An Original Outfitgrid-er - John Lee
John Lee's instagram account features some of the most popular outfitgrids and styles on instagram. We had the opportunity to interview the Seattle native and get a feel for his take on clothing, and what he enjoys about it. In the interview, he breaks down how he styles himself, and informs us of some of his opinions in the fashion world. Here is the full interview with one of the original outfitgrid-ers .
How did you get into fashion and how has it affected you so far?
"I fell in love with art and fashion almost simultaneously, at a very early age. Ever since I remember, I had a fascination with clothes, shoes & the works; more so than the average child. It was a means of expressing myself & stretching my creativity."
How do you see the Seattle fashion scene right now?
"The Seattle fashion scene is definitely on the rise. We've come a long way from the grunge era we've become known for. However, the fashion-forward (no pun intended) crowd is very few & far between. There is still an influx of the Northfaces lol"
Most people probably would like to know how you afford your clothes, does it take time to amass a collection such as yours?
"Growing up in the inner city, we didn't have much. But I learned to develop a very strong work ethic from my parents and starting working at age 15. Coming from such humble beginnings, it really propelled my desire for success. I've been fortunate to move up rather quickly within my field of study and have a means to truly support myself. Believe it or not, I'm extremely frugal. I always try to find a deal before splurging. "
In your profile, it says you are a Visual Designer, what does that entail?
"Currently I'm a Senior Visual Designer; focusing on both Graphic Design & UX Design. As a Senior Visual Designer I'm responsible for conceptualization and implementation of design solutions that meet marketing strategies from start to finish. I play a lead role on projects and help supervise others. "
Have you ever used your graphic design skills on clothing?
"I designed clothing graphics for a streetwear brand. During that time it was when graphic tee's were huge. It was fun at that time, especially seeing people wear my designs."
That is really creative, I like the fuse of your artistry into clothing. Have you ever thought of re-visiting clothing design?
"Most definitely. I also have some experience styling, merchandising & retail management. One day I would like to have my own line or at least contribute to one."
It seems like you have a variety of skills that could make it happen. You are one of the best known Outfitgrid-ers ( if that is a word ) Is it just a fun way for you to display your clothes in a clean/fun way?
"I like the sound of that. "Outfitgrid-er". Lol You know, it's pretty amazing how far it's come. I remember a couple years ago, there was a small group of us pushing it. Now the account has over 430k followers! I'm really proud of Dennis. He's created a movement that's not just about clothes. It's really become a phenomenon. It's a creative & inspiring outlet. It's so dope cause I've made so many friendships with people all over the world. Shoutout to the #gridgvng fam! Dennis himself called me an #outfitgrid originator. But honestly, I'm just happy to participate. It's fun to express myself and even cooler to see people positively respond to it. I'm really grateful to that man & what he's done for our culture. "
It is an entire new way to share clothing, which leads me to my next question. How has social media such as instagram changed fashion?
"I think social media has changed the way we view content, specifically fashion. Instagram in particular is a game changer. There's something about seeing visuals that evoke a strong emotional response. In a way, Instagram is becoming the new fashion blog. Virtually every fashion house, editor, blogger has an account & almost posts daily.You can search via hashtags in seconds, for your daily dose of inspiration. Not to mention, it's a new way to discover new talent and brands."
I agree entirely. What brands have you discovered just through instagram?
What are some of your favorite pieces you own to date?
"That's a tough question, as my "favorites" are constantly changing. I would say my current favorite purchases would be a tie between my SLP Hedi boots & FOG l/s flannel with the back zip."
When you spend a lot on an item, do you ever regret it?
"I normally don't make splurge purchases on a whim. Instead I make sure that I only invest in items that I absolutely love & know will be versatile. Sometimes I can get a little buyers remorse, but I try to justify my purchases by considering how much wear I'd potentially get out of them. "
If you get the use out of it, then it is worth the investment. How do you think music has affected fashion, and if so, what music in particular has helped shape your style?
