For those unfamiliar with Jax (née Jason) Taylor, allow us to explain. The former model fell into reality TV fame bartending at LA.’s swanky SUR Lounge—the epicenter of Bravo’s soapy smash Vanderpump Rules, now airing its third season. The 35-year-old lovable lothario is now putting his name and face behind a clothing collection with Xcalibur. We met up with Taylor while he was in town for MAGIC to talk fashion essentials, his surprising television success and how quickly he can take off a sweater.
How did this collaboration start?
I used to model full-time and I ended up doing a look book for Vijay [owner of Xcalibur] once upon a time. I told him I was really interested in doing some sweaters and I asked him if I could tag along for the design portion of the process. He said, “Yeah, you’ve got good style. You’ve got good taste. Let’s get together to pick each other’s brains and see what we come up with.” He ended up giving me a section of the company and the rest is history.
Is this your fist time designing?
Yeah. I mean, when I was a model, I worked for Armani, Dolce and Gabana. I was doing all of their runway shows in Milan. I’ve been around these designers for a long time. I figured I knew a little bit of the business. But it’s the first time I’m actually in charge of the clothing line, which is kinda cool. I’m a lot more behind the camera now, rather than in front of it.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the process?
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that people don’t realize. There are taxes from different countries when you import and export. There’s the cost of material: what’s cheaper from city to city. But you get what you pay for. Yeah, our products can be expensive, but it’s all coming from Italy. It’s really well made. I’m trying to work on that price point, trying to get it down. I want everybody to enjoy the product. There are a lot of people who love [Vanderpump Rules] and love me, but they can’t afford a $200 sweater and I understand that. I want everybody to be able to afford it. I’m not really about making money right now. I want everyone to wear it because it’s a cool sweater. I’ll worry about the money thing later.
What are your fashion essentials?
I really think a nice watch is important. And a nice pair of shoes. Those are your two essentials as a man. “You can’t bring your car into a bar,” that’s what I always say. To bring a nice watch and a cool pair of shoes is a good trade.
Vanderpump Rules is now on Season 3. Has the success of the show surprised you at all?
Absolutely. I thought that after the first season people were going to be like, “Really? Who’s going to watch this?” But people love it. Andy [Cohen, Director of Programming for Bravo] loves it, and that’s always a plus because he’s our boss. The ratings are through the roof. I couldn’t be happier. I think as far as the fourth season goes, you’ll see a transition. I have my clothing line. Some of the girls have their own jewelry line. Some girls have fashion blogs. Some people will be back. Some people won’t be back. We’ll see.
There’s an infamous scene from Season 1 where you rip off your sweater in a Las Vegas parking lot—have you tested these sweaters to see how easily you can remove one?
That’s funny! That I have not done. But I’m known to take off a sweater pretty quickly.