The Food Sermon: The Man and the Message

It was seemingly just another Monday afternoon in Brooklyn until a growing cluster of clouds vyed for a spot in the sky. Despite what seemed to be a day an imminent day of rain on the horizon, we still rode our bikes to meet up with Rawlston Williams, the owner and chef at The Food Sermon in Crown Heights.

We pulled up to the restaurant nestled on the corner of Rogers Ave. and Sullivan Pl. From the outside, the building structure is elegantly understated; a minimal black coat of paint accented by golden-yellow letters spelling it’s name. There was a sign on the door that apologetically read, “Open at 4pm. Sorry!” We were just a tad bit early but Rawlston greeted us at the door with his signature smile; the one that faithfully expresses love even in cases of fatigue. We shake hands and make our way into the restaurant while a gentleman patiently awaits for the clock to strike 4. Yeh, it’s that serious. And moments later, we quickly begin to understand allure behind the cuisine and atmosphere of The Food Sermon.

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “food”?

I think of intimacy. The idea of me or someone else making something with their hands; peeling and touching it, putting heat to it then you believing in it and putting it in your body is a big deal. A huge deal!

We all have our unique relationship with food. Where did that intimacy come from for you?

Well, as a child I didn’t like food because I grew up vegetarian and all the kids in the neighborhood got to eat stew chicken and others meats. But my aunt, who raised me, was sick all the time. So, when she was bedridden at times, I became her arms and legs at five or six years old. She would yell out ingredients to me from her window. “Grab a cup of flour, salt, coconut!” Here I am making dumplings, soups, rice and stew peas. Not fully understanding what I was doing but following her directives nonetheless.

 

Wow! That’s amazing. For you, it’s clear that cooking was done out of necessity to assist your aunt. When did you decide that the culinary arts was something that you wanted to pursue?

I wish I could say there was a specific time that I wanted to do this. I moved to New York from the south. I studied theology and didn’t complete my studies. I was unsure about it as far as a long term profession. I then picked up a day job which I hated. I knew that I loved to cook and I wanted to start cooking more often. So, I would go on tours at these culinary schools. I went to about 6 or 7 tours at the French Culinary Institute. I would go to west village in the city, park my car, and watch the students come out on their smoke breaks and just imagine that would be me one day. Fully knowing there was no way on earth I could afford the schooling.

Therefore, I started buying culinary books. I would Google things like "Best chef in the world", YouTube search "famous chef" or "popular chef." I even listened to programs on NPR radio that were related to cooking. I was determined to teach myself how to be a chef. I would buy a whole salmon, invite some of my buddies over, and we'd debone it then cook it several different ways. From that experience, I started cooking more complicated meals. I would put together an elaborate meal, not have a single bite and be totally fulfilled in watching others eat it. I get filled from the feeling of watching others enjoy food.

 

Were you raised around that spirit of giving, growing up in Saint Vincent? Because it’s not familiar for an individual to develop a certain quality with first seeing it manifest in someone else.

In our community we had the only television and fridge. Kids would come and get ice for their lunch or to put in their juices. We had something called investment in my church. Where you dedicated something, whether it be an item or a task, and whatever you made from it you gave it back to God. I had ice duty. But i ended up finding it very hard to charge people so I gave away the ice for free.

My aunt instilled sharing in my way of life. I had a bunch of toys which weren’t really my toys. If my cousin came over and started playing with one of my toys, I couldn’t just take it from him. I had to wait until he was done playing with it.

When I was three years old, my mom left me with my aunt Gloria to sort things out in the U.S. My mom came back seven years later. During that time, my auntie wanted to make sure she returned a certain product back to the owner. Auntie Gloria made sure I had a handkerchief in my pocket, at all times, just in case someone else needed it. Down to this day, I keep a hanky in my back pocket.

 

What were some of your cooking inspirations?

Eric Ripert who owns Le Bernardin in the city inspired me to pay attention to my technique. He's precise in the way that he prepares his dishes. I also love the fact that he’s very kind. He doesn’t look like a yeller and I respect that. Dorothy Hamilton is another individual who I admire. She founded the French Culinary Institute and modeled it after Ace Tech Auto school. Dan Barber said that the best advice to give a chef is to be in shape. Now that I have my own restaurant, I totally understand the importance of that advice. I read a bunch of books on how to become a chef but one that stands out to me is “Letters to Young Chef” by Daniel Boulud.

 

How would you describe your cuisine?

The technique is the pretty much the same across the board, typical rules that every chef should have. But in reference to my cuisine, I cook based on experience. It's a snapshot of my journey. I'm from the islands but I'm also American in certain ways. I've spent most of my life in the States. It's an amalgamation of both sides and I embrace that. I would be bored cooking straight west indian food. We have jerk chicken and other staples but why don't we use the jerk seasoning in another dish? We have a bunch of information and resources that we can try to reinterpret. I look at other cuisines to see how certain elements could be applied to Caribbean food.

 

So it’s a fusion?

Yeh, it’s a fusion. I used to hate that word but that’s what it is!

It’s a medley!

Exactly! And that’s what we are. That’s what America is. That’s what New York is. The idea of a melting pot. All those experiences made me who I am and it will be reflective in what I’m cooking.

On the topic of New York, your restaurant has been here in Brooklyn for a number of months now. What would you say is the most popular dish so far?

It goes in waves. I can't really pick one. But the Island Bowls are very popular. It's a mix of Caribbean flavors composed of your choice of rice, rice and chickpeas or rice and beans. A choice of protein (lamb, chicken, fish or tofu) ginger sauce and spiced tomato sauce. You can even add veggies if you like. Build it however you desire.

 

All meals cater to the person. You may want more or less food and you should be able to make that choice. That's why the dishes are called “offerings.” The customer may choose to accept or decline.

 

What is it about this location that adds to the excitement and appeal of The Food Sermon?

This location was a restaurant in the past. It’s connected to the people. Everyone has a story about the corner location. People would come in and say, "Do you know what used to be here?" then proceed to tell me various stories about the history of this building. I had no clue about that, initially. Honestly, I wasn’t looking for this place. One day, I got a ticket right out front for making a bad turn on Empire Blvd. The Cops pulled me over and as they were running my information I looked out at the storefront and said, “I love this place! One day it’ll be mine.” At first, it wasn’t supposed to be a restaurant. Just a kitchen that did a little catering here and there. But because of windows and the story of those in the neighborhood, it felt wrong keeping the people out of it. However, I didn’t think it would take so long to build.

 

Was it an issue with the contractor?

No, we built it! I chipped the plaster off the walls, we pulled off seven layers of linoleum off the ground.

 

Wait, you didn’t hire anyone?

