For our third wardrobe story this series we interviewed Jack - a model who looks like he could be Super Hans' best friend and who has some wonderful stories of how the clothes he wears have connected him to the most unlikely of people.
How would you describe your style and who do you take inspiration from?
I usually describe my style as what my nan first said to me when I started making my hair look like I had put a knife in a toaster. She said to me ‘You look like someone I would see outside Tottenham court road in the late 70s drinking special brew’ And she is bang on. I say my style is most similar to the punk scene in the late 70s, with a mix of ska and teddy boy style thrown in. Given my background in tailoring, I often try to incorporate a lot of suit tops and trousers into my look. However, I make sure the suits are never my size as that would be boring. I take a lot of influence from people like Johnny Rotten and Robert Smith. I always think just imagine wearing those types of outfits back then, it must have been crazy as people were so much more serious and set in their ways back then. I look to these people as the confidence to wear what you want when you want, from the distressed jumpers to army bands. It also allows me to surprise people, as I get judged for the front cover. That’s why I love surprising people who don’t think I understand anything.
What do clothes mean to you?
To me personally I think clothes are an extension of yourself. They represent who you are, and what you are interested in. The amount of grand people I have met from just wearing tartan trousers alone, have opened so many doors for me in recent years. Not meeting people my age, but people I never would have thought to have met. I have 70-year-olds asking me if I am a bay city roller, and bankers opening up to me about their history of punk. It allows you to be introduced to like-minded people, regardless of what walk of life they come from. This is why I think it is important to wear what you want to wear, as if you’re trying to fit in you’re going to miss the people who you actually want to be around.
What is your favourite item in your wardrobe and why?
My favourite item in my wardrobe has to be my custom full length leather jacket. It does makes me look like a BTEC vampire, but it has a lot of significant meaning to me as it was the first jump when it came to expressing myself when it came to fashion. I bought the jacket in Brick Lane, and then worked on the back with my mate Reztopia. Using stencils, and a lot of tippex we created a really unique piece. It shows red smoke coming out of a mysterious figure, with the chant ‘NO FUTURE FOR ME’ in reference to a sex pistol song. The fact it’s not just something I bought, but something I took part in creating, makes it my favourite piece.
Tell us a story about an item in your wardrobe, or a story that you remember whenever you wear that piece (doesn’t have to be your favourite or anything particularly special)
I remember I was wearing a custom pair of trousers I had made. They are a patchwork of different bands, slogans, and distressed jean that I bought online. I remember this big banker who always drunk one ESB before heading down to the East India Club, ordered a drink but stayed at the bar for a bit. I asked him if he needed anything else as he was just lingering. He looked like he was remembering something, and seemed very happy. I remember he said to me, ‘you have brought memories back I didn’t think I had anymore’. When I quizzed him on this, he started bringing up how he used to be a punk in the 70s, and had green crazy hair. He also wrote down loads of bands for me to listen to that he used to as a kid. It was amazing, because if you put me and him in a room together you wouldn’t think in the slightest that we would have anything in common. But we did, we had half an hours’ worth in common. Now every time he comes in the pub I subtly put on some punk bands and he will nod his head whilst having his ale.
Do you have any clothes past down to you (maybe from a parent, or relative) that gives it extra meaning to you?
I have an oversized coat that I had passed down from my grandad. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago, but I remember he would always have the best choice in overcoats. So every time Its winter I always make sure to wear it as much as I can, as it reminds me of him.
Is there much in your wardrobe which you don't wear often/at all?
I try to make use of everything in my wardrobe. Things that aren’t used for long periods of time I usually end up cutting up and incorporating into new outfits. I hate throwing clothes away, so I make sure to repurpose them. Often I just try and make something crazy using a sewing machine and some scissors. I think the best piece I made was out of an old GAP jumper. I just chopped it in half, sowed it together with an old stussy jumper, and had a really unique piece. I ended up selling it for a lot more than I got both the jumpers for, so that was a win win.
Because you work as a model, do you feel a certain pressure to keep up with trends?
I used to. I applied a lot of pressure to myself when I entered the modelling industry. I was really worried of wearing the wrong things, and always thought everyone was judging me. Especially with the other models at castings and shows, I felt like I had to act a certain way and wear certain clothes. But as time went on I just realised everyone feels and think the same way. Models themselves are just normal people at the end of the day, and once I came to this realisation I just started not caring to what trends came out. This just made me feel so much less stressed, as I didn’t have to worry about anything, I could just wear crazy things and explore what I wanted to wear.