"Definitely. I think music & fashion have a very close relationship. They're both a sign of the times. For me, Hip Hop as a culture has really influenced my personal style. I grew up listening to a lot of rap and always admired their tenacity & swagger. They exuded confidence."
When you are picking out an outfit, what factors come into play?
"I usually dress based on mood, weather & occasion. If I'm really feeling it I might prepare my outfit the night before. Otherwise, I normally wake up & check the forecast, which helps me determine what to wear. Weather in Seattle can be unpredictable. When picking my outfits, I like to be more organic & spontaneous, rather than formulaic. Most of the time I choose the clothing first & then the shoes. It all depends on my mood, weather conditions & occasion at-hand."
I imagine the Seattle weather requires a lot of rain resistant pieces of clothing.
"For sure. You gotta be prepared for the colder climate; especially the rain. Fortunately, I love outerwear & layering. So I'm lucky I can wear things like my Yves Salomon parka a lot! Talk about return on investment. Fall is my favorite season to dress, for that very reason. And in the Pacific Northwest we have no shortage of Fall. Probably our longest of all four seasons."
Summer is difficult for most people, how do you view dressing for Summer?
"Summer is one of my favorite seasons, but probably my least favorite for fashion. I mean it's all about stripping down to minimal layers, thin fabrics & light colors. Which means more about effortless ease than it is about conscious decisions. In the summer, I like easy pieces that are light-weight. During the day I'd wear basic elongated tanks with distressed denim or shorts & at night opt for simple tee's with leather shorts; to mix things up. I think this summer my go-to will be elongated tees & tanks and cotton drop-crotch shorts. "
If you are wearing sneakers with shorts, do you wear socks, or do you "no sock" it?
"Socks: depends on the shoes. Anything super low-cut, I'll make sure to wear some no-shows. Fellas, if you don't know about the no-shows, get familiar! The whole no socks thing is a bad idea. No one wants to smell your feet... Lol"
What sneakers/shoes will you personally be rocking this Summer?
"I'll be rocking comfy and lightweight sneakers, such as Visvim FBT Shamans & SLP chelsea boots all summer. I think I may finally cop some Y3 Qasas as well. I hear they're super cozy and would pair really well with my summer staples. "
How and where do you do most of your shopping? Are there any shops in Seattle people should know about?
"I do most of my shopping online. But there are a few shops in Seattle that I frequent. My favorite store in Seattle is hands down, Totokaelo. A true gem in the Pacific Northwest. I also shop often at department stores such as Nordstrom, which started in Seattle, and Barneys. I like mixing high & low, so when I can I like visiting vintage stores, consignment shops, thrift stores & fast fashion (H&M, Zara). All Saints is also great. And you can't really beat the sales rack at Urban Outfitters. We also have some street wear boutiques as well, such as Alive & Well, BAIT, Zebraclub. All solid choices, especially when shopping for sneakers. And of course there's Machus, which is my favorite store in PDX. They carry all the latest & greatest contemporary labels, making it a no brainer. Plus it helps that the owners, Justin & Juline are super dope. Also shoutout to my friend Alex, part of the #gridgvng, who holds it down there as well!"
How do you feel about "Fast Fashion," stores like Zara and H&M?
"Fast fashion often times gets a bad rap. But what people need to be cognizant of is the fact that no one is reinventing the wheel in the creative world. Everything has been. It's just a different means of expressing ideas.Of course as a Designer myself I have an understanding of the integrity of intellectual property and respecting creativity and the craftsmanship put into work. But fast fashion was built on the philosophy of being accessible to the masses. It's meant for those that appreciate high fashion but can't necessarily afford it."
Lastly, I would just like to ask if you have advice for our readers?
"Don't be afraid to try new things & step out of your comfort zone. Be creative. Fashion is meant to be fun!"
Big shout out to @Johnjunglee for taking the time to do an interview with us.
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