I mean, we hired people to help out. But ultimately, we did a lot of this ourselves.

 

Phenomenal! Let’s talk about the decor because there’s a real “homely” feel here.

Yea! I want it to feel like you’re coming to my place to have a meal. You come to this humble abode but I want it to feel like a grand event. The drawers and the stools are items from my house that we painted and customized. Even the painting of the gentleman on the wall represents my culture. Back home there’s always a guy that can get you whatever you want. It may be mangoes that are out of season or some sort of produce. In the painting, there’s a cow on his head which represents Christmastime.

 

Talk me through the name, “The Food Sermon”. Sure we know what the individual words mean but what does the name mean in reference to this place you’ve built.

Well, everyone has a message and that message is their sermon. I remember sitting on my bed and asking myself, “What is my message? What am I telling the world? What is my life all about?!” Then it hit me. It’s food! That’s why I named it "The Food Sermon." It had a ring to it and yet, it sounded a bit weird. The more I say it, the more I love it. It just makes sense.

 

Why the message “We Believe in You”? It’s so empowering. Where did that come from?

It came from a time of doubt. At five in the morning, the day before opening, I sent a text to my friends in a group chat; the same guys who were with me when I first started cooking. I expressed to them that I didn’t think anyone would show up to the opening and that I was wasting my time. They said, “You’re crazy! The food is great and people will love it!” After that boost of encouragement, I went to sleep and I had a crazy dream of kids running around with streamers saying to me, “We believe in you!” The fact that you come to this place and spend your money is an endorsement that let’s me know that what I’ve done is worthy of your hard work. Everything in life circulates around a belief system in one another.

 

What is the ultimate satisfaction of having this place and giving people experiences through your cooking?

The ultimate satisfaction for me is having a good name in the end. I have a bunch of family members who lament about what they should have done something when they were younger. I just want to work hard and do my best. It feels good to limp home in the night, lay down and do it all over again the next day.

 

Words by Joekenneth Museau

The Food Sermon

Interview | Graphic Artist + Designer Jeff Manning

The marriage of sound and sight conceives his art. Tapping into the vibe and pulse from the music that surrounds him, he materializes his thoughts, dreams, and emotions onto the digital canvass. His "mellow" and "laid back" demeanor recline peacefully on the surface of his works, but between the pixels of the images, another aspect of his personality shines through.

Hope.

Muted, yet vibrant, colors of red and pink bursting out from a grayscale photo and soaring into the negative space of the image-- reaching higher and higher to a destination not yet seen, but constantly hungered for. A look at his art reminds you that one's inner beauty-- inner flower-- blossoms outwards, permeating into everything they do. It can also be a photographical "flow chart" of his process. He infuses music into his veins, letting it course through his body, fueling his mind and soul to emote his interpretation into a final piece.

The combining and uniting of images and colors, reality and fantasy, lights and shadows, reminds us one immutable truth about both art and the few who partake in it: Possibilities are endless.

Anything can be achieved. Any thought, any dream, any hope, any vision. And out of the billions of people on this earth, no one has vision like artists do.

From the city of brotherly love, Graphic Designer and Music Enthusiast, JEFF MANNING.

Specific field of art? How did you find your way into this? Graphic Design is the specific field of art that I am in. As for how I found my way into graphic design, I actually became interested in the field at age 16. The thing that really drew me in was seeing certain album covers from some of my favorite music artists . I would look at those covers and say to myself "Wow.... How can I do something like this?".  For example, I was really amazed when I saw the cover for Kid Cudi's "Man on the Moon: The End of Day" for the first time. That's when I really solidified my decision to study design. Around that time, I decided to start taking a Graphic Design course in high school while taking the time to study different techniques about Graphic Art during my spare time. 

Kid Cude Man on the Moon serves as inspiration behind Jeff's work.   Source: eighty85.com 

Kid Cude Man on the Moon serves as inspiration behind Jeff's work.  

Source: eighty85.com 

Many artists view their birth place or current location as a main source of inspiration. How is this so for you? If not, what does serve as inspiration? I would definitely say that the city of Philadelphia has inspired me a lot over the years. As an artist, I just love being around the people and culture in Philadelphia. I have met an networked with many of great people the past few years. Even the food is great haha! These things inspire me artistically and personally.

As detailed as possible, describe your process; the journey from blank canvas to finished piece. Is there always a finished look already in mind? Does your work end up the way you want it, or does it evolve by the time you're done? How do you know when a piece is finished? How do you deal with "artist" block along the way?  My process for designing usually starts with some sort of inspiration that I may come across. I gather up all of the inspiration that I gained, then brainstorm on how I can develop an art piece from those inspirations. I am normally able to come up with ideas in short amount of time. But, there can be times when I run into "artist block" and won't be able to come up with concepts off the top of my head. To answer you question on how I deal with "artist block", I instantly step away from designing for a few hours, and engage in other activities like; reading magazines, listening to music, etc . There are also times when I take a "power nap" to refresh my mind and energy. 

How much of your personality, opinions, and flaws are hidden within your work? Any recurring themes? The work that I create reflects my personality 100%. Even the color palettes that I use reflect that. I consider myself a calm/laid back type of person which is why I love to use mellowed color schemes in my work. 

 

Artists have always seen the world differently than most. How do you see it? What do you do change/add to it both personally and artistically? Yes, that is in fact very true. I see the world as a place with endless opportunities and possibilities. Especially in today's world where we have one of the main resources; Technology. It's amazing to see how this generation of artists and entrepreneurs are using the internet to present their ideas and brands to the world. If I could change/add to anything in the world, both personally and artistically; it would be to motivate others (especially the youth) in the world to be more aware that they can do ANYTHING that they set their minds to do. Even though it's a very cliche saying, It is very easy for people to lose track of their self-worth and purpose in this very backwards society that we live in. 

 

Do other forms of art (music/dance/movies/etc) influence your approach to your work, or ignite something within you? How so? Music has a HUGE influential impact on my work. All of the pieces that I create are inspired by the mood/vibe that I get from a song that I listened to on that specific day. 

 

Which art form would you merge yours with, if the opportunity presented itself? How would you do so? If I had to choose any art form to merge with mine if given the opportunity, It would definitely be Music Production. As you should notice by now, I am a huge fan of music haha! As for how I would merge Music Production with Graphic Design, one of my top goals is to be the art director for upcoming projects from some of my favorite producers. I would create an art piece for each of the tracks on their project if given the chance to collaborate with them.

 

What's the goal for your art? What does it set out to accomplish above all else? The goal for my artwork is very simple, I want to share my thoughts and ideas to the world through my work. In addition to that, I want to showcase in many galleries all over the globe. Motivating myself to work hard every day will be key in my quest to achieving those goals. I am a firm believer that everything great happens in due time.

