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Saturday, 30 April 2016

GarconJon meets Ian Bruce

Mr Ian Bruce, Artist

When did you first notice your creative talents? When I was 4 I drew a picture of a clown for my ill mother and she said “this has really cheered me up” so I thought “hey, I’m good at this”. I’ve had an obsession with clowns since. I love the rules behind clowning and the illusion. There’s a mid-way point for performers between normal life and being on stage that I’m fascinated with.

When you were a boy, what did you want to be when you grew up? As a child all my friends wanted to be firemen or astronauts. I never had an aspiration for that. I always wanted to be an artist.

Have you always been interested in clothes? I used to consider myself a dandy with far more flamboyancy. I went through a stage of only getting new clothing in exhange for my art. This Spencer Hart suit was a gift in exhange for doing a gig at their launch party.

How does wearing a suit make you feel? Formal and upright. I walk in a slightly different way. Wearing sneakers with the suit adds the ability to dance.

Leave us with some words of wisdom. One of my first mainstage gigs was with Flaming Lips and Wayne Coyne came up to me at the end and said: “in our game it’s all about thinking of the maddest idea possible and getting away with it.”

Ian wears Spencer Hart suit and Converse sneakers. See the full story on

Simple Fabrics: Via Tortona, Milan

Monday, 25 April 2016

Thursday, 21 April 2016

GarconJon meets Luke Waller

Luke Waller has been on my radar for a few years now. After seeing his work as a painter on the BBC, I became intrigued with his realism and meticulous eye for detail so he landed a place on my mental list of subjects to photograph. In the time that's passed his career as an artist has been on the up and up and he's even turned his hand to modelling, being listed as "One to Watch" by Mr Porter.

With that it mind it seemed perfect to drive the new BMW i3 designed by Mr Porter for our shoot around East London. I drove through the city to Hackney Wick to pick Luke up at his studio and we nipped between his favourite spots in the neighbourhood to shoot him on his daily jaunt. On the shoot we discussed his inspiration, how he got to where he is today and the gentrification of London. See the full story below and to see more of Luke's work at or follow him on Instagram at @1uke_wa11er.

Special thanks to Stour Space & Morty and Bobs for the incredible locations and also to Mr Porter for the new BMW i3. The car was incredible as it's small enough for London's busy streets but large enough to carry our crew of five comfortably. We'd never driven in a fully battery powered car so the stealth and ability to reach speed was mighty impressive. All this wrapped in a perfectly considered body designed by a team who truly know style. See more about the car we drove

Describe yourself in 5 words. Big ideas full of potential.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I was born in Ladbroke Grove then moved to Shepherds Bush, West London, and onto The New Forest on the South Coast when I was 10. I’m in Hackney Wick now having moved to East London 11 years ago and very happy here. The move from London to The New Forest was a culture shock but at that age all I wanted to do was play football and climb trees and there’s a fair amount of open space and trees to do just that. It’s close to the coast too so my dad and I would surf a lot, I remember some cold outings in January but loved it. At the same time we'd visit family in London most school holidays and that meant by the age of 19 I was itching to venture back to the bright lights after my art foundation course in Bournemouth.

Were you artistic as a child? What kind of things did you used to create? I’ve always been artistic, I remember copying characters from cartoons and at school I painted murals to decorate the art block. In class I’d use each project to experiment in medium and style. I did this until my final year of the illustration degree when I produced a series of paintings called ‘Frank’s Wild Years’. I’ve continued these ever since.

Luke wears Margaret Howell jacket, wool polo shirt, Incotex navy chinos, Doc Martens boots, Trakke waxed cotton bag.

What point did you realise art could be your job? I’ve always known the difficulties in choosing this profession. I still do, which is why I studied illustration rather than art at university and interned in fashion at i-D Magazine and SHOWstudio once I’d finished. The BBC 'Culture Show’ did a profile piece on my ‘Frank’s Wild Years’ series around this time, talking about it in reference to Edward Hopper, and I’d received a good number of price requests from that. I realised art could actually
be my job rather than a dream.

