You’re well known for your well-developed personal style, and that bleeds through to the magazine and your collaborations. Can you give me a bit of a walkthrough of how you approach menswear and how you approach style?
I think that it all has its roots in my kind of preppy, North Eastern style that I grew up with, as a real trad preppy. I would say my style now is just an evolution of that, just with better cuts, better fabrics and slightly more European-facing now than American-facing, even though I’m still incredibly faithful to brands like Ralph Lauren and old Brooks Brothers and things like that. I’m very inspired by the men with great style around me, more than I am by some iconic celebrity that’s most likely dead. I’m really inspired by the friends who have great personal style, and I kind of nod to them and weave it into my world when I can. The young, smart tailoring crew that I’m hanging around - that’s expanded my knowledge of fabrics and construction, and that allows that whole world to be fine-tuned. But essentially, if you looked at a picture of me in high school, I’d be wearing some version of what I’m wearing today essentially.
There’s been a lot of talk about how traditional menswear is changing or maybe dying - what’s your take on that as someone who’s involved in the industry and who has been very consistent in their own personal dress for a long time?
I’m certainly not chasing certain style trends, outside of maybe lapel size. I’m not a streetwear aficionado - I’m just not interested, although I do love brands like Noah, because I think they’re talking to a cool, smart, mostly urban guy, but really weaving in a lot of this cool trad stuff, from Barbour to seersucker. I think it’s important to stay relevant, and I like it when brands can do that, but for myself, I’m more interested in making a deeper dive into the finer materials of things. Cloth, construction, manufacturing - and that education happens from the people around me, from Michael Hill (of Drake’s) to my friend J. Mueser. I’ve really learned a lot from those guys.
That kind of leads us on to the Albini x WM Brown Negroni Cloth collaboration - tell me how that came about.
Well the thing that’s so funny is that I was wearing Albini fabrics made by tailors and I didn’t even really know it. One year I met Mr. Albini, I was wearing a shirt and he was like oh yeah, we made that fabric. And I was like oh yea, you guys create fabrics that are interpreted by everyone from J. Crew to my favourite shirtmaker. I was really taking a big educational dive on what they do and how it works, and I love the history of the brands - Albini and Thomas Mason. With all this negroni love that has been going around in, particularly in my world, and it becoming this kind of mascot drink for the menswear crowd, they were figuring out, well, how do we bring our two worlds together? Which is so amazing for me as that brand has such history and such reach, and for them to come to me and say ‘what kind fabric would you like us to make?’ I was like wow - that’s so awesome.
So the no brainer was that stripe, which felt very Italian in a way, like it could be under some linen jacket at the pool. And then they deconstructed the colour of the WM Brown target logo, which is based on the negroni, into this very sportswear-y alternative madras check, that I’ve had made up as a button-down shirt. I think it looks great on it’s own or under an overshirt or something like that. That was a real pleasure for me to have the opportunity to do that and they did such a beautiful job. The hand-feel of the fabric is so great, so to watch a bunch of other different tailors, ateliers and style houses like Crane Brothers reinterpret that fabric into their house style is, I think, really cool. It’s more exciting than, let’s say, working for a brand that is working with one specific house style. I just saw recently that in one of the Asian markets, they were making a kind-of kimono-tied wrap shirt for women out of that negroni fabric, and it just looked amazing. So I’m really excited to watch brands interpret their house style using this fabric that I’m somehow lucky enough to be associated with.