Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My Story, My London #MakeHistory

London is a place with such well documented history, that when I first moved here I thought it may be hard to create some of my own. Is it possible to carve a niche for yourself in a place with such a developed art world? A city where everything's already been done? For me, the short answer is 'Yes'. Over the past few years I've felt a distinctive shift in the cultural landscape, one where voices are heard & collaboration is king. This side of London has given me so much, making me grateful that my work is valued and that I'm in a place that offers me such nurturing inspiration.

This has been playing on my mind recently when I first spoke to Jim Beam bourbon about their #MakeHistory campaign. It's obvious why history is so important to the brand as they've seen seven generations of family members run the company since its inception in 1795. Looking at a company who've trailblazed in their field for over 200 years makes me wonder how I'm creating my own story. My mind instantly goes to life in the city. How has London, as a capital of creative culture, contributed to my personal history? What locations will I pass by in decades to come and still remember why the streets and buildings have become part of the fabric of my life and work.

Here I've selected some of my favourites - the London that makes me who I am, my history.

Brick Wall Lane: "Sometimes it's best not to stick to the routine"

Down a side street in Hackney in 2007, I shot a portrait of a girl holding flowers on a Sunday from Columbia Road Flower market. The image was a turning point for me as it not only produced great results that I was proud of but it was also the first image to be seen on my blog & purchased for commercial use. The image gave me the confidence to pursue photography as a career and if I hadn't decided to take a walk down an unbeaten track I wouldn't have discovered what I had. Sometimes in life it's best not to stick to the routine.

Tate Modern: "Work hard and stay humble"

People often as me what is it about London that trumps other international cities. For me there's one simple answer - the galleries. Not only do we have some of the best art from around the world here but many of the galleries are also free. TATE Modern is a place that's constantly redefining my image of beauty - opening my eyes to new and exciting work. The grand venue itself help to put my work in context and if I'm ever feeling uncertain or distracted, I know TATE will bring me back to centre. This is more than simply a place of inspiration for me as it'll be forever part of my history a key stockist of my 100 Beards book. It's a reminder to work hard and stay humble.

Kings Cross Station: "In such a big city it's nice to have a reminder that we're all connected"

It seems strange to hold personal value on something as communal as a train station, but when I think about it, much of the London experience is about public transport. My experience of the station most frequently come from my journey to see family in Scotland brining a mixture of excitement and optimism. I always have loved a good cross-country rail journey even as a boy. I particularly love Kings Cross since it's rebuild - it's a juxtapostition, geometric and industrial - filled with steel & concrete beside sandstone and tradition. In such a big city it's nice to have a reminder that we're all connected, no matter how overwhelming the surroundings may appear.

Victoria House "Connecting with new people is what life is all about"

My greatest pleasure in working as a photographer is the ability to meet people. Victoria House will always be a special place for me as it's the place I booked my first ever campaign shoot in the midst of a busy trade show. Every season the building is transformed into a show space for fashion week, a place where I've shot shows and met icons from the industry season after season. It offers something new each time I visit and keeps me aware that making connections is what life is all about - you never know who you're talking to so keep your mind open at all times.

My Studio: "It's a small step forward each day that keeps me on my toes"

There's no more sacred a place to a photographer than his studio. Although I've become know for my location work, particular through street photography, my studio is a place to experiment & grow. It's important to keep a fresh portfolio and my studio gives me the chance to consistently update my creative history. For me, it's a small step forward each day that keeps me on my toes.

Thanks to Jim Beam for sponsoring this photography.

Monday, 24 November 2014

GarconJon meets Ryan Fitzgibbon #HelloMr

The rise of the printed publication continues to build. There isn't a month that goes by when a new article on "Return of Traditional Media" is published - in October it was the turn The Economist to anaylise this phenomenon. Along with vinyl records, it seems to be growing at an impossible rate, connecting with an audience starved of tangibility.

One of the trailblazers in this world of print media is Mr Ryan Fitzibbon who's publication Hello Mr. has been making waves since it's launch last year. Only 4 issues in and he's already got an enviable readership, visible to all in the @HelloMr social channels. I caught up with Ryan at Ace Hotel in Shoreditch this month, while he was in town to deliver a talk on indie publishing. Check out our chat below on the challenges he faces with Hello Mr, living life as a Brooklynite and his perspective on London menswear.

