Sara Kerens, a budding fashion photographer and friend of mine, recently shot a few frames of me for her blog series "People I Know." It's quickly becoming a collection of friends in her life doing what she finds to be interesting things. I am honored to be photographed by her and hope that through this interview, you might stumble upon a thing or two about me you didn’t know before.
Photographed in New York, NY by Sara Kerens
What inspired you to start Unabashedly Prep?
I was thumbing through a Teen Vogue issue (January 2009) and stopped at an article about a teen shoe blogger. Straight strawberry blonde hair framed these youthful milky-skinned cheek bones—she'd just been awarded the opportunity to design a capsule shoe collection for Urban Outfitters. She was only 17 and publishing her wildly popular style blog out of my backyard (Dallas). All I could think was, "Why am I not doing this?" It was inspiring. Seventeen seconds later I was brainstorming what would later become Unabashedly Prep.
What men's brands and styles have influenced your own taste?
While most Americans possessed, at the very least, an ambient awareness of Polo by Ralph Lauren in the early 90s, I wasn't wearing it. I loved the sensibility but the fit wasn't what I wanted. There was this baggy thing going on at the time—all the kids were practically drowning in their clothes. What did fit was Abercrombie & Fitch. I remember meticulously pouring over the first ever A&F Quarterly and seeing a pair of slim denim with a slight taper that actually fit properly. I thought, "That's it. That looks great." I grabbed my mom, flipped on the charm (hey, somebody had to pay for the Shetland sweaters, chinos, and oxfords I was feverishly circling in the catalogue), and we were off to the nearest A&F shop 40 miles away. The next day at school classmates stared at me like I was sleepwalking the halls naked. I couldn't care less because it didn't feel juvenile...it felt cool. I was 15 at the time.
Eventually, Abercrombie & Fitch mutated into the sex-peddling, logo-flinging jeans and T-shirt monstrosity you see today—a brittle shell of its former nouveau-prep glory. They lost me when they quit designing sport coats, sweater vests, and ties. When Ralph Lauren introduced Rugby in 2004, a line with the silhouettes and sensibilities of a younger guy, I started pulling their new takes on old classics into my wardrobe.
Three years later, I met Sid Mashburn when I interviewed him for Unabashedly Prep. It was then that I began to appreciate the beauty of a "uniform." There is an ease about a great jean, an English bench-made shoe, a dress shirt, tie, and blazer that still looks put together.
Check out the rest of her interview with me accompanied by additional images over at her blog.
• Randolph Engineering aviator sunglasses
• Ralph Lauren cashmere cable knit sweater
• Rugby white denim
• vintage Omega Seamaster wrist watch
• Smart Turnout nylon watch strap
• brown Alden snaffle bit loafers (not pictured)