Where are you from?
How did u get into tailoring?
It was a fluid/organic transformation from art to fashion styling to designing.
You used to be a stylist in the UK til 2001 or so, what was that experience like?
Creatively it was amazing. At the time, the balance of power was shifting from the photographer to the stylist; the stylist was becoming just as much as a creative director as the photographer. Especially the work I did for Tank Magazine was on the avant garde side, which pushed me creatively.
I see a lot of important cultural figures downtown wearing your pieces, how does it feel to be making your mark on the cultural diaspora?
I think it’s great that people get what we do. We’re a unique brand and so we attract unique people – not just artists, but also bankers, lawyers, and business people that have a creative side that they want to explore and nurture.
You’ve done some cool red carpet looks, what is it like to have your clothes being worn by various pop cultural icons? Bruno Mars on the cover of FLAUNT for example?
It actually feels the same as seeing a guy on the street wearing our suits. It’s great that these celebrities appreciate and like our designs, but I’m just as happy to see a regular guy wearing our designs who has been drawn to us for the same reasons.
What differentiates your clothing from the various other ‘bespoke’ shops in the city?
Because of my art and styling background, I think that WHITE CHALK brings more of an artistic vision to mens clothing than the other bespoke shops in the City. In that way, WC is more of a fashion brand as opposed to a traditional bespoke tailor. While we do offer bespoke on the order of some of the other shops, and we can and do make traditional suits for clients, our vision is one that transcends the trends and thinking in the current mundane, bespoke world. I think what sums us up best is a quote from one of the articles written about WC calling us, “the innovative tailor.”
If I can’t afford a full bespoke look from White Chalk, do you have any ready to wear pieces for us plebians?
Yes we do – we have a full ready-to-wear line of suits and shirts, as well as a slight diffusion line of unstructured jackets that we will be expanding in the future. I’m actually very excited about these jackets as they are a way to take design risks that I wouldn’t necessarily put into a full suit.
You’ve made some very interesting pajama suits, what was the inspiration for this?
It came from an idea I had of Oscar Wilde meeting Basquiat and hanging out in NYC in the ‘80s, talking art and decadence. They were also a bit selfish on my part, as I wanted to wear one of them to work everyday.
Your ties are probably the most accessible pieces in the store, and they are incredibly eclectic and inspired. Recently the silk fringed square ties, tell me about it.
I like taking traditional menswear elements and putting my own spin on it in ways that haven’t been done before. The ties have turned into one of the best examples of that – beginning with the dual-layered gauze and now with the fringed, square ties. With the current ties, I took very traditional stripes and club tie fabrics, but cut them horizontally and fringed the bottoms so that they are at once classic but also are a bit roughed up.
Where do you see the brand going in the future?
I’d like to keep it somewhat smaller so that I can grow it organically and with my vision intact. I’m already looking ahead to an LA store down the road and then perhaps overseas to Tokyo, but at this point the response to the NY store has been overwhelming so I’m focused on making it the best it can be without diluting my energy.
If you could design for any celebrity who would it be?
What’s your drink of choice?
Vodka soda with lime.
Coming from South London and flourishing as you have, Give me one tip to give someone fresh off the boat in New York City.
Learn how to swim, and never sink.
Where can people online to get in contact with you?
Our website (which is about to get redone) www.whitechalknyc.com, or on Facebook at WhiteChalk or Instagram @WhiteChalkNYC
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