 

Both artistically and personally, where do you go from here? Both artistically and personally moving forward, I want to continue to keep doing what I love in life, progress, inspire others, expand globally, and experiment with new ideas for the "Jeff Manning" brand. I also want to continue to collaborate with other talented individuals from all over.


Interview Ave | Jesse Boykins III

It was a cool, overcast afternoon in Brooklyn and the crew had been up hours earlier preparing the set at Studio 959 for our special guest. And so he arrived, layered in various garments that tell a story about the places from which they came. A radiant smile greeted us all as we shook hands with the poetic nomad and world soul crooner himself, Jesse Boykins III.

Jesse's warm disposition set the tone for an enjoyable yet insightful dialogue on topics ranging from his upbringing in Jamaica to what he's learned about himself through his relationships with women. In addition to our lively discussion with JB3, we were given the privilege of styling him in some of our favorite looks for the Spring/Summer season. Never the one to compromise for the sake of "fashion," Jesse effortlessly embeds his personal style and character into every outfit.

At the end of our day with Jesse we are left with one adjective to describe our experience...Schwaza! You'll understand what we mean by checking out the editorial interview below. 

Who is Jesse Boykins III?

I'll start by saying that I'm a creative. I like to come up with idea, made by music, design or lifestyle and try to apply what I envision in my mind to this dimension; the physical world.

What made you decide to pursue a career as a musician? How did that come about?

I feel like, It wasn’t really a choice. I was more so groomed to be a musician because most of my family is musically inclined. All of my aunts and uncles in Jamaica sang so I was influenced by them. I had always wanted to be a part of a family and feel in tune with who was around me. So, early on I made music to strengthen the bond with my family but as I got older I developed my own passion for music. Moving to Miami and having to be myself was one of those things that kept me grounded during that transition. Although I experienced a bit of a culture shock in moving to America at a young age, I became super intrigued by music, sports and film over time.

How did your family, specifically, help shape you into man you’ve become thus far?

I learned a lot from my aunt and uncles seeing that I didn’t live with my mother and father until I was about 7 or 8 years old. My uncles in Jamaica let me do whatever I want. Say if I wanted to climb a tree and if I ended up falling they would tell me the correct way to do it by paying attention to certain details. It was their way of teaching me life lessons. And my aunts really instilled in me qualities like obedience, punctuality and an increased awareness to being compassionate to other people around me.

What would you say is your biggest obstacle?

I would probably say myself. My brain is always ticking so I constantly have all these concepts. They can scale from really simple ideas to these grand things that will take about six or seven years to do. So, I guess I confront myself with my own obstacles then I try to figure it out the best way that I can. I learn through trial and error so that no one can come to me and tell me I can’t do something because I'll probably just figure it out anyway.

Are there specific concepts that you think about? For example, as you go about recording a conceptual album.

Of course I can write the songs and I can sit down and try to get the production together but everything is a step by step process. Once you get the sound, you think of the visuals and what they're going to be like. Then you think of the artwork, marketing, understanding your target audience and demographic. When you're performing the songs live, what's the stage show going to be like including the instrumentation for the band. The styling for what you were going to wear for the period of time the record is out. These are all things I consider when creating a body of work.

Earlier you mentioned family as some of your influences, but who else would you say has inspired you in terms of music?

I mean there are a lot of people. I'm heavily influenced by Bob Marley and kats like Andre 3000. There are also guys like John Lennon and Phil Collins, who strived to be progressive in what they were doing all the while acknowledging those who came before them. I'm impressed by their ability to bridge the gap and bring things together.

As far as visual artists are concerned, I'm a fan of Marcel Duchamp. In terms of writers, I like Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes. And as far as films go, Spike Lee, Spike Jones and Wes Anderson are individuals who champion innovation, all the while connecting to what’s going on in the present.


How would you say you fall in those categories?  

Well, I'm super progressive in what I'm doing. I don't think I've ever wanted to sound like anyone or make music that caters to what's trendy at the time. What I create is indicative of how I'm feeling and what I'm being exposed to during that time in my life. In the past couple of years, I've been doing a lot of traveling. I've toured for about four or five years in Europe, South Africa, Toyko and Russia. Those experiences have helped me learn a lot about different cultures especially from my friends who live abroad. That exposure has changed me in more ways than one.

I know you pride yourself in your songwriting ability. Can you perhaps explain that process?

It's a subconscious thing. When I first started out, it was something that I had to practice and I still practice now. But seeing that I've practiced it for such a long period of time, it's really like another muscle that is strengthened through exercise. I feel comfortable expressing myself in word and in song more than anything. Therefore, the process for me is just speaking my truth. 

When I'm writing a song, the lyrics are what they are. That’s my experience. I find that when I write in that form, there is more longevity to the song. It's timeless. There are going to be some things you might not understand initially, but if you listen to them frequently and live life, there might be something there that you can reference sooner or later. I find that the most powerful music is like that. You have to listen to an album 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 times to actually get one message that you probably would not have gotten if you didn’t live life while you were listening to that album. It's the connection between the two worlds. I always take that into consideration when I’m making music. I never settle nor do I compromise what I’m writing just to make the mainstream feel "okay" with my lyrics. That's not what I’m about! I do keep it in mind, of course, but it's not my priority when I'm creating. My priority is to create something that will actually cause impact. It may not impact you now but if you sit with it long enough, it will get to you.


You're praised for your live performances. What is it about performing your songs in front of an audience that motivates you to make it an experience for those in attendance?

I feel like when I'm performing and people come to my shows, I feel a sense of obligation to reciprocate the love they show in even liking my music. You listen to my music and you told me you liked it via online media or you might have sent me an email, but in person we can share this moment of appreciation together. In those moments I like to give 150,000% of my efforts. I want to make it as memorable as I possibly can. I don’t want anyone to ever forget if they ever see me live! Someone who saw me perform live from three years ago approached me and said, “Man I was in Paris with a girl and she told me go to your show, and I'm from Brooklyn. That was three years ago and now anytime you in any city that I'm in, I'm trynna see you." It's instances like that, that push me to show gratitude for the fact that people come to a venue to acknowledge my art.

It takes a great deal of stamina to put on a show in a manner that you do. Do you have a specific fitness routine?

I definitely stay active out here! It’s very important to have the ability to control your energy day to day and know where your energy level is, instead of just getting up to complete errands and after you do the first thing on your list you're already tired. I don’t like feeling like that so I work out pretty much every morning, four times a week. And I focus on my core because that's the center of your body, where breathing occurs. So I do a lot of ab and oblique workouts, cardio and yoga. I also do a lot of snacking throughout the day. People thinking having a big meal is good but then you have a lot of digesting to do which can slow you down. I like having a good breakfast like oats, granola, eggs, and for the rest of the day I eat a bunch of fruits, cashews or a small meal.

