Friday, 18 April 2014

Event: Fairground Talks with GarconJon

This Saturday I've been invited to speak with Individualism's Reuben Christian as part of a new creative event 'Fairground'. We'll be sitting down to talk how to make it in photography, challenges of blogging and quite likely some on beards. It was bound to happen. I'll even be signing copies of the new 100 Beards book for a special 'Fairground' price of £20.

My part of the event is at 9pm and is free to attend but the festivities are running all weekend (see below for other listings). There'll be booze on tap and fantastic food as this is an affair for all the senses. After our talk the music will be pumped up so be ready to bust a move later in the night.


The capacity is quite tight so grab your free ticket via eventbrite here before they go. See more info at FairgroundLondon.com.

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A response to 'Peak Beard' #100beards

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Today has been particularly interesting for me on the beard front. Usually a day doesn't pass without a friend texting me something along the lines of "just saw an awesome beard you should photograph" or being tagged in a photo on instagram of a '100 Beards' fan showing me their facial hair but today there was a turn in the conversation. The University of NSW Australia published a study which suggested that we've reached 'peak beards' and now is the tipping point for men to go clean shaven. In the wake of this I was bombarded by media outlets asking for my opinion on the matter and spent 2 hours on the phone to 8 radio stations across Canada (big beard fans it transpires) to discover if this trend is 'over'. As this news story seems to have generated more interest than the Ukraine crisis, I thought it only right to give my views in a post of it's own.

Firstly, if we're looking solely at this study it's best to get the gist of what it says. Basically it asked females to rate men on a scale of attractiveness with and without beards. Once they'd viewed a whole bunch of bearded men, they found the clean shaven variety more appealing. This leads to the question, if women find men unattractive with beards will the men be persuaded to shave? Speaking with so many gentlemen about their life with facial hair, it seems the majority of them don't have supportive partners, particularly when those are female. The growth occurred in spite of opinions from the opposite sex, not due to it. In this case, the argument to keep a beard wins.

On another note, we have to consider whether we've reached saturation. For me, I actually think we have. When I started documenting the facial hair trend on July 1st 2012, I had two thoughts in the first week of consecutive portraits. Firstly, how on earth will I find a new beard every day? And secondly, is this trend already dead? At the time I thought I was late to the hirsute party but in the months that followed I realised it was only just started to grow, pun intended. Today, nearly 2 years later, I feel the shift it happening and a balance of beards is starting to occur. This doesn't mean we'll suddenly be seeing a pack of Don Draper's roaming the streets but it does mean that those who don't suit a beard or aren't truly comfortable with one will give up the gig.

There's something more important to mention here. In different regions beard growing means different things. From what I can see in the UK, it's about returning to gentlemanly style, masculine grooming and taking pride in taking pride in your appearance as a man. No that wasn't a repeat-typo. Beard wearers aren't wearing sloppy joes and scratching their arse, they're probably cleaner than those "clean-shaven", more culturally aware, more buttoned up and more socially plugged-in. There's not a great bearded man I've photographed yet who told me they keep a beard solely because they're lazy. In fact, for many of the men I photographed they have stories of reclaimed masculinity in a feminised culture and aesthetic transformation leading to an increase in confidence, self-esteem and self-acceptance. You don't get a much greater transformation than beard-leaders Ricki Hall and Chris Millington who both have build fantastic modelling careers and fanbases around their ability to grow facial hair.

I'm asked regularly if I have a beard and when I respond 'no', after the shock has worn off, invariably I'm asked 'why?' My true response is that I'm not going to grow one because it's popular but because it's my truest form of self-expression. After photographing well over 200 gents with fantastic beard, it's hard not to develop a complex over your own average growth. As I said multiple times on air to CBC radio, it's best to leave it to the experts.

In short, if you're considering shaving your beard because some journalists have deemed it unfashionable then you probably shouldn't have grown one in the first place.



Hear one of my many interviews on CBC Radio above and please let me know your thoughts. Are you tired of the beard or will they live on? Is it a fad? Are they attractive to you? Tweet me @GarconJon or Instagram your thoughts tagging @GarconJon and #100Beards.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Oli: Shepherd Market, London

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I photographed Oli in vintage leather and Air Max Nike's for a mens street style feature in the latest issues of Toni and Guy's Magazine - out now. See Oli's full look below.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Henry: Green Park, London

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It was the glasses that made me spot Henry, wearing a Carhartt jacket and Clarks Originals wallabees on the street outside Green Park tube station. I photographed him for the latest edition of the Toni and Guy Magazine, in stores now.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Ronan: Saffron Hill, London

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Yesterday I spend a sunny Spring day on the streets around Farringdon shooting an editorial menswear story. There were so many potential street style moments that were missed but after the final frames I walked back to the station and spotted Ronan working on the new London Cross Rail. If you've been following GarconJon.com you'll know I enjoy some authentic workwear so couldn't resist shooting his facial hair for 100Beards.tumblr.com.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Ouigi Theodore: The Brooklyn Circus Event at Hoxton Hotel

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In 2007 I attended an evening class at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City with a special guest speaker - Ouigi Theodore. At that point, he was merely months into managing his new menswear brand 'The Brooklyn Circus' and I left feeling inspired and motivated. Seven years later and Ouigi has created something beyond a simple menswear brand, he's formed a global village of creatives and has gained a huge fanbase for his epic personal style. Previewing his latest collection at the Hoxton Hotel this evening, I was able to catch up with him and a selection of London's most well turned out gents.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Niall: St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh

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Edinburgh may not be known for it's street style in particular, but after attending last night's third edition of #TheGathering I met a significant group of men pushing forward in the style stakes. Of course there is a strong presence of facial hair but conversation was also focused on British manufacturing, ethical consumption and the finer details of dressing. A big thank you to Gordon, the man behind the project for inviting me to attend.

Check out 100Beards.tumblr.com this week for some new Scottish bearded portraits and click below for the detail shots of Niall, spotted outside St Mary's Cathedral in the New Town.

Niall wears glasses Oliver Peoples, jacket Peter Werth, shirt Topman, trousers Carhartt, boots Dr Martens, ring Vintage.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Sartorial 7 for Menswear Insight Magazine

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This month Menswear Insight launches their first printed publication and to set the cover alight they enlisted the Sartorial 7 gents. This time around, we've switched the line-up introducing a few new faces with founder Terry on creative direction and myself shooting the editorial. Check out the full range of portraits below and see the full article at MenswearInsight.com.