How has your craft developed over the years? At school I’d say my painting was ambitious in scale and playful in combining mediums, at college it was experimental in technique if not a little too graphic at times, at foundation it was very graphic and pretty flat having taking
influence by the likes of Julian Opie and Gary Hume. The illustration course is where my projects became more concept based and I didn’t do much painting until the ‘Frank’s Wild Years’ series in the final of my four years.

That project developed the technique of composing paintings through collaging found fragments of photography, TV and film imagery, which has since developed through confidence with techniques in which to paint.

Your aesthetic is very particular and precise. Do you think this meticulous method reflects who you are as a person? I wouldn’t like too think that but yes. I often wish my artwork were a little more fluid, more spontaneous. I’ve considered whether there’s a door of creativity I’m missing out on by producing art so methodically. I’m deliberate as a person and a stickler for perfection, which translates in the way I paint I suppose.

How would you describe your painting style to someone who couldn't see? Blimey! I paint people in places in such a way that is visually accurate. However, because I have placed them there for the purpose of the painting, there is a slight air of off balance to the outcome that might make anyone refocus, 20-20 vision or not.

Luke wears Prada overcoat, Theory cashmere sweater, Percival skinny chinos, Doc Martens boots, Laird London hat.

Do you have any exhibitions coming up where people could see your work? I’m currently painting towards the next show. Although the dates and location haven’t been confirmed, it should be a good one in a space that is not your average gallery.

What else is on the horizon for you? Having recently been invited to sign to Models 1, I’ve a couple of modelling jobs coming up so a bit of pouting and posing, which I enjoy, otherwise its paint, paint, paint.

Are you working on anything interesting at the moment? There’s a commission to finish, then I’ve another large piece planned out. Almost all of my paintings of the past 6 years have been on a small scale. I think it’s time to get another big piece under my belt.

You've lived in Hackney for many years now, what do you like about the Borough? I’m a short walk from many closest friends and I enjoy the conversations I might fall into with those I don’t know.
London's changing so rapidly but the East has probably seen the biggest change fastest. Do you see yourself there in 10 years? Let’s see how this goes. I’d love to move abroad at some point but would like to do so with more of name for myself first. If that happens I’m sure I’ll be back in London at some point, east or otherwise.

What do you think of the changes? It pushes prices up quicker than wages which is bollocks, but the restaurants and bars popping up in Hackney Wick over the past few have kept it’s charm against all odds.

How do you reconcile high rents and gentrification with living an artist’s life? Well I don’t unfortunately; I’m not there yet. My rent is reasonable but I’m not in a position to rely on my art to pay for it. So I manage a restaurant in Soho called Pix, five shifts a week and the odd modelling job helps out too.

Luke wears Emmett London suit, Paul Smith jumper, model's own shoes. 

How would you describe your style? At the restaurant it’s sleeves rolled, top button done and DM’s so I’d say a Skinhead you’d invite for tea, and otherwise it’s often a polo-neck jumper and leather jacket, so then a throwback from the Paris Riots of ’68.

Do you have any favourite brands? Many that vary but having spent a number of years working without a model agency I’ve been looked after well by Percival, Emmett London, Pelechecoco and Joseph, so they occupy my wardrobe.

Are there any men who you take inspiration from in your life? My dad a great deal. If I have half the temperament he does I’d have reason to be proud.

What advice would you give your 18 year old self? ‘Snap out of it’, I got myself into a few scrapes around that age.

Leave us with some words of wisdom. Keep at it and be nice, a bit of courtesy doesn’t hurt anyone.

Luke wears ACNE leather jacket, Benetton polo neck, Percival trousers, Converse trainers.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

GarconJon meets Dean Cook

Mr Dean Cook, Menswear Buying Manager at Browns

There are only a handful of brands that can truly be described as iconic and Browns store is one of those. Since the 1970s they've been at the forefront of British fashion, credited with discovering the likes of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan, helping to build London's reputation as a capital of International design talent. Considering the size of the boutique, it's quite a feat.

