I’d like to share the story of how I met Rachel. It was actually on the street months ago when I asked to take this streetstyle pic of her. Turns out that photo was a good indicator of her personal style and how she expresses herself through her clothing. Rachel takes alot of vintage pieces and basics and works them into an outfits that are greater than the sum of their parts. Photographing this style profile was a good reminder for me that it’s not just the individual pieces you wear but how you coordinate them that makes the difference.
How has living in New York influenced your style?
New York City has given me the balls to dress genuinely. When I was a kid, I would prance around my parent’s house in get-ups I’d never dream of wearing in public. But this city is incredibly magical and filled with such brilliant, passionate people and being here makes me feel brave, in style and in life.
How did you build up your current wardrobe to where it is?
I have to say, I don’t particularly enjoy shopping. It takes forever and trying on clothes is exhausting. I prefer to take long strolls through the city, maybe do some gallery hopping and then let pieces come to me. If I don’t set out to shop, I end up browsing anyway and find great things.
You mix in alot of vintage items , what makes a vintage item worth picking up for you?
If it makes my heart race, I’ll buy it.
You told me you about your love of hats, how did that develop?
Growing up, I stalked Bill Cunningham’s photos and lived vicariously through them. Over time, I noticed how beautiful women looked when they were wearing hats and I wanted to be like them. Now, it’s part of me. If an ensemble were a cake, the hat would be the cherry. And for some reason, baseball caps make me feel extraordinarily sexy, so I like that.
See the rest of the feature with Rachel after the jump
I respect girls who are are about to look great AND express aspects of their personality through their personal style. Gia is a fellow Parson’s graduate and she currently works as a PR coordinator for Comme des Garcons which is doubtlessly a dream job for many. I implicitly trust her taste when it comes to womenswear and I think she has an incredible eye for aesthetics in general (not just when it comes to fashion). While she is often low-key and subtle with the way she dresses, Gia can also put together looks that break necks with ease.
How does everyday life in New York inspire the way you dress?
I pay more attention to what guys wear in this city. It just looks so much more comfortable and the silhouettes are classic. Guys in New York aren’t afraid to play around with prints and colors and I do take inspiration from that. There’s so many visuals in New York that make me take notice : it could be anything from street art to cereal packaging. I recently bought a few pairs of Happy Socks besides I liked the colors in the snack of aisle of M2M (ie my favorite, Pocky). Of course I had get red and white socks as well before going to the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Whitney.
When did you start buying designer clothes?
The turning point was when I started working at Assin in Melbourne which is an amazing store that stocked Ann D, Dior Homme, Margiela, Junya, Number (N)ine, Haider Ackerman.
I learned a lot about menswear there and I managed to come away with some great pieces from my time there.
Junya Watanabe SS2012 Cropped Rider Jacket
Junya Watanabe SS2012 Floral Print Dress
Junya Watanabe SS2012 Boots
You own some wilder pieces as well as some solid basics. How do you balance practicality and comfort against aesthetics in your wardrobe?
My actual clothing that I wear day to day has to be very comfortable. I walk around alot and I don’t want anything that’s too restricting. In general my style is pretty basic but I like statement pieces to mix it up. One thing I don’t compromise on is my rings. I never take them off and they feel so a part of me that I don’t even notice them there.
Comme des Garcon SHIRT SS2012 Strawberry Print
Comme des Garcon Homme Plus Cropped Jeans
Comme des Garcon Sneakers (No vis)
Junya Watanabe Shirt
J Crew Floral-Print Trousers
Junya Watanabe SS2012 Boots
What style inspirations do you go back to again and again?
The anime Nana.
Gogo from Kill Bill.
Nujabes music for the mood it creates.
Gregg Araki films.
You have some men’s pieces you wear reguarly. How do you work them into your outfits?
I’ve really gotten into just wearing plain white and/or black mens undershirts recently, like the Supreme/Hanes shirt or Bread & Boxers (worn in look 1). I like the simplicity of the cut and the casual feeling it provides. I like oversized cuts – button downs, like my new favorite is my new strawberry CdG SHIRT button down. Another favorite is my Rick Owens DRKSHW sleeveless hoodie that I’ve had since 2008 that I basically live in. I also frequently wear my Lanvin Hi-Tops and Homme Plus denim cropped pants. I just treat them like normal clothes and I appreciate they are less fussy than women’s pieces.
