Our Story

The name

The name refers to the community of artists/artisans pursuing and creating inspiration.

What we do

We're an independent studio with an emphasis on small batch premium headwear. We also provide an inexpensive and fast solution to small batch full-custom premium headwear as well as custom embroidery on in-stock products.

We produce our hats by designing, sourcing the materials, and contracting a small batch factory. We decorate the front of our hats in-house through embroidery or hand sewn leather or woven patch.

History

Elusive Society was established in Urbana, IL as an independent creative studio in 2015 with a focus on premium headwear by artist/entrepreneur JW Martin. Growing quickly through the use of premium fabrics and an emphasis on high quality detailing combined with limited edition collaborations with artists, bands, labels, and brands, Elusive Society has a become a sought-after provider of small batch full-custom premium headwear and custom embroidery on in-stock products. In 2021, we officially moved to the Nashville area residing in Lebanon, TN, but still making trips back to central Illinois for the upcoming Holiday Markets this winter.

Founder's History

JW has owned multiple businesses in the clothing and skateboard industry over the last 30 years. In 1989, the week he turned 18, JW opened Danville Happy Skates. 2 years later in, recognizing the limitations of his market, he moved to the U of I campus in Champaign Urbana to open a clothing store/skate shop named Grungies. Two months into it, cringing from his decision to name it "Gungies" he decided to change the name and add an influence of pop culture such as original 1970s and 80s iron-on shirts, throwback influenced designs and mock prints from Droors, Clobber, Fresh Jive, Raw Vibes and all of the skate brands. He eventually landed on the name "Big Wheel Clothing Co." at the suggestion of his friend, Brian Dobrich, since he showcased a Big Wheel cart in the center of the store. He painted the walls light green and showcased large artwork from artist/skater Collin Thorlton. Quickly growing, he began selling Dr. Martens and had an extensive skate shoe selection, even carrying Droors Clothing corduroy test shoes that ultimately led them to form DC shoes. In 1999, at the peak of success of his shop, he closed the doors to move to Colorado in search of inspiration. He found it in having children with his wife of six years, Brandy, and began painting acrylic on canvas, as well as, creating businesses on the side. loH-Fih was a small t-shirt line that he started with a friend before moving back to Illinois in 2007 to open a restaurant/cafe "Brewstar" with several friends. Brewstar focused on specialty pizza and sandwiches and hosted art shows, but unfortunately couldn't make it after the financial crisis of 2008 and closed it's doors in 2009. JW focused on painting and illustration until creating Elusive Society in 2015, which started as a hat brand inside of Farm League skate shop in Urbana IL.