Let’s talk about your style now. It is very unique and telling of who you are. What defines your look?

I pay attention to aesthetic a lot but I also pay attention to freedom in aesthetic. To explain it would probably be like, let’s say,  I go thrifting in Berlin and I find a tunic then I go to Latvia and find a leather vest. When I'm in New York, I pick up this fabric and get some pants made to pair everything together. The fact that it took all of that as opposed to me just going to one place and saying 'alright cool, let me get this outfit.' To me, I'm wearing the journey and that's what I feel like style is. You're supposed to express what your journey is like. That's what I try to do when I get dressed and put clothes. It's all the things I can connect with to make me feel more like myself.

I see that you've worked with Liebeskind to design a multifunctional unisex bag. Is design, particularly in regards to menswear, something that you'd want to explore in a greater way?

 I’m a fan of the concept of design and style. I feel like, just like anything else that I create or I think of, I always try to make something that people will gravitate towards. For instance, if I’m designing a shoe, my main goal is to translate an idea. You see, I like dress shoes but some dudes only wear sneakers. So how do I make something that’s a dress shoe but feels like a sneaker. It would be about fusing the style of dress shoe with the comfortability of a sneaker to broaden the aesthetic of the sneakerhead.

 

 

How do you balance the desires of a brand with what Jesse actually likes? How do you stay true to yourself?

I'm fan of culture. It would be different if I were saying everything I do is original or has never been done before. No. The innovation that comes about when you’re an artist is the fact that you can take your inspirations and your influences and turn it up to another level. You can say “that’s cool, and I like that but I think if we did that, with this, this, and this, Oh [expletive]!" That’s my thing about being progressive.

I don’t ever think or feel like I'm in a position where I'm going to settle and let a brand direct me aesthetically with anything that I'm doing because I am actually living what I'm doing and you would like to be a part of my life. If you look at it like that then you will always know that you are in control to some degree. Some people however want to rush in doing a lot of things and don’t necessarily have the time or think they don't have time to sit down, process, and plan for months ahead and be okay with that plan. It takes all those to be looked at by brands and make them want to work with you.

So basically you’re like the authority. 

Exactly! But I wouldn’t even call it authority. I would say acknowledge your worth. Know your power.

I wanted to touch on your lyrical content again but now in terms of subject matter. I see that relationships are a reoccurring theme in your songwriting. What would say is the most important quality or lesson that you've learned from a woman or women in general?

I’ve learned a lot of things from women. I think as far as relationships go, the man thing I learned is to be myself. I feel like a lot of men cater to woman’s wants instantly and give them that instance. And I don’t think it’s entirely about that. I think it’s about progressing and getting to know someone over time. The best way to do that is by being yourself in a relationship and being open about your likes and dislikes. To me, the purest romance is when you actually become a girl’s friend; where you genuinely desire to see one another grow. That involves a great deal of honesty and a willingness to push that person to become a greater version of who they are at present. 

What do you want the masses to take away from your artistry?

I think about that actually; in terms of the long-term impact my music will have on others. More than anything, I want people to know that I was real. And that my life as an artist wasn't the result of an image that I came up with in my mind which moved me to act a certain way to gain attention. There are so many instances in music and in any form of art where the gimmick behind things is propelled more than the actual art. I would like people to connect with the realism in my surrealism. So, that the things that I'm able to I create would actually improve and help the real world. To encourage individuals to be progressive in life and find the ability to love themselves in order to spread that love to others.

Credits 

Transcription Joekenneth

Look 1  Topman Polka Dot Suit, MR MIEVES tank, miansai bracelet 

Look 2   Topman blazer,  MR MIEVES shirt and shorts, miansai bracelet

look 3  Topman suit and turtle neck, miansai bracelet


Interview Ave | Sam and Shaka of Art Comes First

The World Wide Web introduced me to Art Comes First lifestyle. From what I could gather this was a design duo living in Europe with immaculate personal style. When I met them last summer at Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy we automatically clicked because they seemed like humble down-to-earth creatives. Out of curiosity, I dig deeper to learn more about the gents behind the brand. So when Sam and Shaka was in New York for the Liberty trade show, I took the opportunity to document and interview them while they showed their latest collection.

Tell Us About Yourself

Sam Lambert: I was born in Angola and grow up between Spain and UK. Father was a bespoke tailor and mother was a trader who traveled everywhere.

Shaka Maidoh: My father's a Sartor from West African and mother's a retired nurse from the West Indies.  I was born and bred in West London and have lived in various places in between.

How did you guys become a design team and why a focus on menswear?

Sam: I became a designer after my photograph studies. It was more out of  necessity to dress myself with the right garment which fitted right and had right fabrication. I used to be around vintage market a lot when I moved to London so i end up customising everything I would buy, just by remembering what my dad used to do with thread,needle and scissors. The focus on menswear was really more like a self test almost like a mad scientist trying medicine on himself first.

Shaka: The team dynamics sparked off from common interests in vintage, traditions, cultures, hobbies and really a need to create. Creation became a necessity where the end product translated to piece of clothing, art pieces, personal wardrobe and what have you and hence menswear as it was initially and mainly personal.


Where are some of the places you pull inspiration from and how does that define the DNA of the brand?

Sam: Well we have a saying we say here at ACF HQ inspire to be inspired. We pull inspiration from everywhere really but mostly from the cultures of places I've been. Music and craft always been one of those things helped to connect the red thread. That's why one of the definition of ACF its Ancient Culture Footstep.

Shaka: Inspired by the art of life. I am a night owl, I find I hardly have to change anything I get up to in the middle of the night. 

 

Between photography, styling, designing and creative direction, do you have a preferred medium? If so, why?

Sam: To tell you the truth they all relate to each other, for my design I get massive inspiration from vintage pictures I collect, I wouldn't be able to style if I didn't know cloth and proportion, I wouldn't be able to art direct if I was never behind the camera.

Shaka: No. Art Comes First sees itself as a styling agency, as we have have a stylistic approach to designing, photography, and pretty much everything we do.

Outside of work, do you have guys have an hobbies?
 

Sam: I'm trying to be rock star I been trying to learn how to play guitar for ages now but its not working :( that's how far my hobbies go. Oh and I still carry harmonica with me everywhere I go so I can at least learn that.

Shaka: I would have said traveling but that is also part of work these days. 


What music are you listening to?

