talk with our guest today, the founder of the much-buzzed-about An Object Company … if he weren’t such a nice guy. It must be those deep Midwestern roots.

- Cory Ohlendorf, Editor in Chief ⋯ @coryohlendorf

Style Strategies

How the Industrial Designer Shops

Benjamin Edgar Gott

The word “visionary” gets thrown around a lot, like the term “iconic,” but Benjamin Edgar Gott lives up to the visionary moniker that is often bestowed onto him. The multi-disciplined designer from Chicago has a knack for imagining cool things and then working to see them into fruition. His stylish industrial design is at the core of An Object Company, his brand/design studio under which he releases limited-edition products, like the infamous single cigarette holder, milled out of a single block of stainless steel. His technical expertise and playful approach to design have led him to work alongside some of the best, including the late great Virgil Abloh, SSENSE and Vault by Vans.Other witty and unconventional (yet no less serious) approaches to design include founding Boxed Water, as an alternative to wasteful plastic bottles. “The genesis of the idea was creating something that was taking a step in the right direction towards more sustainable, more efficient, packaged water company,” he tells me. “There is a larger notion though about responding to customer behavior as well... sure we could all use refillable bottles, they are indeed better than any packaged water solution. But, the general behavior was not that.” Endlessly curious, with an understated personal style and a eye for detail, we had to know more about his approach to buying.

Describe your style in five words or less.

Dark blue merino.

What’s the common approach you use for all your projects?

Powered by curiosity. Like an insanely deep curiosity.

Curiosity seems to be evident in all that you do. Why is it important to always be a student in whatever you’re doing?

It's the fountain of youth. You're either expanding or atrophying. I think your desire to learn, your depth of curiosity, is directly related to how passionate you are about something.

Can you talk more about the process of the stainless steel hanger? How do you decide which objects to create?

The hanger work started with the marble ones. It really came from my time when I was doing more traditional fashion, and cut-sew clothing. My designs were really reduced—no logos, marks, etc—and I needed something to make my garments stand out on the rack. While no store ever let me do my marble hangers, the idea shaped how I view the idea of a product's ability to “communicate” a large story almost instantly with its sheer existence. The stainless steel version is made using a process called waterjet cutting. It's almost poetic. The idea of a bit of water and grit being able to cut through a solid stainless steel plate with such precision.

Cushion crew socks, $27 by Knest Knit

What’s the best thing you’ve bought under $20 recently?

This is a fun question. This sock company, Knest Knit, is just amazing. They're often sold out, but reach out to them via DM/email as they often have stock around.

Cushion crew socks, $27 by Knest Knit

What was the item that you thought about the longest before buying?

I really don't shop a lot, and when I do I'm fairly compulsive/direct in what I want. Honestly, it was probably a Staub pot that I use on the rare occasion when making pasta at home.

Cast iron five-quart Dutch oven, $198 / $179 by Staub

One item that you cannot part with.

I have this Herno Laminar dark blue long car coat that I've had for too long—four to five years. Maybe longer. They don't make it anymore and I'm a bit hard on my clothes, so it could probably be replaced ... but I just love it.

Three favorite brands, currently?

Do you shop more online or in person?

I wish I did more in-person, but almost entirely online.

What’s something you’re looking to buy at the moment?

Still looking for the perfect sweater. I love merino, but I can't seem to find the thickness I'm after—I want something really substantial. I'm really into this cashmere one—shape and density wise—it's just not merino and it isn't available in navy.

Cashmere crewneck sweater, $445 by P.Johnson

Best city for shopping?

New York I'd say? Maybe a boring answer, but you truly can get anything you want in-person there and it makes the process so much more enjoyable.

Necessary extravagance?

Dining out at a proper restaurant fairly often. I've tried to reduce it, but I end up feeling like I'm losing the pulse of the city/scene a bit. I often eat alone and find it a great way to observe the “right now” energy of any place.

501 '93 straight-fit jean, $98 by Levi's

Something you refuse to spend money on ...

Oddly, maybe jeans? I have tons of 501s, but I just buy the regular release ones off their site. You have to really dig, but some of the washes are fantastic each season. I came from a world where I was buying Dior Homme jeans back in the day and totally justifying that expense.

What’s something you buy multiples of (either by design or by default)?

Often jeans, actually. If I like a wash, I'll buy a few pairs. Shoes as well. If there is a sneaker I like, I'll buy two to three pairs.

501 '93 straight-fit jean, $98 by Levi's

Are there benefits of being based in the Midwest? Opposed to New York or L.A.?

There are some of the obvious cost of living things, but I think there is something to be said for looking from the outside in. We are not in the middle of it every day, every minute. I've often wondered if that creates points-of-view that feel incredibly new as they're less informed by the current zeitgeist. I also just love the weather here.

What’s one shopping hack that you can let everyone know about?

I don't know if I really have one. I feel weird as it's like my third time bringing up the material, but I truly find merino to be better than cashmere for a variety of reasons and think more people should opt for it as it's often considerably more affordable and I just find it so much more elegant.

Smart Buys
Smart Buys

The sales and discounts our team is currently watching.

UNIQLO's viral crossbody bag is back and for the next 24 hours, you can get it on sale. It's available in nearly a dozen colors, so there's bound to be one that suits your style.

$19.90 / $14.90 by UNIQLO

J.Crew is hosting a suiting sale, offering up to 30% off their popular and well-made jackets, trousers and accessories. Buy now and be ready for the coming wedding season.

$498 / $349.50 by J.Crew

The internet's favorite cookware is having an impressive sale (up to 40% off select items). Which means now's the time to get a quality cast-iron Dutch oven while it's under a hundred bucks.

$140 / $90 by Great Jones

Huckberry is doubling down on their sale, offering an additional 15% off marked-down items once added to your cart. We picked up one of Wythe's flannel shirts for nearly half off.

$188 / $119.85 by Wythe

Right now, you can get up to 50% off plants during The Sill's semi-annual sidewalk sale. So it's the perfect time to add some greenery into your home, like this cool ponytail palm.

$98 / $69 by The Sill

Ready to upgrade your oral care routine? This dentist-recommended water flosser comes with 10 settings (including massage mode for gum stimulation) and is now 40% off.

$99.99 / $59.99 by Waterpik

Worth a Read
Worth a Read

The best story from around the web.

For his new book American Flannel, Steven Kurutz spent three years documenting one company’s epic struggle to create a 100% American-made flannel shirt.”


Mood Board
A timeless mood

A timeless mood 🦬

January 10