i always take a moment out before an interview to close my eyes really really tight and make a wish to the fairy godmothers above that my subject is not a man (or woman) of little words. any one who has conducted an interview will know how excruciatingly painful it is to get a lousy "yes."/"no." as an answer to a well thought out question. lucky for me, ELLIOT was every interviewers wet dream. a man of many many words!
ELLIOT is the head fashion writer at Fashion156 and also contributes regularly to Topmanzine and London Kicks
What sort of things inspire you to write?
As a fashion blogger in particular you have to develop a sort of mental 'peripheral vision'; i.e. always being in the state of mind to be inspired. The most inspiring thing is people, if I'm being honest- it's other people, how and why they choose to wear what they do, seeing them on the street, knowing how they put this or that look together. And the designers themselves, of course.
What do you love about what you do?
Today was a good example - we got a case of necklaces from a new designer just launching in the UK and they were astonishing and made me excited about clothes all over again. The thrill of uncovering a new designer, or seeing a new show or inspirational lookbook is really exceptional. Being surrounded by clothes all day and meeting some wonderful, creative and motivating people is what it's all about.
Yeah, but it's not all free clothes and limousines! There's some very lovely gifts people sometimes give and some great events but it's usually the nightbus home. Though yesterday I interviewed Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who is one of my favourite designers ever and ended up at the private view of one of my favourite photographers. I guess that sounds glamorous when I actually write it down...
Anything you don't love so much?
Blogging in particular requires tough hours and a lot of research, but it's hardly rough manual labour for 365 days a year...
What would you be doing if you weren't doing this?
Working on my novel, playing electronic music with my band or writing about something else- what that is though, I've thankfully never had the time to work out.
What do you think men's relationship is to fashion on the internet?
It's good for everyone really! Men who are 'scared' of fashion can shop, discuss and get inspired by imagery from the comfort of their home and get style tips without a personal shopper. The second thing is that men who are fashion-savvy can expose themselves to a massive variety of media and expand their knowledge really easily.
Do you think fashion on the internet is dominated both by female-orientated content and a female readership?
It pains me to say, but yes- in sheer terms of volume and number there's a staggering amount of female-orientated content. Technically it is dominated by a female readership, but the grey areas- what ideas they pass on to any men in their lives, what gender of clothing they're reading about- tells a more interesting story.
Do you think it is changing?
It is changing. Online shops for guys have become more integrated, and taken globally menswear boutiques now offer an astounding selection of clothes compared to about five years ago. The internet has made a few 'stars' out of menswear bloggers/photographers/video-makers which is a really recent thing too, people who now publically promote men's style in print, on television and campaigns- in other words, avant-garde tastemakers.
Fashion sites that you think are doing something different & interesting?
I love men.style.com for the collections; StyleBubble, Breach Of Style, Hintmag (whose multimedia/forward-thinking shoots are really interesting); oki-ni, which has expanded fantastically as a menswear concept; polyvore, as I love collages and shopping (and this combines both); youtube for music video costume research (I'm obsessed with 90's house and eighties electro); Big Cartel as it's really like an online market for small designers; Oak and Seven in New York as the selection and product shots look so inspiring and editorial-quality. There's a blog called The Staple I like, whose writer focusses on a menswear staple each post, placing it in the realm of classic men's style like good books, coffee and music.
How many hours a day can you be found sitting infront of the computer?
About 23 1/2...
Where do you go to relax?
I spend a lot of time in Charity shops, taking Bay Garnett's advice that they're a good place to focus your eye. Walking through London is the most relaxing thing; absorbing the people, sights etc. I love the George and Dragon, Bar Music Hall, the parks (Richmond especially), the canal, the City, the historic centres of London.
Favourite item of clothing?
A charcoal Miu Miu cardigan, it's my favourite label (now RIP for menswear), I got it for my 18th birthday and have worn it every week since. If not, a very long wolf-print t-shirt I hacked the arms off of, a pair of Carola Euler panelled trousers, an inherited striped shirt, purple cargo shorts or my Siv Stoldal scarf.
Any fashion icons?
Neneh Cherry. David Hockney (the colours, the hair, the glasses). Grace Jones, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Romani people, City of London policemen, Oscar Wilde. My aim is to look like a robot from the future living in a 1920's forest. What does fashion mean to you? Historical materialism, or, constructing a personality. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Involved in some kind of cultural menswear revolution, getting everyone to experiment with neckscarves and knitwear, whilst writing EastEnders episodes by night.
Other great men on the web?
Guy, our editor, does a lot to promote young menswear designers, like recently Christopher Shannon, J W Anderson, Material Boy and QED. Tim Blanks from style.com is, of course, awesome.