Mittwoch, 31. Oktober 2018

"Insta-Tour", Teil I: Benton aus San Francisco, Kalifornien - Instagram: @benton.down

Die "Insta-Tour" kann beginnen... mit Benton (@benton.down) aus Kalifornien!
Benton ist einer der jungen Vertreter des "All American"-Stils, der wieder so populär ist wie schon lange nicht mehr... definitiv einer meiner Favoriten auf Instagram:

You are living in San Franciso, California… I consider your style mostly “Americana“, but with a very strong Ivy League- or better, Old School Preppy-influence. When we in Europe read or hear about San Francisco, we instantly think of Hippies, thanks to Scott McKenzies generational anthem I guess.

How do you feel about the city, would you consider it to still be much influenced by the hippie movement or do Preppy or Americana stylistics prevail?
I’m glad you phrased it as Americana, I think my fascination is rooted in the confluence of sports, college culture, entertainment, and tradition that represents the classic American style.  
I agree about California as having lost that traditional flavor, but I think now it’s all because of the tech scene. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked around on the train during my morning commute to see I’m the only one not wearing black or grey. We’re supposed to be so diverse now, but people just don’t seem to be optimistic enough or energized enough to wear color. I don’t blame them, but it also makes for a sad picture. I personally feel that while the style of hoodie and jeans is very accessible, it’s sanded down a lot of the personal expression that comes from clothing. It might be an overstatement to say what you wear represents who you are, but you are making a choice every morning on how people will see you through the whole day. It might be a first impression you make on someone, but it could also be a reinforcement of a reputation. I think it’s unrealistic to say that how we present ourselves shouldn’t affect people’s perception of us, of course it does. 
I’m not demanding that we all wear suits to work everyday, but if we could get people to see oxford button downs and sweaters as a fun and also comfortable alternative, that would be a win.
I’ve always been a huge David Letterman fan
(particularly his 80s-90s era ). This felt like
a risky choice for IG since I hadn’t
tried emulating someone else’s style before.

How did YOU discover Ivy League and Preppy?
I’d say my father was my first exposure to the American style. He was by no means an Ivy League man, but having come from the mid west, he still retained that last bit of American swagger that seems to have all but died out. I was born in Japan and attended kindergarten there, but I remember during our annual undo kai (athletics day), in a sea of other Japanese dads wearing baggy polo shirts and oversized sweatshirts with loud designer logos, my dad was there with his white button-down tucked into his beloved faded Levi’s. His omnipresent Ray Ban aviators topped off the quietly confident look and that image was burned into my memory forever.

Where do you find inspiration? Is it also instagram or do you read blogs? Vintage ads?

I’ve always loved movies. Ever since I was little, it was a way to escape into a fantasy world that somehow made more sense to me. As I grew up, I was looking for the types of clothes I saw in the movies, but what I normally saw didn’t look right. This is when I had to try and understand what were the differences between what to the untrained eye might look the same. Back when they were in publication I would occasionally let myself buy a copy of Free & Easy magazine (they were quite expensive in the U.S.), to acquire the basic knowledge and to also develop a deeper appreciation for things I took for granted here. I also learned a lot from Giuseppe Timore’s blog, who still maintains his tumblr:

My first attempt at madras ever...

I seem to remember that you are half American, half Japanese – is there any impact on you from the Japanese side of Ivy/Preppy style?
There’s a popular saying in Japan, which is also popular in the U.S.: “God is in the details.” The fascinating thing about Ivy style is that easy elegance is such a crucial ingredient in pulling it off, but if you don’t pay attention to the details, I don’t think it’ll ever look right. If you think blue jeans are blue jeans and any oxford button-down will work, you’re probably missing out on the good stuff.  
But who knows, you also might be having more fun with your clothes and not stressing the little things, so you might actually be following the classic American spirit better. I obsess as much as the next guy, but I think you have to find a healthy balance.

I read „Ametora“ a while ago, have you read it, too? If so, what do you think of it? What do you think about the Japanese being so passionate about Americana style?
I thought it was fascinating. It gives you a taste of the overall migration of American style to Japan and how in turn, the Japanese brought a new-found appreciation of the things we take for granted here.  
For me, as someone who was born in Japan, but raised in the U.S., classic Americana has a defiantly individualistic feel which I love. It’s not about being obnoxiously defiant or in your face about it, it’s being able to assert who you are and where you came from with quiet confidence. To me, there’s a string that runs through Steve McQueen, Indiana Jones, Norman Mailer, Johnny Carson, Miles Davis, Toshiro Mifune, and even Bugs Bunny. They’re not all the same type, but they embody the confidence, optimism, the sense of humor, the independence and dash of impudent cockiness that I think many Japanese people are a little envious (myself included). 

Barbour is my fave jacket so I
obviously had to include a shot with
it in a very San Franciscan setting!

Where do you find your vintage clothes – especially the leather jackets…
I must admit that I am envious, you hardly find authentic US Army flying jackets here! Did you know that we both share the same size? Funny detail. I want one of your leather jackets!
Here, I cheat a little bit: I usually have to look online. They’re not only quite hard to find in person in decent shape, but sizing is also quite difficult. 


Vielen Dank, Benton!

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