Imperial's own, Annie Frame visits with Grandpa Style's, Ashley Owens:
AF: When did you first fall in love with Menswear?
AO: I've been called a tomboy for as long as I can remember. I was the three year old in overalls and a backwards hat, always running in the mud with no shoes. Menswear is what I naturally gravitate to. What people tend to call menswear is just pieces of clothing that have minimal elements. Layering of coats and jackets, a shirt with trousers. I'm drawn to the ease of menswear, to the lifestyle of effortless simplicity. Style should just communicate enough about you, without being too loud.
How did you begin working in fashion/styling?
I was 19 when I finally voiced to friends that I wanted to work in fashion. People were a bit shocked since I was always just known as that basketball girl. I remember one of the things I loved about sketching when I was growing up was that I could create someones look. I knew I loved fashion but I had no direct connection to it. I had the opportunity to go to Italy and meet Giorgio Armani and his team and that was a pivotal moment for me. I felt a sense of belonging, and immediately when I returned I started to work on my portfolio to apply to Parsons. I got in and studied Fashion Design for 4 years, focusing mostly on tailoring and suiting. After two years working as a designer after I graduated, I realized I wanted to be a part of creating the fantasy world that is the bases of the fashion. Designing clothing was great, but it has become too consumer driven. Styling and Creative Directing allows me to dream.
How much is collaboration when you're styling?
Styling requires so much collaboration. The first steps are to create a focus with the photographer. From there you decide what model will complete that look, and start to put together direction and a story which will dictate the clothing. Styling is just one of the elements that complete the image. The model and the photographer will effect the final product so much. In addition to that you need a hair stylist, and a make up artist. All those people need to be able to get on the same page and be open to each other's creative input. It's really a fun process, you never know how it will look until it's finished.
Is any particular person, or thing currently inspiring you?
I have an incredible group of friends and creative colleagues that I get to be constantly challenged and inspired by. As well, I'm very motivated by the unpredictability of the future. Change inspires me because there's no way to know what will happen tomorrow… which once you accept that you can't control anything, it's easier to be flexible. You have to keep moving to keep up, and that forces me to constantly be looking to what's next.
Can you elaborate on your thought process regarding how you put
When it comes to styling it's important that the clothing be a part of the story that you are creating. It's more about a mood and a look rather than about each individual piece. It always depends what you are trying to say with the styling. Sometimes I don't want to have much said, sometimes I want a lot from the wardrobe. That's something I have a long way to still discover how to refine the conversation. But I'm really so new to the styling game, so sometimes it's just whatever I can get I have to make work.
Is there a lot of shopping and searching involved?
Yes definitely. Sometimes there's that one garment that you know you've seen and feel like you could get it anywhere. However you go out to find it and it's no where. Most of styling is trying to find the right pieces that you see completing the image. They may or may not be out there, so you have to try and chase them down and if not then make something else work. Other times you find a few labels that have the perfect pieces and it just comes together easy.
Do you come across any challenges, or notice apparent differences when you're styling between different genders? Or is all pretty equal?
I have more access to higher quality menswear brands. So it's much easier for me to work in menswear styling. However I'm working on a few projects that require me to be doing more womenswear focused styling so that's going to be challenge but I'm ready. As far as gender focused styling goes, I use a lot of menswear on women, and vice versa. I think things translate between both genders but have to be done with some sensitivity. I like skirts on men and suits on women, but not as a rule of thumb just when it works. I like to ask the questions of "What is menswear? And what is womenswear?" However brands don't want you to confuse their customer so you have to be sensitive and know when you are able to do that and when it's inappropriate.
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what
would it look like?
Black custom suit, white button down, vintage leather jacket, black Florsheim tassel loafers, & black Borsalino hat.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you be?
New Zealand. Beach, forest, mountains. Looks mystical.
What music are you currently listening?
Lately a lot of Sibylle Baier and Radiohead. But Ozzy Osborne, Led Zeppelin and 90's hip hop are always on rotation.
Anything exciting you is working on?
Oh my, tons. I'm working with a few great publications to do some new editorial work. I'm trying to push GRANDPASTYLE to a next level, with a site redo, online shop and a lot of new content. As well my team and I are working on a some exciting new things that will be revealed in the next months… I'm working on developing a mens sneaker brand, and a much more. Got to keep moving…
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
Scotch Chocolate from Steves. Ballin'
Do you think there's a correlation between power and wearing men's wear?
To me the suit is the most iconic powerful garment ever designed. I think you can dress in a way which communicates power. I've always been interested in that. I think a woman can be extremely powerful in a dress and heels as well. It's about the woman. The woman really does make the clothes, but for me I feel strong in a suit. It makes me feel like I can handle anything, and that's what is powerful.