June 28, 2009
Long before men’s fashion blogs starting sprouting like mushrooms all over the blogosphere, there was Style Salvage. With pretty much the same low-fi-charming layout before as it has now, blue background and text, adorably hasty collages, it stands the test of time as numbers of the mushroom-blogs cease to be updated mere months after inception, bringing fresh material, earnest insight, and inspirational ideas to its followers. A few days ago, they celebrated their second birthday.
a vintage tennis-inspired collage on the blog
Not to say that Style Salvage is old, in fact they’re anything but. Having followed the blog for quite a while, I could say it is their unique approach to fashion, which I greatly agree with, that has got me hooked on to the blog: an eye for new design talent, a penchant for quality and tailoring, the occasional easy DIY projects, and a general openness to creativity and self-expression (as opposed to the teachy-preachy authoritative tone of many mainstream magazines). Allow me to share with you my little chat with Steve and EJ of Style Salvage.
Steve, currently residing in London, wearing his new tortoiseshell specs
the lovely EJ (aka Eliza), from Manchester, in one of her rare photographic appearances. As you can see, EJ is clearly not a man…
Tell us about Style Salvage. Who are Steve and EJ? Why the name “Style Salvage”? Why do you blog?
Steve: We are just two friends who met at University and became the bestest of friends. A large percentage of my student loan was spent clothes shopping and EJ was a constant fixture, picking out things from the racks and forcing me to try them on. My initial wavering was usual broken down and I walked away with a bag full of items. After Uni, we spent so much of our time talking about men’s style and rather than limit these chats to the frequent email tennis (at work), we decided to make it a little more public so we could get invite people’s contributions.
EJ: It’s true that I bully Steve on shopping trips. You will also see us racing through shops, trying find the nicest thing before the other person does (I am more focused though, so I always win, ha!).
Style Salvage really came from the idea that no outfit is so bad that something positive can’t be taken from it. It’s about finding that positive and learning something from it. I try and live by the ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’ rule when it comes to blogging!
Style Salvage has been there long before there were menswear fashion blogs, long before I even knew of the existence of fashion blogs! Tell us how it was like back then, and how it felt like starting up Style Salvage.
EJ: Though it feels like it, the blog’s not quite yet two years old. In that time we’ve seen blogs (and magazines!) come and go. Although Style Salvage felt like somewhat of natural progression for us, it was scary putting those words out there for everyone to see!
Steve: It feels a little weird to be considered as old hands in the blogging game. It is true though that there were far less menswear style/fashion blogs out there when we kicked off Style Salvage and it has been nice to discover new ones along the way. We’ve always wanted the blog to be a discussion, initially between the two of us and then bringing in the outside world. It might be tad sad to admit but it was exciting starting out, neither of us had done anything like this before. When we had people reading and commenting it felt so good and it is quite easy to become addicted to blogging…if allowed to it can consume all free time!
You are wonderfully prolific. Where do you get the material for all those posts? (not to mention the patience to write them all!)
Steve: Wow, thanks. I wouldn’t say we were that prolific. We certainly weren’t initially but posts have become more frequent over the last year. We try and inject some personality and discussion in to every aspect of menswear and only write about things that really interest us. In terms of material, of course we spend a great deal of time online reading other blogs, online magazines etc but most of my material comes from magazine editorials, articles and films. We love being inspired by things which have nothing to do with collections or shoots and we try and look everywhere for inspiration.
collages of looks from the recent fashion week in London
What is London style to you? What is Manchester style to you?
EJ: I would say that (for men at least) Manchester style is sharp haircuts, sideburns… retro and casual but not sloppy. It doesn’t really seem fashion driven, which I really like!
Steve: London style is difficult to pin down. In general it is more fashion conscious but there are undoubtedly street styles which influence the collections and that is what I love about London. Different areas have an overriding style aesthetic, that said the look of the moment can be broken down as follows; stripey tshirt or check shirt worn with straight cut jeans (rolled up), bare ankles and boat shoes…London is overcome with this look now that the sun has come out.
Steve’s infamous denim top. I personally like it a lot!