Sam: To tell the truth i was on Valerie June, The bullits and Gary Clark jr but my photographer friend Kris Moolman introduce me to David Lynch stuff i have to say its pretty addictive.

Shaka: Changed with time and place. Right now I am back on ska, constant spin of selections from Trojan records on YouTube gets me by at night.


What projects or collaborations are you currently working on?

Sam: Right now we are working on our main line called Avec Ces Freres (traveling tailoring by traveling tailoring) and our denim Apron project with DENHAM for United Arrows and of course PONY sneakers by ACF.

Shaka: All mentioned above by Sam to include photography and book project with Kristinlee Moolman, and a pop up school in Africa. 

 

How would you define the Art Comes First man? Where does he travel? What does he live?

Sam: Its a man who drinks tea, wears tie and appreciate art. He travels in concrete jungles and sometimes in snow clouds. He lives everywhere and nowhere its a true Gypsy.

Shaka: Also a constant mind traveler. 

Interview Ave | Menswear Illustrator Matthew Miller

Illustration is a powerful medium. It's fascinating that an artist can share their depiction of the world though drawings and sketches. For this post, we're introducing Matthew Miller and  Illustrator who has an impressive portfolio under his belt. His signature fashion illustration has a watercolor feel that is easily identifiable, vibrant and full of life. Here is insight of creative brainchild behind the visuals:  

Dapper - Tell Us About Yourself 

Matthew - I grew up in West Michigan, as one of five children. Drawing has been my nature since leaving the womb. There is not a time when I or anyone can remember me not drawing. I attended Grand Rapid's only art school, Kendall College of Art and Design. Found that the standards I had expected from University was only slightly different than that of public school and moved to Atlanta when I was 20. Life began teaching me who I was going to be. I met my wife Ruth, began my career as a fashion illustrator and met many people who have influenced the way that I see the world now.

Dapper - How did you get started as an illustrator? and how has your work evolved? (early work vs now) 

Matthew - I started professionally right out of school. Fashion Illustration was not my focus at the time. There was a bit of discovering who I wanted to be and what I wanted my work to do in the world. What you see now is so far from what I was doing even two years ago. The goal then was discovering myself and finding where I fit into the art world of Atlanta. Street art and community galleries are such a strong underpinning of the scene in Atlanta. Most of the young artists are always working, always creating and constantly exhibiting in small venues to hone their skills and to muster any exposure possible. That's where I was fitting in. 

Quickly I transitioned themes of vultures symbolizing the redemptive qualities of life to the symbiosis of people and animals to the expressive nature of people and their clothing. People are the main focus and men's fashion is primed for featuring the lives of individuals. That is where I am now, iterating on men's fashion and the people     who use it to express themselves.

Dapper - How did you come up with the name Sunflower Man?   

Matthew - This is a common query when people come across my work. Why Sunflowerman? It is odd to be sure. The name does not relate to my work in apparent way. It started as a summer camp identity. Young boys of 11,12 or 13 (The exact age escapes me) dream and act out fantasies of being superheros. I suppose before the age of Marvel and DC it was about being in the army or being a firefighter. 

The identity stuck with me and I constantly iterated on the idea through illustrations and writings. Everywhere I went people began to know me as Sunflowerman. When it came time to create a professional identity there wasn't much of a debate in my mind. I was already Sunflowerman. Most people react positively to the name. It brings a bit of joy to say it aloud. Sunflowerman is comical and yet the work I do is extremely professional. The stretch to connect the comical and the professional is not too difficult.

Dapper - What inspired you to focus on Menswear? and does your own personal style influence your work? 

Matthew - I cannot say for sure where the inspiration stemmed from. I did not grow up in a household that cared too much about fashion. I laugh at images of myself as a child but I know that being outside of the realm of influence has allowed me to discover fashion with new eyes. The focus of men's fashion is a focus on people. I love people and without people there is no fashion. Fashion is the perfect way to illustrate people and focus on people every day. My work has influenced my personal style much more than my style has influenced my work. 

Dapper - Are there any style icons that you consider to be a muse?

Matthew - Tough question. Patrick Grant, on the suggestion of friend was an initial muse of mine. It is hard to argue with his sense of tradition and the way he handles the fashion business. Others such as Walter Van Beirendonck have allowed me to view the traditions in men's fashion with a crazy eclectic eye. Currently I am soaking in the styles of everyone around me. The stories of how people have discovered their own 'Dapper Man' and the images they choose to share with the world are highly influential for me. 

Dapper - Outside of drawing, what do you do? any cool hobbies? 

Matthew - Yikes. So many people today do so many amazing things. Technology has made the Renaissance Man an every day man. My focus seems to be much more narrow. Every day I am drawing and painting and experimenting with textures, mediums and substrates. Outside of this my wife and I are traveling through Europe and soaking in cultures. We are attempting to learn the languages and the nuances that make up a culture within different countries. Currently our obsession is Portugal. There is so much history that has shaped our modern world in Portugal and Spain. In the age of exploration Portugal was on the leading edge. Magellan and Vasco Do Gama are two notable names that conquered the ocean and brought enormous wealth to such a tiny swath of the European landscape. While I am painting I also listen to podcasts. I am obsessed with podcasts. What I hoped I would learn in University (and did not) can be found in heaps through podcasts. Information about history and marketing, art and culture, comedy and mathematics- the access is nearly limitless. I have found my true education through the generosity of people sharing what they love in life.

Dapper -What music are you currently listening to? 

Matthew - I am always exposed for being lacking in musical culture with this question. Music is probably the greatest influencer of the last 60 years and yet I am sorely lacking in my depth of knowledge and appreciation here. What you could find me listening to lately is as follows: 

Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, Johnny Cash, Thelonious Monk, Kanye West,Big Boi,The Shins and Eminem. I think I'm revealing myself as a musical hipster. 

Dapper - Do you have a favorite drawing or painting?

Matthew - I am more a fan of styles and techniques. Individual paintings are simply a piece of the great work of an artist's career (Though some works stand out amongst a collection). The work of N.C.Wyeth, David Downton, Alphonse Mucha, Egon Schiele, Greg Simkins, Caravaggio  are all artists who have changed my life with the works they create and have created. I can sit and bathe in the works of the artists for hours upon hours. My soul is washed in their color and movement, in the ways that they use lines and figures.

Dapper - What projects are you working on?

Matthew - I am several months in to the 100 Watches Project where I take the submission of people's favorite watches and paint them on old Sherlock Holmes book pages. I have been painting one a day since the project began and will end with number 100. After that there are some peripheral projects that directly relate and enhance the collection. Submissions for that are now closed, but I am taking commissions on watch paintings still.