Ryan Fitzgibbon, Publisher and Founder of Hello Mr.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up in Midland, Michigan. After school I moved to San Francisco but did quite a bit of traveling with my job at IDEO during the three years I was there, including a five-month stint in Singapore. In 2012, I moved to Australia and spent a year between Melbourne and Sydney. Now I’m living in Brooklyn, NY where I feel the most settled I’ve felt in a while.

What's your star sign? Leo. I’m told that makes me loyal and easy to love, but that I need to work on my ego. I’ll buy it.

Current album on repeat? LP1 by FKA twigs.

Describe yourself in 5 words? Contemplative. Not afraid to dream.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? First a painter, then a chef. Both were my creative outlets as a kid and I’m beginning to think I should start them up again…

As an editor you have creative control over a huge amount, how would you describe your actual job? Traffic control. Being an editor, publisher, sales rep and creative director means there a countless conversations flying through my inbox each day. In order to produce an issue or plan a party, the most important role I play is making sure that no one is waiting on me for an answer. Things always have to be stay in motion. Of course, that’s a very mechanic way of looking at the business. The best thing I get to do is connect people to opportunities and share their work with the world. In less than two years, I’ve worked with hundreds of talented individuals whom I hope see Hello Mr. as a platform for growing their audience and experimenting with work they’ve always wanted to create.

As you said, Brooklyn's your most recent home. How has the city changed your point of view? It’s both caused and enabled me to step up my game. At the same time, ironically, it’s encouraged me to narrow the focus of what’s possible to what’s essential to creating an identifiable and consistent brand. It may be time to start dreaming again, and given my moving history correlated with professional achievements, it’s hard to say if staying in one place can provide the creative motivation I need to grow.

What is the best thing about Brooklyn? The separation from Manhattan.

What's the most challenging thing about living in NYC? Dating.

When we met, we got chatting about the huge international draw of New York based solely on media attention. I know so many people who's dream is to move there without ever having visited. What do you think the biggest misconception about life in the Big Apple? New York is the city that you love but doesn’t love you back. Everyone here has to work really hard to stay here, so the “off-the-clock” opportunities you get to actually enjoy all it has to offer are far and few between. Then again, I could just be doing it wrong.

Favourite place in the city for:
A dance? Friends and Lovers in Prospect Heights.
A drink? Joseph Leonard in the West Village.
A coffee? Five Leaves in Greenpoint.
A walk? The Williamsburg Bridge.

See the full interview below.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

GarconJon wants... Winter Warmers

Since Monty the Penguin launched into the cultural consciousness last week, John Lewis got me prematurely excited for the festive season. This, paired with the temperature drop, has me focused on stocking up with winter resources so I spent my Sunday afternoon making a wishlist of items in preparation for December. Here's what I came up with.

See the full details below.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Team Thom Browne: Boulevard Vincent Auriol, Paris

One of the best elements to the menswear industry is comradery across brands. There's a frenzy that happens outside the menswear shows when team Thom Browne approaches and despite this, the chap on the right still had time to say 'hello' to his friend.

Apologies for the lack of updates on GarconJon this week, I've been working away on many exciting client projects as well as my new personal one 'Manufacturing Menswear' which launches next month. More info coming soon!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sovreigns Travel: Le Metro, Paris

A lesson in how to wear men's jewellery from the always stylish Robert of Thousand Yard Style blog.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Discovering Shoreditch Street Art with Uniqlo

This month, Uniqlo asked me to shoot a series of street art images around Shoreditch to showcase the truly unique visual inspiration available on every corner in East London. I took a jaunt from Benthal Green to Brick Lane, wearing some of Uniqlo's new washable extra fine merino wool and was followed on film to capture what I discovered.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Sartorial 7 x Atelier Scotch

For our 8th Sartorial 7 film we wanted to take things further afield to mix things up a little. After a successful visit to Pitti Uomo in Florence this summer, we set our sights to Amsterdam, a European capital of culture. Traveling from London, we headed straight to the new Atelier Scotch store to get dressed and fitted for a tour around the city.

