• A Noble Savage


    Creative director.
    Interior designer.
    Visual merchandiser.

    And that's not even the half of him...and by him I mean the slender figure of a dark man who goes by "Ali." Very few people know his real name and even less are allowed to share it. I'm in the latter somehow...and it's taken me a year to get there. Despite his expansive aptitude, ask him what he's good at and he'll blurt out "football"—like it's a reflex. Running back, punt returner, wide receiver,  free safety and you begin to see how long he's been wearing 17 hats at any given time. It's who he is. "I just see something and I do it."

    Ali is teetering on a 10ft ladder while putting the finishing touches on his latest installation in his Brooklyn live/work space. A couple minutes pass before I fully get it—a play on words of the current season in its depiction of the fall of man, except here Eve carries a Mark Cross handbag. His genius is not that he's mixing (on trend) Navajo print outerwear with classic pieces, it's that he's toying with it before it appears in the collective industry's conscience (I shot these photographs over a year ago). Note: add tastemaker to the above list.

    When he isn't rummaging through his latest vintage sweater finds—an original L.L. Bean Norwegian and 1984 Ralph Lauren football sweater are highlights—or uploading his latest installation on A Noble Savage, Ali is working with designers and brands on various projects who are after a specific inflection in his tone. Ovadia & Sons, Rugby, and Under Two Flags are just a few of the fashion brands he's worked with recently. The airy Brooklyn loft doubles as a showroom and workspace where Ali emerges after long hours like a mad scientist from his laboratory. Pinched tubes of oil paint, hammers, and gilded picture frames exist alongside vintage Chanel, paint-splattered Gucci snaffle bit loafers, and a handful of hats.

    "My mother taught me creative visualization while my father really took the time to impress upon me the importance of attention to detail."

    Photographed in Brooklyn, NY

    *As always, most of these images can be shared via Tumblr at Collection by F.E. Castleberry.

    Nov 7, 2011 | Permalink (16) Total Comments

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/10/2013 at 11:56 AM:

    @John—Yes. This was photographed in Brooklyn, NY.

    John left a comment on 1/30/2013 at 5:32 AM:


    chris left a comment on 12/10/2012 at 9:56 PM:

    Congratulations Ali.  You have lots of stuff.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/16/2011 at 11:43 AM:

    @Carlton Banks—Is there a problem in describing someone as dark complected?

    Carlton Banks left a comment on 11/15/2011 at 8:56 PM:

    “dark man”? was that really necessary?

    AEV left a comment on 11/10/2011 at 12:51 PM:

    ....I love a lot of these items….that leather collar mold/form in particular.

    Black boy left a comment on 11/9/2011 at 5:23 PM:

    I love this site so much…..you are always showing us brilliant creativity at work.

    DBCC left a comment on 11/9/2011 at 4:08 PM:

    This is beyond inspiring.  I’d pay to sit down and pick this guy’s brain for 30 minutes.  Great work, Fred.

    Bevin Elias left a comment on 11/9/2011 at 12:08 AM:

    Amazing! Simply Amazing.

    Snaaby left a comment on 11/8/2011 at 8:27 PM:


    JRS left a comment on 11/8/2011 at 7:33 PM:

    Wow - what a place.  I’ll bet his search for all that good stuff was as cool as the results…

    ciaran left a comment on 11/8/2011 at 7:18 PM:

    i’d love to know where he finds all this stuff, he’s cleary a genius. by the way, love your period home pictures on tumblr, keep ‘em coming!

    Joey Dee left a comment on 11/8/2011 at 4:58 PM:

    This space is amazing. The pictures are great, but I bet there is so much more to see in person. Thanks for sharing.

    Robert I. Brown left a comment on 11/8/2011 at 3:25 PM:

    I had a chance to introduce myself to Ali and he’s one of the most humble individuals I’ve come across. It’s easy to see his creativity through his work. Fantastic post.

    Hannah left a comment on 11/8/2011 at 2:53 PM:

    Drooling over the luggage. And the colored walls.
    So brilliant!

    Kiel James Patrick left a comment on 11/8/2011 at 1:57 PM:

    This is heaven.  I need to meet this “he who shall not be named”.