The Daily Fashion Project is also several months along now and has become the center piece of what I do. Anyone can submit their style through a form at sunflowerman.com. I paint one each week-day and share it on the site and social media. The goal with the Daily Fashion Project is to gather the stories of people who have been influenced by fashion and to share them with the community. The iteration of the individual styles through watercolor is a way to look past the person and see the way they present themselves in an artistic (and what I hope is a more neutral way). Breaking down the barriers of persons and seeing the stories of the community through individual people.

Dapper - Where can we follow your journey? 

Matthew - You can follow Sunflowerman atsunflowerman.com - which is the main hub of everything I do. Otherwise I can be found on Instagram @sunflowerman and on Twitter @sunflowermatt.

Interview Ave | Author Joekenneth Museau...Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Brooklyn-based Author Joekenneth Museau is making moves. Over the summer, he released his first book titled, "Tales of a Troubled Romantic," hosted poetry readings, and traveled to Kingston, Jamaica to name a few. Last friday I finally got him to take a quick brunch break at Cafe Rue Dix, a French Senegalese restaurant in Crown Heights.  Get to know this talented and creative force that certainly has an intriguing story.

Dapper - Tell us about yourself.

Joekenneth Museau - My name is Joekenneth Museau. I’m 23 years old. I am a Brooklyn-bred spoken word artist and author of Haitian decent.

Dapper - How did you get started as a writer?

Joekenneth Museau - I began writing raps at age of 11, in an effort to prove to myself that I was better than Lil Bow Wow and Lil Romeo. Haha! The content and style of my writing underwent a transformation as I transitioned into putting together poetic pieces during the time my parents were going through a divorce. My writing became purely cathartic; a way to deal with emotional turmoil in a creative way. In my early adolescence---after my parents separated---I expanded the subject matter of my poetry. I was exposed to the literature of Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Edgar Allen Poe and many other writers during my years in high school. My affinity for language arts spurred me on to write about teenage romance, internal tribulations and social issues that I observed in my community. It was during my last two years of high school where I began writing with the idea to have my poems exist, not only on paper, but also for the purpose of performance. Thereafter, I became more acquainted with the spoken word poetry scene; influenced by Kesed, Falu, Soulful Jones, RIP MC (Jamie Lee Lewis), JQ Lyric and The Strivers Row.

 

 

Dapper - What inspired you to write the book "Tales of a Troubled Romantic"?

Joekenneth Museau - Tales of a Troubled Romantic was inspired by my personal experiences with women. I began writing love poems when I had my first girlfriend at 15 years old. Ever since then, I’ve had a number of unique interactions with the opposite sex. The work therefore covers the span of about 8 years. The theme of “troubled romance” tells of an honest self-examination; scrutinizing my imperfections and the mistakes that I’ve made in the arena of relationships. Throughout the course of the book, I make it my aim to articulate the various conflicts of a man; whether it is love versus lust or that of entertaining genuine, amorous feelings for two women at the same time. Aside from the romance, there are poems which offer social commentary on sexual abuse and woman empowerment among other issues. What must be said, however, is that I wrote TTR with men as my target audience. There are prevailing stereotypes about men masking emotion behind the veil of logic and putting on bravado rather than coming to grips with heartbreak. I want men to read this book in an effort to encourage them to cultivate emotional bravery. Vulnerability shouldn’t be taboo especially when it can aid in an individual’s growth. It is important that we admit to when we’re wrong, to express remorse and to change a wayward course in regards to our relationships with women. 

Dapper - Outside of writing, what are some of your interest?

Joekenneth Museau - Well, when I’m not writing, I’m reading. I read a portion of the Bible daily. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I engage in a volunteer work to help others appreciate the Bible’s message. People who have heard or read any of my poems may have noticed that there’s a great deal of Biblical imagery in my work. Those allusions have a direct connection to my affinity for Scripture. I also have a healthy eBay addiction to quench my menswear needs. And although I’ve pledged to not to take up a Canon camera, I do enjoy mobile photography with the aid of VSCO CAM.

Dapper - You recently went on a trip to Jamaica, can you tell us about your experience? And does traveling inspire your work, if so how?

Joekenneth Museau - My recent trip to Jamaica was my second visit to the island but my first time in Kingston. Instead of spending time in a resort and enjoying the island life of a commercialized “Jamaica,” I was able to stay with a family who are native Jamaicans. I traveled with my friend, George and his mother. It was a wonderful experience! I had authentic, home-cooked Jamaican cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We drove around the city, which was a peculiar experience because the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle. I was able to visit the gorgeous Hellshire Beach and Caymans River. I even had the opportunity to visit Cockburn Pen---which is one of the “hoods” in Kingston--- where I got a haircut in an elevated, makeshift barber shop. The only thing I don’t miss about Jamaican is the cold showers that I had to take.

 

 

Although I don’t get the opportunity to travel often, I love visiting areas outside of the United States. Being in a new environment and observing the culture of the people is an enlightening experience. Traveling helps my writing in that it allows me to have a broader view of the human experience, nature, colors, tastes and the many facets of life, whether tangible or intangible. As I travel more, I’ll be able to improve my use of metaphors, similes and allusions.

Dapper - Does your writing style influence your personal style? If so, how?

Joekenneth Museau - It works the other way around. My personal style influences my writing. I’m a 90s baby. I grew up in an era where Hip-Hop culture was flourishing. The soundtrack to my upbringing is embedded in the rhythm of my work. In my younger years, my style was a product of Hip-Hop culture. Baggy jeans, logos, the Louis Vuitton coin purse hanging from my belt loop, I mean everything. As I’ve refined my style to favor a more sartorial perspective, I have also paid attention to sharpening my writing. In effect, I find myself tailoring my poems; attempting to convey an idea with the use of fewer words. But by no means am I a dandy or a college-degree intellectual. The leather jogging pants and Jordan boxes that are in my closet are a reflection of the edginess present in some of my writings.

Dapper - Name a few writers that inspire your work. Why?

Joekenneth Museau - The entire Strivers Row collective inspires me. The artists include Joshua Bennett, Miles Hodges, Carvens Lissaint, Alysia Harris, Jasmine Mans and Zora Howard. I would go on for hours if I were to specifically point out what each artist brings to the table in terms of writing and performance style. The Strivers are well-read and traveled writers. The body of their work is honest, brash, emotional, political and entirely awe-inspiring. Every time I attend one of their shows I leave with a new idea for a piece. I admire the amount of energy and dedication they put into their craft.

 


Dapper - What music are you currently listening to?

