Growing up, Presley Oldham fully understood he would never be an “Under-Armour-gym-shorts-Highland-Park boy.” He was too obsessed with acting, dancing, writing and art.
As a member of one of Dallas’ most can-do creative clans, that makes sense. His uncle, Todd Oldham, is the fashion designer who spent the ’90s making clothes and hanging out with models on MTV’s House of Style before expanding his oeuvre into furnishings, art books and more. Presley’s dad is Dallas sculptor Brad Oldham, famed as the co-creator of Deep Ellum’s massive, metallic Traveling Man. Presley still recalls the family factory near the Design District where his uncle fussed with bolts of fabric and his dad crafted metal into funky buttons and hardware.
So it was perhaps inevitable that Presley, now 26, would fall into fashion. Granted, it was an indirect route: HPHS turned into Booker T., which turned into NYU. He helped out at uncle Todd’s current studio in New York. (A random day might include actress Susan Sarandon at the door.)
Presley had just moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting when the pandemic hit. In isolation, he made things. He loved old pearls and beads. His friends coveted the funky pieces, so he made more. By the time he landed in his grandparents’ arty guest house in Santa Fe to ride out 2020, he had launched his small namesake line.
The pieces are all locally sourced and handmade. “Mass production for me is, like, 10,” he says. “I’ve had to ice down my hands before.” He loves earthy browns and greens, believes strongly in the contradiction of the “casual pearl” and says his pieces are all gender-neutral.
He models many of his own pieces and shoots his own photos because, well, 2020. His work has already drawn attention from Vogue because, well, Oldham.
But he hasn’t given up on his other dreams. “I hope to go back to LA and start auditioning again, and I’m working on a TV script as well,” Presley says. “It’s all very intertwined — well, in my head at least.”
Oldham’s pieces start around $80 and are available at presleyoldham.com.