It’s always refreshing to find a guy who puts some thought into his wardrobe. Generally, I see a swarm of hoodies and sneakers -as I’ve mentioned a million times before- and it can be so redundant. The most miniscule effort while getting ready can make the most brilliant difference. Running into Braxton Duncan, a 20 year old art student on Redwood campus resulted in a wonderful conversation about fashion and culture that I wasn’t expecting.
Braxton’s approach to styling is much different compared to other younger men with whom I associate. Usually, a guy who is putting some thought into his wardrobe will start by using catalogs or their peer group for inspiration; Braxton starts with music. He said he looks to music for the cultural aspect of fashion and is currently very inspired by European countries -France and Sweden in particular- for their electronic music scenes. Along with music Braxton pulls inspiration from a various mix of things like art, architecture, Chuck Berry and Burberry of London.
There is no one direct way that Braxton gets from point A to point B when putting together his look. He seems to be virtually free of societal controls and very conscious of the aesthetic that makes up his look. Braxton says he is “impartial to any one color” and if he selects a pattern, it is usually very basic and classic. When I spoke with him, he was wearing a wonderful compilation of blues -jeans, basic woven shirt in light blue, navy silk tie and amazing puffy white Nike high-top sneakers – all put together and finished with a very deconstructed, dirty-beige jacket that he claims to have gotten for three dollars; I can’t believe it.
Being a height of 6’4″, Braxton has some difficulty finding clothes. He explains that he can’t really shop anywhere locally unless he happens to luck out and discover some pants or shoes at Urban Outfitters or Bastille, both at the Gateway Mall downtown. Braxton tells me that he frequents oaknyc.com to find things that are better quality and in his size. He also favors ACNE denim over some of the other leading denim brands. Speaking of brands, Braxton says he discourages people “plastering themselves with labels” and even calls it “awful.” He makes a wonderful point when he says that visible labels on clothing are “kinda noisy”; I really agree here. When it comes to fabric, the simpler the better. I think Braxton and I will agree that noisy is not referring to a great gingham check, but rather a big bold label smacked dead center on an already terrible pullover fleece hoodie.
Novelty shopping is another of Braxton’s favorite arenas. He says he will pay a larger amount of money for a really special item that outshines the rest. He recalls a floral print woven shirt that he has with wire seams; I can only image the intensity of this piece when worn.
Accessories and hair are also big players in Braxton’s style. His hair is incredible, very full of body and all his own. He tells me he takes very good care of it, but doesn’t mind throwing on a hat once in a while. If I had to pick my favorite part of Braxton’s get-up, I would have to say his fire-engine-red Moleskine pocket notebook (moleskine.com) gets my vote. Not that I don’t love his choice in clothes, but the idea that something unrelated to apparel can be part of your style is something to think about. I’m off to go get my own notebook right now.