Vicksburg man fuses love of fashion, design

Published 10:03 am Friday, October 7, 2016

Through his new business in downtown Vicksburg, Eric Jones has fused his love of fashion and design, creating works that customers walk out the front door of his store wearing.

Jones, a Vicksburg native and the owner of Elite Designs, 801 Clay St., spends his days designing and then printing those designs onto shirts, tank tops, etc. in his custom apparel shop.

“I felt there was a market here for custom apparel and design,” Jones said. “A lot of people do it, but here’s where the art and design come together.

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Elite Designs opened about two months ago, Jones said, after he had been tossing around the idea of opening the business for a few years.

He said he was drawn to the shop under The Vicksburg apartments due to its location and curb appeal.

“Before I knew it, I was signing the lease,” he said.

Jones said he considers his brother, painter William Tolliver, to be the main influence for his interest in design and fashion, spending time when he was younger traveling with Tolliver, who passed away in 2000, to art shows in New Orleans, New York, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

“At the time I couldn’t understand it, but he was molding me then,” Jones, an artist himself, said.

It wasn’t until a rough day on a construction site — his family is in the construction busniess— that something changed and he said he went home from the job site with scraps saying, “I’m going to paint something tonight.”

“I went to Wal-Mart and bought like every color of those 97 cent acrylic paints,” he said. “Sometimes your spirit leads you if you just listen to it.”

Not too long afterward, he walked into Peterson’s to see if owner Bobby Marascalco would be interested in selling his work.

Almost a decade later, his art pieces are still on display in the store, and he said a sampling of his paintings would soon be hanging in the store next to his custom printed T-shirts.

“The T-shirts are art too,” he said. The custom apparel combines his graphic design, fashion and fine arts degrees, giving him another artistic outlet, he added.

“When I come in here, this is art in here too,” he said. “That’s why I am trying to create unique things. I feel like as an artist, your art isn’t good if it doesn’t move anybody else, and whether it’s T-shirts or canvas or whatever, I want it to move somebody.

Jones said works with customers to bring their visions to fruition and also works on his own design ideas, aiming to create new material to display in the storefront every two weeks.

“When you come here, I want you to say, ‘I’ve seen a (Michael) Jordan shirt, but I’ve never seen one like that. That’s why we say we are Elite Design because we’re always trying to have fun with it and be innovative.”