Most people really underestimate the difficulty that comes with being a fashion designer, especially today. Today anyone can have a clothing line- actors, rappers, former reality show cast members; it's the true talented designers who often can't catch a break in the industry. Then there's the designers who do end up making it. Once they finally build their brand they recurrently get lost in it. It becomes all about the clothes, the product, and the person becomes one with the label. I was able to spend some time getting to know one of these designers. Jordan White, the founder behind cool menswear label, Man vs. Machine, appears just like his brand does- tall, handsome, sharply dressed and well spoken. I found, however, that he is so much more than just that.
White and I began our day meeting for lunch at Mary's Fish Camp in the West Village. The restaurant, a small, nonchalant sea food spot, is known for it's delicious lobster rolls and easy going environment. Once we were seated we started off with some rosé, fresh oysters and casual conversation. I was told all about his introduction into the fashion industry. White moved to New York after High School in upstate New York to attend the prestigious menswear design program at the Fashion Institue of Technology. While there and after graduating White was able to work for numerous great brands including Ralph Lauren, Triple Five Soul, Victoria's Secret and more. In 2008 he founded Man vs. Machine a menswear collection that conveys a sense of individuality that interconnects with a modern age. Today he's received numerous accolades for his work and the brand is just getting ready for take off.
After our delicious meal of fresh clams, oysters and lobster White and I further explored the endless delights the West Village has to offer. We stopped into a couple of stores, including, Sandro where White selected a few great womenswear pieces- light silk blouses, edgy leather trousers, cool jackets and more, for my consideration. With his taste he could easily become a stylist. I was impressed. Later on we also stopped by Little Marc Jacobs where we talked about the amount of creativity in children's clothing and accessories that sometimes fade away when designing clothing for adults. The plush toys and store merchandising were also noted. It seemed to me that White could find inspiration in things most people don't even think twice about. That was taken further when we entered an Afghani artifact store. Filled with trinkets and exotic gifts from the Middle East White picked up pieces from around the store and examined them thoroughly. Watching him observe these items became more interesting to me than the actual merchandise. What was he thinking? How is he going to create fashion and art from everything we saw today?
I guess only time will tell. I still keep up with White and his many projects and always look forward to new things he produces. That day we ended at Sockerbit, a clean swedish candy store...because really, even fit fashion designers can't resist the sweets. The day was just as sweet as the candy we left with. I look forward to seeing what comes next for White and Man vs. Machine.