With the appointment of Dean Cook to the buying role last year, he's fully flexed his fashion muscles by introducing 26 new brands to the men's floor, increasing stock 5-fold. For menswear in London this can only be a good thing. I sat down with him for a quick chat at the top of their South Molton Street headquarters to discuss the changing industry since he entered 20 years ago, what's next in the world of fashion and his obsession with cycling.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up in Essex and I live there now with my family. When I left school I moved to Cambridge to play football professionally. I was going from club to club and decided it wasn’t for me. It was then that I decided to carve out a career in the fashion industry - it was always an interest of mine growing up.

Have you always been interested in menswear then? I remember having an interest from a very early age. When I played football I used to come to London to go shopping – I always brought the other players. I first came to Browns when I was about 15. This was the store to come to. Bond Street was only half a street, Selfridges was a whole different animal then and Dover Street Market wasn’t even a concept. In fact, Comme des Garcons used to be a partner of Browns back then. I originally came looking for Comme as a teenager and that’s how I stumbled across Browns, this iconic shop.

Describe yourself in 5 words. Positive, energetic, determined, forward-thinking, fun.

Do you think this influences the way you work? Absolutely. I’m a high energy, positive person and this translates to my work on a daily basis. I enjoy what I do and like to work closely and collaboratively with my team. I think this is essential in order to bring the best out of people.

Dean wears Gucci wool blazer, Haider Ackermann silk t-shirt, Neil Barrett jeans and Kazuyuki Kumagai boots.

How has the fashion industry changed since you first entered? In my twenty years working in fashion I’ve made so many good friends. The industry has changed dramatically since I first started - it wasn’t as big a business as it is now, when I entered. Now it seems if the ambition isn’t to be a footballer or a pop star, kids all want to work in fashion and that’s an achievable dream.

Do you think these kids fully understand the challenges that come with a job in the industry? No, I don’t think there’s a real understanding of the challenges and the hard work that’s necessary to work in the fashion industry. So many children think buyers swan around looking at clothes. Little do they know that it's actually more likely that I'll be up until early hours writing orders while travelling on buying trip. 

What’s your favourite part of the fashion calendar? I love going on buying trips. Going to buy fashion internationally and being able to influence the consumer is the dream if you like fashion. Having the opportunity to bring the best of global fashion to Browns is an exciting prospect every season and one which I really enjoy.

What’s your opinion on treading the line between buying stock that is safe and sellable and pushing the boundaries? You have to push the boundaries in fashion. Buying into special products is what Browns is all about and that’s reflected in our sales. We sell out in all the key pieces each season. Historically, Browns has always been the store that people come to for something new from the hottest designer brands. We buy into cult brands such as Haider Ackermann, Rick Owens and Raf Simons alongside key superbrands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent and Valentino, but we also champion new design talent each season. New brands to Browns for SS16 include Sophnet, Uniform Experiment, Curieux, Kazuyuki Kumagai, Macromauro and Nick Fouquet – varied brands at a mix of price-points and all with a real point of difference.

Dean wears Uniform Experiment Jacket, Haider Ackermann silk t-shirt, Haider Ackermann joggers and Raf Simons X Adidas Stan Smith Distressed Trainers.

You’ve worked in luxury fashion for a long time, how does this role at Browns compare to your others at places like Jil Sander or Versace? I’ve had a great career on the sales side working at a very senior level with some extremely dynamic teams for some amazing brands. To get this opportunity though to influence a multi-brand store is incredible and it’s of definite benefit that I’ve worked on both sides of the business.

I can imagine buying is the type of role that everyone thinks they want to do, what advice would you give a young person wanting to move into this position? Don’t underestimate the value of experience. Start at the bottom and work your way up. You can be very talented and be spotted early, but overall the journey to become a buyer requires a lot of hard work and building your knowledge of the industry is key.

There’s a lot of talk about fashion week as we know it coming to an end, with Tom Ford releasing video and Burberry championing buy-from-runway. What do you think about all this? I definitely think the traditional cycle is going to change. I think we’ll see the “see now, buy now” approach come into play for more and more brands. Versace did this three years ago and we’re still talking about it. It’s interesting to see more brands trialling a similar approach.