Describe your personal style using three literary works. (books, magazines, poems, short stories, songs, limericks, you name it!)
Steve: Oh good question…so hard to think of three though. I am particularly enamoured with Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited at the moment but have to admit that this has more to do with watching it on screen as opposed to reading Waugh’s novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray seems particularly resonant the older I get. Lastly, the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner because I am loving sailor looks at the moment and find myself constantly drawn to blue stripes (ha!)…a bit of a weak link but I did say that this was a tough question!
My most favorite DIY project on Style Salvage, the Burberry-inspired double cardigan:
1. cut up the sleeves of an old cardigan
2. delicately attach the cut cardi to the inside of another
3. rock it Chris Bailey style!
EJ: This question is too hard! I can only think of one answer: Alice through the Looking Glass as I look like I’ve gotten dressed while half asleep/dreaming (which is normally the case on a week day).
What is the next big thing in fashion?
Steve: In recent years we’ve seen an increased support for graduate talent and I think this will only get stronger. Fingers crossed that emerging talent will be allowed to blossom to its full potential with the launch of a number of additional initiatives and e-commerce platforms.
EJ: In reality, I couldn’t say. In my fantasy world, it’s men (not boys) with better haircuts wearing wide legged trousers.
Name three pairs of shoes you can’t live without.
EJ: Adidas, adidas, adidas! All other shoes cut my feet up. It’s sad but it’s true. I am a hostage to my trainers. I would steal Steve’s blue Lanvins if I could though- I always stomp around in them when I get the chance.
One might be quick to put Style Salvage in a box and think of it as a male Style Bubble (Steve, in fact, is dating the renowned kooky-fabulous Susie Lau of Style Bubble.), but although elements of Susie’s personal style is evident in Steve’s, as can be seen in the chunky scarf he wears, Steve lends a solid point-of-view on fashion that is 100% his own.
Steve: Firstly, Lanvin Hi tops which were a present from Susie because they make me feel special every time I wear them. Secondly, my suede bstore lace ups which get better and better with age. Last but not least, leather boots bought from a Lanvin sample sale in Paris. I was a little strapped for cash at the time and so rather than get the Eurostar I spent six hours on the coach but these beauties made it all worth it.
Steve in the sample sale Lanvins
EJ, out of curiosity, why do you maintain a menswear blog despite the fact that you are female? Any womenswear blogs you have that you’re keeping from us?
EJ: I’m just more interested in the way men dress I suppose. I like the subtlties and luxe nature of a lot of men’s styles in particular. I’m a bit obsessed with the ‘rules’ of men’s fashion- what is and isn’t acceptable/masculinity and clothing/how things should supposedly be worn- and how people break those rules or comply to them stylishly. I’m also just not that interested in women’s fashion and I honestly don’t think anyone would be interested in hearing about the way I dress! No secret blogs, though I do like reading womenswear blogs (especially Kingdom of Style, The Coveted, Some Girls Wander) and find the women on Garance Dore so inspiring- they have such beautiful hair!.
Splurge on _______, skimp on _________?
EJ: Splurge on moisturiser (ew, that sounds filthy), skimp on hair gel. Seriously.
Steve: Splurge on the things you really need, skimp on the things you don’t.
The government is giving away two thousand dollars to spend on fashion-related items only. What will you buy?
Steve: A bespoke suit. I have my own fund which is growing quite nicely but I’m pretty impatient so this would help no end!
Steve in Opening Ceremony X Uniqlo and the Lanvin trainers
EJ: Coats and dresses. I have very little self control when it comes to coats… I’ve had to stop looking at them in shops! Being a southerner living up North, I’m not used to the colder weather so wear them most of the year.
Everything tastes better with _______ on it.
EJ: Salt. I love salt a bit too much.
Steve: I would have to say salt as well, with an honorable mention to sugar which ran a close second. Whoever answers cheese to this question is no friend of mine.
EJ in a delightfully dandy DIY moustache glove
(editor’s note: The interview took place a few weeks ago, hence the interviewees speak of Style Salvage as barely two years old. They have turned two since then.)