Off the Runway with Dalton Taylor: The Ultimate Cool Kid

Rick Owens, the American fashion designer, says, “The coolest thing is when you don’t care about being cool anymore”.

That’s Dalton Taylor, the Jay Gatsby of any party. His energy is breezy, effortless, like rolling out of bed and throwing on your favorite pair of jeans. He’s so relatable as he laughs when he tells me just finished getting McDonald’s this morning, and at the same time shows up on Getty Images because he’s so fashionably himself.

Dalton is an Omaha native and former Iowa State student who will be graduating from Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) this spring. He’ll be in good company with other famous FIT grads like Nina GarciaCalvin KleinReem Acra and Brian Atwood.

He says an empire state of mind is a real thing.

“I can’t even sleep when I’m in New York. You know people are doing more than you if you’re sleeping. I never feel like I can take a mental break. That’s the motivation here, you have to be self-motivated. It’s easy to relax in the Midwest.”

Dalton is currently working on his third collection, which he hopes to show at Fashion Gala Events 2nd Annual Fashion Show on Nov. 11.

A photo posted by Dalt (@daltonjackofficial) on

“The collection has a lot of black, grays and dark colors,” he says. “I find color themes to be limiting. You can’t escape that people are going to think of Christmas when you put red and green together.” 

The collection features mens and womenswear. He tells me the inspiration is satirically making fun of his teacher thinking his last design was very 50 Shades. He’s including lots of leather straps, hardware and huge earrings.

“Creativity is being able to not have to necessarily explain motivation,” he says. “You can produce something because you feel like you have to express it, and people can choose to appreciate it or not.”

When it comes to designers who he admires most, Dalton tells me he would love to have dinner with Damir DomaAnn Demeulemeester and Raf Simons. However, heeding the advice of Rick Owens, Dalton says he studies his designs the most.

“Rick Owens always says, ‘the more you make the more you learn’,” Dalton says. “I look at myself because I want to learn my strengths and weaknesses. If you can’t learn from your mistakes, you can’t evolve.”

After graduation, Dalton plans to start his design career in New York making clothes of the now. Much like Tom Ford and Ralph Lauren’s New York Fashion Week collections were available to purchase right after the show.

“I am always about designing for the now,” he says. “It’s hard for me to envision drawing inspiration from a different era because right now, part of fashion’s huge driving force is social media. Everything is now.”

Later he wants to move to Los Angeles for production management. He thinks LA would be a great fit because the bulk of the material used by designers is sourced from the Garment Worker Center, which empowers low-wage garment workers in LA.

Since I started with a piece of advice, I’ll end with one too.

“Don’t try to make connections, make friends,” Dalton says. “That what gets you where you need to be. Treat people like they’re like a family friend. When you find someone and you really connect, they are going to 100 times more valuable than an executive you exchanged business cards with.”

Isn't that exactly what Jay Gatsby did?

Follow Dalton on Instagram (@daltonjackofficial). All the cool kids are doing it.

Next month, one of Dalton’s dress designs will be available for purchase on Design Now.

Dalton is also available for custom orders as well. For more details send an email to or visit his website