As Atelier Scotch have seven design architypes and it seemed the perfect fit. Each of us selected a one look from each category from tailoring to luxury loungewear from the flagship Heilegeweg 45 boutique, then went on a uniquely Dutch adventure. Check out what we got up to in the film and see a range of photos by clicking 'Read More' below.

If you're interested in seeing more from Atelier Scotch, you can follow them at @Scotch_Official and let us know what you think of our adventure using #AtelierScotch on Twitter.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Preview: Sartorial 7 x Atelier Scotch

Check out GarconJon.com tomorrow for the exclusive launch of the new Sartorial 7 film with Atelier Scotch in Amsterdam. For now, here's a sneak peak at some of the polaroids I shot and remember to keep an eye out on @TheSartorial7 and @Scotch_Official on Instagram.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

GarconJon meets...John Jarrett #StyledByClarks

This week, British shoemaker Clarks launched its first dedicated men’s pop-up in Covent Garden. To mark the opening, I photographed four London gents in their favourite Clarks' styles around Seven Dials.

In our final interview, Fashion Editor John Jarrett talks about rock climbing in Portugal and food in Asian culture. See the full feature below and if you're in London head to 55 Neal Street from the 23rd onwards, where you can find my photography as well as a curated selection of Clarks' coolest mens footwear.

John is wearing Monmart Limit in black and was photographed in The Phoenix Garden - 968 feet from the pop-up shop at 55 Neal Street.

John Jarrett, Fashion Editor at Individualism.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? Born and raised here in London. Still here!

What's your star sign? I don't believe in star signs, but I was born in mid-May so I guess, Taurus.

Current album on repeat? I listen to a lot of korean music these days and although I can't understand most of it, it brings me back to the old school r'n'b days. I've been listening to Crush on You by Crush (크러쉬) and the Red Light album by Zion.T

Describe yourself in 5 words? Ambitious, Creative, Chilled, Dreamer, Determined.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a kid, I had my heart set on being a dentist. Don't ask me why, I don't even remember. I was always drawing since primary school and developed a love for characters and stories. I played a heck of a lot of games and wanted to be a character designer for games. That kind of helps me in being imaginative when it comes to adapting ideas to shoots and short films.

As the fashion editor of Individualism, you've done some fantastic shoots. What's been your most memorable so far? Oh thank you!! Appreciate the love! I think my most memorable shoot to date was the one we did in the Algarve region of Faro, Portugal with Australian brand AM Eyewear for our 'indiv on the road' series. Man, that shoot was full-on! My team and models flew over from London and we shot in 40 degree heat! We only had 2 days to shoot and location scout and on top of that I lost my contact lense solution. Our camera ended up broken, we had to climb rocks to get to the best location and it was a race against time to get as many shots we could whilst the sun was out. The bright side was that we got to jump into the sea with what little break-time we had.

You've turned your hand to quite a few things over the years. What drew you to move into fashion? I wanted to be a character designer and pursued that dream going into university. My dream was to work at Pixar in the US or in Japan but that wasn't something that was readily obtainable at the time. After graduating and working briefly in an animation studio here in London, I felt that it wasn't the right career for me. So decided to use my knowledge of character design in fashion.

As a stylist you must be constantly looking for new designers - are there any you're excited about currently? Absolutely, I've kept my eye on a few new brands, one of which is Diego Vanassibara. Those shoes are amazing. He experiments with classic shoe styles mixing in hand-carved wooden panels. In terms of British brands, I'm really excited about Waven (pronounced Woven), which is a London-based brand whose aesthetic is built on contemporary casual styles with it's main focus on denim at an affordable price-point.

You've got quite bold style and I remember you told me a couple years ago that your Mum still doesn't understand your dress code. Why do you think you've been drawn to dressing differently? Yeah she makes fun of the fact that my styles change regularly. It's not a case of me being drawn to dressing differently but I had always been shy and needed a way for me to be creative and socialise. I'm sure most people get heckled at when they're even the slightest bit different in the way they dress. When i'm walking around with the Indiv crew we always get asked if we're characters of Boardwalk Empire.

Having an eye for the unique, who do you think dresses well? This one is super hard as I know a lot of guys that I actually look up to when it comes to style. I think it's definitely got to be my Outlanders brothers. Everyone has different styles. We all adopt many styles from street, smart to contemporary. Even Taka has this bohemian thing going on.