And what about the rise of Vetements? There are so many brands to choose from and Vetements have clearly, creatively cut through the noise. It’s like the Premier League this year. How boring if Chelsea or Man City had won! No one would have expected Leicester to be in with a chance to take the title. We need newness in life.

I love that you’re so passionate about cycling. Why is being on the open road on two wheels so fulfilling? Undoubtedly the freedom. I could cycle for hours without realising it. I can be out for anything from eight to eighteen hours at the weekend. I use that time to think.

What do you think about cycling style right now? I love how Rapha have made cycling cool. The innovation in sports fabrics is incredible. I wear Rapha and ASSOS mostly as both brands have the perfect mix of style and substance.

What piece of advice would you give your 18 year old self? On a professional level, I would tell my eighteen year-old self to find something you enjoy and work hard at it to enjoy the benefits later in life. On a more personal front, I’d say life is all about experiences, so take any opportunity to travel the world. I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of travelling and I think it’s so important. It opens your mind and tests you in so many ways.

Leave us with some words of wisdom. Never give up. If you really believe in something go for it with full force.

Dean wears Raf Simons Canvas Coat, Raf Simons short sleeve shirt, Sophnet chinos and Tricker's Classic Leather Brogues.

Golden Hour Halo: Mayfair, London

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Model Off Duty: Margaret Street, London

Model off duty photographed outside the Margaret Howell show at London Collections Men for Vogue Hommes.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Monday, 4 April 2016

GarconJon meets Roo Panes: SXSW Austin, Texas

It seems strange to travel 5000 miles to Texas in the United States to photograph an Englishman who lives in the same city as myself. Performing at the South by Southwest music festival, Mr Roo Panes is the man from Dorset with a wealth of musical talent and a voice to melt even the hardest of hearts. Being plucked from obscurity by Burberry for their 'Acoustic' series featuring new British musicians, Roo went on to become the face of the brand reaching an international audience overnight. It was this connection that first brought him to my attention but it wasn't until a good friend with impeccable taste pointed me in the direction of his music that I was hooked.

Meeting on a humid and bright spring afternoon after a series of successful shows in the city, we shot around the classically Southern neighbourhoods of North Austin. At the end of our shoot I asked him for a private gig in his living room where he treated me to a 12 string accoustic performance of Paper Weights, probably my favourite track from his new record of the same name. His music is lyrically driven and emotionally astute just like our conversation that ensued.

See the full story below and discover more of Roo's music at

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up in Dorset and now I live between there and London. The town I was a child in was Wimborne. There’s nothing special about this town that makes it particularly musical but there’s a small record store that I sometimes play in. For me, it’s more about having space to write as I tend to not write in London. At home I can go to the coast when the suns out, sit on a cliff and think.

Did you feel the pressure of moving to London in the creative world? When I started out I definitely thought that. It’s where all the record companies are and there are the biggest shows. I had friends who’d moved already before I did so had a sense of camaraderie which was great but over the past 12 months I’ve certainly felt less of a requirement to be stuck in one location.

When did you realise your calling was music? I actually never have. I’ve been writing music for a long time but it was always just for me, as a pastime. There was a really natural progression after university towards music. I gave myself a year and started to book shows myself, thinking if it never goes backwards I’ll just keep going. It’s very much step by step and so far that’s taken me down the recording route. Six years later I’m still on this path. I don’t know what the next chapter holds. If you plan it out too much you can starve yourself of the spontaneity of life. If I was too regimented I think my experience would lack creativity and surprise.

What drives your music? There are so many reference points. At the base, it’s my chance to express myself. Many of the things I write are too intense for me to say in real life. Music has always been my way of articulating the world around me. The idea of sharing has also been key, I love to show others my discoveries through music.

Your latest album came out this month, I downloaded it last week and it’s beautiful. Is there an over-riding theme to the record? With the last LP, Little Giant, there was certainly a philosophy. I wanted to challenge people in our boisterous, busy world and force people to reflect. In Paperweights, I referenced the actual writing process more as it was constructed differently than in the past. I didn’t have a regiment to writing I just literally explored any mood so there are some songs that have jazz elements or folk elements which previously I would have thought ‘I’m not in that box. The idea here is about lifting the paperweight on my ideas and feelings. It’s different significant moments, revelations from the past few years.

