Wardrobe Story: Ed Johnston
London Fashion Week Day 3: Ed, interviewed by Chloe, delves into the reasons why fashion is so important to him, explaining how much more confident he has become in expressing himself through bolder outfit choices.
What is your favourite item in your wardrobe and why?
That's an incredibly hard question because for me, my favourite item changes in terms of outfit - I have a lot of favourite items which look best depending on how I wear them. I guess my most versatile item of clothing has to be my leather blazer which I got from a vintage shop in Shoreditch. I love that you can dress it however you want: classy, streetwear - and because it's black, it goes with everything - it always makes me feel confident.
Is that really important for you then, feeling confident in your clothes?
Clothes are always a feel good thing for me - when I buy clothes or when I'm choosing what to wear on a night out, I don’t think about practicalities: if I look good, I feel good, and I think that works the other way too - feeling confident is so important to looking good as well. I don’t really think about comfort or practicality much!
Yeah, I can see that from you wearing your snakeskin crocs in the snow the other day! Do any of your clothes have an interesting story behind them?
Yeah definitely, I would say one piece of clothing in particular is a faux fur coat that my mum gave me for Christmas when I was sixteen; I remember opening it front of all of my family and them being totally shocked that I would ever wear something like that! In hindsight, I can definitely see why, as at the time I didn't have the confidence to wear it, but now I absolutely love it because it reminds me how much more confident I've become in my fashion choices. I spent so long loving fashion but being scared that people would laugh at me and think I'm different, but now when I wear this really over-the-top coat and everyone looks at me, and I love that! With the clothes I wear, I want a reaction - that's part of it for me.
Are you more likely to keep clothes which have sentimental value to you even if they don't fit you anymore or do you like to keep your wardrobe in a constant state of flux?
I think where my fashion has changed is the amount of money I spend on clothes now - I sell a lot of the clothes I don't wear anymore on Depop, but it's more just to get them out of my wardrobe as opposed to a business endeavour. I spend more money on individual pieces now than I used to, as opposed to buying more clothes, and therefore each item I buy tends to have a certain amount of sentimental value to me because I will have saved up for that piece and wanted it for a while, and there will be a reason why I love it so much. In some senses, my wardrobe has become a sort of museum of my past selves: who I was at the time I bought that piece, where and why I bought it - so I am reluctant to let go of some clothes because I can't bear the thought that that little story won't be carried on to the next owner.
Yeah, that's definitely the benefit of apps like Isthmus which allow you to track the progress of an item through a network of owners who swap and share clothes - it allows you to stay in contact with the history of the item like a kind of clothing genealogy!
Is there much in your wardrobe which you don't wear often/at all?
Yeah I'm a very seasonal person in terms of what I wear, and also quite obsessive: if I buy an item I'll wear it every day for while until it gets put into the general rotation, and I fall back in love with something I haven't worn for ages. I love that rediscovery of something which I've forgotten about at the back of my wardrobe, which I can rework with different outfits according to my changing tastes and any new pieces I've acquired since I forgot about it!
How often do you buy new clothes?
I would say around every other month. I never buy out of necessity, I'm always adding to a look I've envisioned. Lockdown has been a massive factor - I've had a larger disposable income due to not going out, and the only thing I've spent money on is clothes. I used lockdown as an opportunity to reconsider my wardrobe and the direction I want to take it in. I love every single thing that I buy; the whole process of anticipation and satisfaction when a piece of clothing looks exactly how you wanted it to is as much a part of it as when it becomes part of your collection. I have been shopping more second-hand, and even though there's a larger degree of uncertainty, in my opinion some things look way better when they're slightly worn - bags in particular.
Where do you get your wardrobe inspiration from (be that you own creativity, someone who you take inspiration from, certain fabrics you like)?
I'm very much a silhouette person: don't get me wrong, I love colours and the odd piece of branded clothing, but above all, the shape of an item is very important to me. Personally, I love a tighter top and baggier bottoms. I do see a lot of gay influencers adopting that silhouette, which is perhaps a factor in that; although being gay isn't a massive part of my life, subconsciously I think I do identify with that. I also love playing with a gendered aesthetic - rather than a completely gender neutral look, I sometimes opt for the women's section - not because they're women's clothes, but because I don't see a reason to make that distinction in my fashion choices. For example, I love mini handbags and baby-tees but I don't believe that takes anything away from my masculinity - personally, I don't view my clothes as a reflection of my gender or sexuality, but as a form of self-expression which goes much beyond that.