New York City, New York
At what age did you become fascinated with fashion?
When I was a kid, a lot of my influence came from my uncle and father. At the time, my uncle wasn't into suits, sportcoats, and dress shoes. He was into the sneakers, sweats, basketball jersey culture. He had a stylish way of putting together his outfits, and as a kid, I would always try to dress like him. My father was the opposite. He would mention Italian designers and had expensive taste. He wore suits often around me, so that is where I fell in love with the tailored culture. I had a good perspective and understanding of both sides of fashion which gave me a good balance. My mother, however, was the first person ever to buy me a sports jacket.
How would you define your personal style?
Timeless with a modern flare.
On memorable projects:
A good friend and I created a deck of playing cards that offers style advice called, "The Style Deck." The idea came from people asking “what items should I have in my closet,” “what do I wear with this,” and “how should this fit,” etc. To some, it is a collector's item, but you can play a game of spades with them as well.
What inspired you to create GentsAmongMen.com?
While making the post-college transition into the "real world," I knew I had to start looking for jobs that would lead into a career. I informed myself on how garments should fit and what staple items a man should have from the top menswear magazines. The more I read, the more I would share that knowledge with my peers who were transitioning as well. I said to myself, "I should start a blog." I ran the idea past my father while he and I were smoking cigars and the next day Gents Among Men was born.
You are somewhat of a cigar aficionado. How did your love of cigars begin and how has it become a part of your lifestyle?
I can't take the title of an aficionado yet, but I do love smoking cigars. The love came from watching my father. He would have a setup where he would put on jazz, pour his favorite cognac and light his cigar of the night. We would talk all night or just watch movies while smoking his cigar. I thought that was some cool sh*t. Cigars have become an important part of my life due to the relationships I've been able to build with men and women of different races. I have had multi conversations with Russian business owners to Armenian gangsters. A cigar is a common denominator. It has no race or prejudices, and for a lot of people it breaks down social barriers and provides access to people they would never encounter in life.
What are the top essentials every man should have in his wardrobe?
If we are talking about a man who enjoys wearing suits or dressing up; an appropriately tailored navy or midnight blue suit, crisp white shirt, dark and light gray trousers. Cotton chinos and blue jeans for casual situations, and a brown pair of long wing lace-ups, loafers (tassels if you prefer), and I would throw in suede or leather Chelsea boots.
What are some of the challenges you face as a style maker?
When you or other people put you in a position of authority, you have to live up to that status. I am a VERY private person, so the challenge as a "style maker" is always making sure my outfit are right. Plus, my style and closet are becoming more minimalist, which means I might wear some of the same items/outfits over and over. That alone takes away the variety and the "what I wore today" experience. It is challenging but exciting at the same time it reduces the time and labor of figuring out what to put on every day. I rather use that energy towards something more productive.
Spring/Summer 2017 will be here before you know it. What are some trends men should look for as it gets warmer?
Dress comfortable, honestly. Warmer seasons are difficult. I keep my attire very lean during the warmer seasons. Spring is my favorite season. Spring allows me to be able to throw on a deconstructed blazer or suit without overheating. I think good investments would be lightweight suits, sports jackets, trousers, etc. A cotton/linen blend is an excellent choice. Pick up a few polo shirts, lightweight sweaters for casual nights out. I always tell people to chill out on the layering. It's too hot outside for all of that. Style, in my opinion, is being about looking good and feeling comfortable.
On upcoming projects:
I am working with a good friend on a plant based detergent to help kids fight Autism. I am very excited about this project because we are helping children around the world.
What is your dream job or project?
My dream job is to be in a position to help others feed and support their families. I don't want to limit myself to the possibilities of what a dream job can or should be. Of course, being your boss and getting paid for your craft and creativity is ideal, but if I come across a job or opportunity working for someone else but allows me to help others, then I am open to that as well.