Photos by Rocky Li
I feel fortunate to know some of the most stylish people in New York and I will be showcasing their wardrobes and outfits in a series of Style Portraits.
The very first Style Portrait is with ‘Mr.Junior Watanabe’ himself Scott M. I have known Scott for almost three years now and in that time I have seen him make great strides in his personal style. Besides owning more Junya than anyone else I know he has really come into his own amassing a coherent and versatile wardrobe that crosses all four seasons. I asked him to comment on some of his favorite looks and pieces below.
This is probably my favorite outfit, I love the way the Noragi compliments the down shirt as a layering piece. The color palette is perfect, and it certainly catches some eyes when I wear it.
This jacket is my most recent acquisition from Japanese brand Undercover, and has been sought after by me for some time in my size and color. I love how it plays well as a technical and casual piece but was easy enough to dress up with a tweed blazer underneath.
I like to keep the pants on the plain side when I wear this jacket since it’s pattern is so overwhelming, but love adding textural accents to break up what could risk being a safe look. The mixture of striped oxford with herringbone, with camouflage is a great way to keep it interesting.
For lighterweight outfits I generally like to go for an almost classic look of a navy jacket and washed out denim, but like the twist of textures with this blazer. The jacket’s fabric and collar detail paired with camouflage lined denim is a nice way for me to break up what would risk being a common look.
Junya Watanabe Boots FW09
These are my most prized possession, if my apartment ever burned to the ground…. they’d already be on my feet. I’ve worn them most days I can remember and they sum up my ideal shoe in every way. Each stain, wrinkle and knick has a story to it.
A Bathing Ape (BAPE) Manhunts
These were a piece I saw back in 09 or so and couldn’t get off my mind, and through a lucky ebay search I came upon them for a ludicrous price. The ripple sole on a Wally silhouette is just the perfect amount of uniqueness to a staple shoe.
Trickers Boots w/ custom laces
I actually have a very strong aversion to Leather shoes and prefer suede day in day out, but these just sort of clicked. The cap toe and brogue combo is a nice change of pace from a longwing, shortwing, etc.
Many people have seen these from Visvim and dropped their jaw at the $1,500 price, as did I. This is the original piece that it was based on, and is around 200 years old. This probably is the most unique piece that I own, rich indigo dye and beautiful texture.
White Mountaineering Vest
This piece is my dream winter outerwear, it’s the most versatile piece I own. It has a goretex liner so it’s great for snow, down filled, and looks amazing with a blazer underneath.
Junya Watanabe Red Down Shirt
This piece would be on my back as well in the burning house scenario, there is no jacket that has captivated me or kept me entertained, and I get bored quickly. It’s a great piece because you can layer under it, use it as an inner layer, and it has such a radiant color.
Junya Watanabe Reversible Hunting jacket
This was my first reversible piece from Junya, which is one of his signature concepts. The weave of the fabric is very dense, and it crosses a great border between hunting wear and tailored wear.
Junya Watanabe SS10 Navy Gingham Blazer
This piece was my first Spring summer Junya weight piece, and I don’t know if I even have any other spring jackets besides this, I don’t really need another one. The fabric is a wild blend of Nylon and Cotton so it has a coarse texture without being heavy.
Junya Watanabe Camo FW09 Jacket
This was my second favorite piece from the runway from f/w 09 and something I hunted for forever. It randomly popped up in my size at the right time, and to this day is one of my wilder pieces I own, the pattern is insane in person.
Screenprinted Junya Watanabe Levi’s
These are actually nuts in person, they’re a cotton twill that is feather light, but have a pair of levis screenprinted on them off-kilter, Junya has done this treatment a couple of times.
Camo Junya Watanabe Levi’s
The jeans have perfect wash and a great fit for me, the skewed pockets are an awesome detail, and I love the cuff lining.
Junya Watanabe Leather Pocket Jeans
These pants were the very first Junya item I bought, back on December 4th 2009, they mean more to me than any other trouser I own and just hold that special place.
All photography by Rocky Li