Joekenneth Museau - Man…I listen to so much music. I really, really love music. I know I’m one of many people who have been let down by the radio and mainstream music so I tend to scour SoundCloud in an effort to find musical gems from underground artist. Aside from the new albums by Drake and Pusha T, I’m listening to Majid Jordan, Janelle Monae, Lorine Chia, Jimi Nxir, Parley D’amour, The Internet, Quadron, Sango, BOY/FRIEND and Terrance Martin. That’s my abbreviated list.

Dapper - What projects are you currently working on?

Joekenneth Museau - I was recently featured in Street Etiquette’s SLUMFLOWER editorial. There are some pieces that I wrote which are in the print version of the editorial available for sale on SE’s website. I’m currently working on a collaborative project with Chicago-based photographer Lawrence Agyei entitled “Seams of Sorrow.” I am also in the beginning stages of my next book which is a dedication to my late mother, Josette Rene-Museau, who passed away from cancer last year. I did a 14-day photographic tribute about her via my Instagram account earlier this year entitled “May Flowers” with the hashtag #MayFlowersbyJK. The book will include the textual content from the tribute as well as a collection of photographs to capture the essence of what I was able to do through use of my iPhone. The book will include brand new poems and memoirs. Admittedly, it will be an extremely emotional undertaking. However, I want to release “Days After Your Departure” to assist caregivers and loved ones to those battling cancer and/or who have lost a loved in death to the illness. My motto is “you can only have memories if you create them now.” I want to encourage family and friends to spend as much quality time with a loved one fighting aggressive cancer so that they can reflect on the good times that they’ve had after the fight is over. The memories I have of my mother helped me tremendously during my grieving process. I just want to help others to do the same through a creative means.  

Dapper - Where can we follow your journey?

Joekenneth Museau - You can follow my journey on Instagram and Twitter: @JKSchwaza. And also through my website,Joekenneth.com. Thank you for your time Lou!

Interview Ave | Photographer Benjamin Rosser

Last fall, while shooting street in Soho a guy asked to photograph me. I agreed, then he introduced himself as Benjamin Rosser. We stayed in touch and soon after Ben was contributing to the site. You may recognize his work from past shoots like: Reflections, Gucci and Gatsby. Honestly, I've worked with tons of photographers but never with one like Ben. He has a great eye, but also understand the technical aspect of photography. 

Recently, Ben traveled to India to work on a photo project so I took the opportunity to shoot him in Bushwich, Brooklyn and formally introduce him to the site.  

Dapper: Tell Us About Yourself

 

Ben Rosser: When someone asks me, I say I come from Leverett Massachusetts, a small town of twelve hundred people and one stoplight. Although I can’t really say I grew up there, I definitely feel it has shaped me much more than my birthplace near Boston had. I moved away from Boston at age ten after my father came home and announced he found our new home... two hours away. I was furious at first because I knew it meant having different friends, doing different activities, and a completely different way of life. Only eight years later did I accept that moving had been a good idea. And now, twelve years later, I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else in the world.

Dapper: How you get into photography? Was there a specific moment that solidified this career choice?

Ben Rosser: My earliest memory of taking a photograph was in Yellowstone National Park during the summer of 2000, a month before my tenth birthday. I had been walking around our campsite carrying my mothers Canon AE-1 film camera for an hour or so. I remember looking up the hillside of burnt and leafless trees in front me and feeling my heart beat a little faster at the thought of capturing this weird landscape. That moment was probably the last time I ever actually enjoyed photographing a landscape. I find overwhelming joy in capturing people, and have never understood the act of landscape photography. But that feeling of excitement I had felt in that moment has carried over to my portrait photography ever since.

Dapper: What brought you to India? How was your Journey? and can you share any noteworthy experiences?

Ben Rosser: I was invited to India to photograph The 2013 Windchasers Sandakphu Himalayan Race when a good friend and spectacular videographer Emma ZT referred me to the race directors. Emma had initially been hired to co-direct a documentary video project to be produced at the same time as my photographic involvement, but which had fallen through last minute after the production grew disproportionately compared to the funding and timeframe available. Due to the discontinuation of the video project Emma couldn’t come, so I decided to go solo and photograph the race anyway. I found sponsorship from Rao’s Café and Kind Healthy Snacks to fund my expenses, and as a result went into it with the intention of producing a body of work to be shown this coming summer. As of now I expect the show to be opening sometime in Mid July in Amherst Massachusetts and hopefully moving to New York City to open again this coming fall.

Something I will never forget is waking up the fourth and final day of the race to find the fog that had shrouded us the entire time had cleared. At that moment I found myself standing beneath the Everest range illuminated by the rising sun. It had been entirely invisible for the days leading up to that point. Never have I been so awestruck by a view in my entire life.

Dapper: When deciding on the perfect photograph, what is your thought process?

Ben Rosser: This is the question that has been the hardest to answer for me. It’ s purely based on a feeling, as soon as I make it something else like adding reason or strategy to the actual act of taking a picture I get lost and completely thrown into the dark. For me the line between strategy and impulse is drawn at the viewfinder – the act of actually composing the shot, feeling the moment and pressing the shutter is entirely unconscious and impulse based, but everything leading up to that point is based on strategy and technical knowledge.

Dapper: How do you choose your subjects? Is there something in particular that makes you react?

Ben Rosser: I’ve always be fascinated by expression and how something to subtle can become so contagious to the beholder. How every aspect of a photograph, the light, color, composition, the way a strand of hair can lay across one’s cheek... can add to the emotion to almost create one big expression all tied into itself in one single frame.

Dapper: What music are you currently listening to?

Ben Rosser: Currently, Aretha Franklin is playing over the café stereo as I sit in Breukelen Coffee House in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. I used to have her song “Respect” on vinyl and would sing along to it as a kid.

Dapper: Outside of Photography, What are some of your hobbies?

Ben Rosser: From age fifteen, I’ve been a bit obsessed with rock climbing. For the past seven years - apart from injury and time spent traveling, I’ve gone climbing at least four days a week pretty consistently. People often tell me that I should combine my love for rock climbing and my photography into “climbing photography”. The truth is, Rock climbing is the only outlet that forces me away from my photographic mindset, and therefore climbing is probably the only reason I’m still sane. I believe combining the two would be the end of both of those things for me. I also loved metalworking as a kid; I worked for a jeweler during much of my teen years, and apprenticed for a blacksmith for some time as well.

Dapper: What past or present Photographers are you inspired by?

Ben Rosser: Growing up, I was fascinated by the work of Cartier-Bresson. In my late teen years I found myself identifying closely with Sabastiao Salgado’ s work. More recently, among my favorites from the past, I find myself being captivated by photographers like Greg Kedel and Patrick Demarchelier among others.

Dapper: If you had access to any subject and space worldwide, who and where would you shoot?