Why do you think someone would be a fan of Roo Panes? What makes you, you? You’d have to ask them! What I set out to do is wholly be myself. I’m honest. Maybe that’s something that resonated? Otherwise I couldn’t really tell you. For my part, I like the experience of doing music without worrying about other things we’re told to be concerned with, like whether I’m ‘cool’ or not.

On a personal level, do you have an expectation when a record comes out? I’m fortunate enough to be a full time musician so I guess the hope is that it will continue, however I can’t control that. I only focus on outcomes that I can control. The main thing for me with the record is when it connects with people. I can’t tell you how that happens but when a listener tells me that the music has moved them, that’s when I know I’m doing something right. Music is treated as a business but really it is closer to medicine for a lot of people. It’s not so much an expectation but a hope.

Who do you admire in the art world? Is there anyone that inspires you? I’ve recently been reading about Vincent Van Gogh’s life and he had some incredible philosophies. There is a lovely line that reads “There is nothing more artistic than to love others” and I thought that was quite profound. For a man who was so talented, this shows a real lack of ego which is surprising. Thomas Hardy has always been important to me. He lived a few roads from me in Dorset back in the day and it made a huge impression when I was younger. He showed me that there’s so much to write about that’s just in front of you. Everything is infinitely interesting.

I love learning about how songwriters craft their music. I listen to a songwriting Podcast called Sodajerker which gives fantastic insight. Is there a pattern or formula for you? Do you start with lyrics or music? It’s quite difficult to tell. Usually it does start with one or the other, but in the past few months I’ve been forming the music and words simultaneously. I like the idea that any thought and moment has it’s own words and melody; looking at the world like this helps me to view the two as inseparable. If I read a line of poetry I like to think about what music would help create the mood conveyed.

Is there a song you think merges these two worlds really well? ‘Sweet Thing’ by Van Morrison. It’s basically just a cycle that builds up all the way through with a beautiful melee of flutes and bass. The song it quite repetitive lyrically but the music explains the simplicity of the feeling that comes from this wording.

Do you have an album that was significant to you becoming a musician? Surprisingly, although I grew up with music around me, I actually don’t listen to recorded music that much. There was an album by Sigor Ros ‘Brackets’ that I used to listen to that after school and I remember it striking a chord. The melody is so descriptive, and I loved the vision of Iceland that fit naturally with my joy of music. One of the dangers of being too inspired by others is that you replicate them, and I want to take my own path.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I just wrote a song called ‘Where I Want to Go’ and there’s a lyric in there that describes my hopes best. “Further than the eye can see, but nearer than the air I breathe, I don’t need to see the end to follow you all the way my friend”. I just want to be in a position where I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made, and I’m coming from the right place. If I set myself targets it’s likely that I’ll be disappointed. My target now may be very far from my natural desire in a decade.

How did the Burberry connection come about? Has that made a big impact on you? I was still in Dorset and I’d taken on a teaching job, booking my own gigs in my time off. I’d recorded an EP called ‘Once’ in my living room with a mate and that seemed to be quite an encouraging release. It got a lot of people listening. I noticed Burberry were doing acoustic sessions and noticed that an artist I liked Jonny Flint had been featured already so I wrote an email to the company. When they responded positively I could hardly believe it. It’s had a huge impact as it gave me a platform at a time when I was just starting. It was a unique was to begin my career. Since then I like to think I’ve carried on at my pace in the right way and it’s probably the most important single event to happen to my career.

Describe yourself in 5 words. Just a normal human being.

What advice would you give your 18 year old self? Be brave. Be kind. I’m sure I just stole that from Disney.

Leave us with some words of wisdom. I have a song called ‘Sing for the Wind’ which was inspired by some words from my Father. When I was just working out how I felt about everything, he told me “Where you finish isn’t where you start. Life is the journey of a lifetime.” That always sticks with me.

Download Roo Pane's new album Paperweights from iTunes here or on vinyl and CD here.