Ben Rosser: I was telling a friend recently about an idea I had a few months ago of photographing the last remaining traditional fishermen on the coast of Vietnam. Photographing them in a way that combined the candid feel of street photography, the emotion of portraiture, and the warped perspective that fashion photography sometimes has. But as of right now that is only a semi bland idea that would need much more thought to become something tangible. I may develop that further, because photographing strangers in that way is something I would be very scared of, but also something I think could push my work in the direction I think I needs to go.

Dapper: Where can we follow your photography journey?

Ben Rosser: I try to post my recent work to my blog – benrosser.com/recent - There you can see some of the work that I wouldn’t necessarily add to my portfolio but still consider to be finished work. 

Interview Ave | Fashion Journalist Simone Marchetti

Fashion Journalist Simone Marchetti could easily be called the King of Prints. Day after day, I shot him during Paris Fashion Week because he never disappointed my lens with his impeccable bold style. For Simone, adding color and patterns to his wardrobe is a must. You have to give credit to a man that makes floral pants look masculine. Below, I got to chat with the man behind the powerful prints. 

Tell us about yourself.

I'm a fashion journalist for Repubblica.it and La Repubblica, which are the most important website and newspaper of Italy. I live in Milano where I studied Aesthetics at University before becoming a journalist. I love contemporary art, all the types of music form opera to indie, theatre, poetry, fashion of course, good food, big cities, small islands, books and begin constantly informed. When I was in high school, one of my teachers was always reminding me: "Don't ever give in to mediocrity. Try always to fly higher and higher". It has become my motto. 

Most men shy away from bold prints but they are consistent  in your looks - why is that?

I think boldness is a way out of mediocrity. Fashion is not a matter of bold prints or strange outfits. It never is. Fashion is a matter of mind. It's the ability to represent a thought through a dress. Nothing else matters, not even the common idea of style.

What projects are you currently working on?

I'm working on a new fashion platform with Google and Google+, trying to break the classical rules of fashion information. And I'm studying a new fashion format, a little revolution in the idea of fashion magazines and websites.

What are some of your favorite places to hang out in Italy?

So many. In Milano, the beautiful Orti of Brera, a kind of green, secret garden in the heart of the city. La Scala Opera Theatre, when it's still empty and the orchestra is according the instruments before a show. I adore staying with my love, in the spring/summer weekends, in our house by the sea, in the Zoagli Old Castle Park (the Ligurian Sea), reading, listening to music and cooking for our closest friends. I fall in love with Venice everytime I visit it. I love two islands: Stromboli, one of the Eolian Islands, and Pantelleria, a magic place where I spent an important moment of my life. I like walking in the snow, in the Alpes, because I'm obsessed with white and with its idea of nothingness. But I think my favorite spot in the world is New York: I really don't know why, but I feel myself at home there.

Describe one of your best childhood memories.

I think the moment when I was back from boarding-school. As soon as I get home, my dog ran to me and I took him to the woods, near my parents' home, where we were free to play and relax on the green grass and under the blue sky.

What's on your playlist?

Falstaff, by Giuseppe Verdi, conducted by Herbert von Karajan

Tristan und Isolde, by Richard Wagner, conducted by Carlos Kleiber

Fun - Some Nights

The Day Dream Club

The Young Professional

Everything that I find on Burberry Acoustic 

If time travel was possible, where and when would you live? Why?

It's very simple: to the future. And that's because I'm obsessed with the idea of progress.

Can you recommend any movies to our readers?

I'm gonna tell you my 5 favorite ones.

8/2 by Federico Fellini

Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau

Barry Lindon by Stanley Kubrik

La Nuit Américaine by François Truffaut

Manhattan or Annie Hall by Woody Allen

What is your number 1 fashion faux pas?

Being afraid of what people could think.

5 style rules you live by:

I don't like, I don't trust fashion rules. With your style, I think you have to be intelligent. Always. Even when you are playing the fool.

Interview Ave | PR Consultant Matthew Zorpas

PR Consultant Matthew Zorpas is first up for my new interview series called "Interview Ave", that will feature people with interesting style and stories on the streets. Last month, Matthew was nice enough to give me a tour of London despite my short visit. He showed me some of the coolest spots like the Tate Modern museum, we walked over the Golden Jubilee Bridge with a view of the London Eye, and passed by the historical Trafalgar Square. Finally, we ended up on Savile Row, and what better way to kick off the interview series than on the birthplace of bespoke tailoring? 

Tell me a little bit about yourself?  

I'm Matthew and I'm 24 years old. I'm originally from Cyprus but I have been living in London for the past five years. I graduated in Public Relations and I'm currently lecturing at Istituto Marangoni. I'm also the London Correspondent for Un nouveau Ideal, voted the second best dressed man in Britain and I'm also a firm supporter of new generation designers. 

You were recently named second best dressed man by Esquire UK. How do you stand out in such a fashion forward town? 

As forward as people think London is, honestly the city pays minimum attention to new talents and designers. I spent a great amount of time researching and discovering new talents from graduation shows all around the world. From Hong Hong to Antwerp, from London to  New York. I manage to pick up on the catwalk trends and present them in the streets ahead of time. 

What projects are you working on?

I'm currently preparing the wardrobe for a British film, lecturing at Istituto Marangoni and also working on a product design to be launched hopefully in the summer. Follow me @matthewzorpas for updates. 

If you were not working in fashion, what would you be doing? And why?

Anywhere that I can still be creative and revolutionary. I would love to work for European Committee or Cyprus Embassy in their cultural department. I like working on projects which directly help young people and make a difference to the world. 

What are some of your favorites places to hangout in London and why? 

Gordon's wine bar cause its relaxed and unpretentious 

Sketch for the deco and smashing cocktails

BBB Notting Hill for the tasty snacks and stylish crowd

Describe your best childhood memory.

The family trip in Disneyland Paris on my second grade. I still remember the magical lights parade, Michael Jackson waving from the hotel room and mum and dad joining me in the crazy rides!

What's on your playlist?

Yann Tiersen - Le Phare, Les Jours Heureux and Lana del Rey - Born to die, Without you. 

If time travel was possible where and when would you live?

Paris in the 50s. 

Who or what is your current inspirations? And why?

Six Lee, Liria Pristine, HLH, Tina Elisabeth and Kay Kwok are designers that I look up to for inspirations but mainly instinct has been one of the largest driving factors behind selecting and putting together my outfits. Life wise, my partners in life always turned to be inspirational.

What books are you reading?

I'm more of a visual person, I'm very easily distracted. My last purchase was Hedi Slimane's Rock Diary. 

Number one fashion faux- pas? 

Suits and trainers.