We spoke with Alexander Roth, a creative consultant based in NYC, about his views on the fashion industry, masculinity, and personal style.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we decided to conduct this conversation via iMessage.
Frank: How are you Alex?
Alex R: Good! Better than I have been, staying productive and posting as always. How about you guys?
F: I’m great, been in self quarantine cause of #therona lmao. Not that it’s a laughing matter but better safe than sorry right now. It’s getting wild out here.
Aren J: Lots of new music to self quarantine! Not too bad today.
AR: Seriously. On my way to my parents house right now just to get out of the city for some quick relief
F: Glad to hear you’re escaping the city. Feels like nobody wants to be outside anyway. Okay, so lets get straight into it.
AR: Talk to me.
F: What got you into fashion/style? Did you always have an interest in it?
AR: I think I always had an interest in fashion and the arts as a whole I just didn’t realize it until I was a bit older and able to comprehend it all. I’d say I started to take things seriously when I was a senior in college and able to start formulating my own style (or my idea of what my own style was at the time).
AJ: What was your personal style like at the time and how has that changed between then and now?
AR: If there’s one person who knows/understands my style from that time it’s you Aren haha.
AJ: Please explain to the people, I’m just a commentator here.
AR: Well there is a difference in liking fashion/style and then being able to understand it and make it your own to fit you. At the time, I was just having fun but I had tunnel vision when it came to the designers and interests I had within the industry. I was shaped by hype culture and Yeezy was my holy grail for sure (this was 2016-2017).
AR: I’ll give you visual.
AJ: I remember this vividly being a very big wave on Instagram during that time. The Yeezy and Pacsun clothing mixed with H&M and Chelsea boots. Do you feel that Instagram has played a big part in not only your style but fashion in general?
FH: Ahh that was during the beginnings of Fear of God and that first season of Yeezy. One of my favorite era’s, personally.
AR: Yeezy, and it’s adjacent brands were all I knew at the time. Honestly, that’s what shaped everything for me. Social media 100% played a role in my personal style. At the time I was not looking at old magazines or looking through style websites, it was all on Instagram. What I saw on my feed was what I wanted to emulate and I did the best that I could.
That era was truly iconic for me hahaha. As a whole, social media changed everything for the fashion industry. The rise of influencer culture, copy cats, Instagram brands, repost pages, etc. It birthed some of the names we’ll be talking about 50 years from now.
FH: I love that. Many people won’t admit how much of an effect it’s had on them but it’s almost inevitable. We’re consuming so many images a day, they’re bound to stay in our subconscious.
AJ: Speaking on influencer and content creator culture, how do you feel about it and how they play a role in the fashion industry currently? I know you personally stay on the brighter side of it but how have you cultivated it to get to this point?
AR: I think the word “influencer” has gradually lost its meaning over time pertaining to the social media world. I understand that I play a very specific part in that world but I think the mindset of what an “influencer is, is always changing as it should. For me, it started as a way to share daily outfits and thoughts to the world in a way that would be easily digestible. Now so, still the same but I think I’ve been able to hone in on what message I have and want to continue to share, even if I might not outright say it.
I encourage using social media as a medium to get to where you want to be in whatever industry you’re in. It’s so common now for fashion power houses to sift through social media and find their next creative outlet. As long as there is meaning behind what you do and you can be authentic in what you’re sharing to your audience, then i’m alright with it.
F: I feel you on that Alex. I think the line is kinda blurred as far as influencers go, especially with all these sub-influencer labels; You know, the “Micro Influencer” crowd. I find myself confused as to who is doing what anymore. Like what’s the actual job of an “influencer” if social media as a while is influencing everything we’re doing. Are these people the gatekeepers of what’s “cool” ?
AJ: I feel like it’s the new version of the term hipster. Which are both terms people use to say “I like what you’re doing but it’s different and makes me uncomfortable.” Labels are only in place for two reasons. Either to box you in or to make it easier to sell to someone.
AR: I think the word influencer means something different for everybody, but overall it’s definitely used as a sales term with these brands and companies. There’s levels of understanding exactly what goes on in the influencer world – you have the base where, for instance, say I just made an instagram and I look at who to follow because I like their style or want what they have. Further, being able to market yourself towards a specific audience or being able to fit into different molds.
F: Alex, what are some of the messages you try to push in your feed + is there anything about the current state of the industry that’d you want to change?
AR: Without outright saying it online, I try to push this notion of dressing for yourself and how it makes you feel. So often we see and hear about people being told they can’t wear this, or something looks off on them. Fuck it. If you like it, wear it. Do for yourself what makes you feel good. This ties into more concerns I have for my following: mental health, body dysmorphia and the feeling of being alone in a world where most people feel the same.
Today, especially, it’s so important to take into account how people think of themselves and to be conscious of what we say. If I can aid one person in realizing they have the power to make themselves happy through clothing or whatever it may be, then I’ve done my job.
AJ: That’s super important and I personally feel like the amount of people being comfortable in their own skin is getting better. There are models of all shapes and all different orientations. They’re also shaping new trends in fashion. How do you feel about wearing women’s or unisex clothing?
AR: Personally I’m all for it. Do what makes you feel good. I’ve definitely worn women’s pieces that fit into my everyday style.
AJ: Do you have examples of how you wear them and make them more you?
AR: This coach sweater is women’s.
AR: This white undershirt is women’s.
AR: These Helmut Lang shirts are both women’s pieces too.
AJ: You definitely tied everything together. Do you see this being the future of fashion or what is it that you think the future might look like?
AR: There’s lots of brands and companies already on the “Genderless” wave or whatever they’re calling their version of it. I just think it’s way more inclusive and takes into consideration what the younger generation wants.
AJ: Who are some of the brands who you think are doing it the right way?
AR: There’s a difference between genderless and being able to challenge the typical ideology of male. Both working towards a more accepting viewpoint but some favorites are Dion Lee, Ludovis de Saint Sernin, GmbH and more recently Acne and Loewe’s recent collections showed the power of masculinity through traditionally feminine silhouettes.
FH: Good point, all the brands you mentioned are definitely leaning in that direction. I still think a lot of men are afraid of doing things that are not seen as hyper-masculine though. It’s so upsetting for me personally seeing men not even wear certain colors because they’re too “feminine.”
Personally though, I’m never afraid of a good crop or a bright ass color. I love to play with proportion and anything that makes my skin stand out.
AR: As you should!
AJ: So one last question; What do you see for yourself personally in the future.
AR: Growth, happiness, work that challenges me creatively and you idiots.
AJ: -___- I meant what do you see yourself doing in the future.
AR: Hahaha. Creative production and on-going contribution/freelancing to magazines and designers I admire.
AJ: That sounds very promising.
AJ: Well thank you for your time Alex, hopefully we can do something in person next time 😂
AR: Stay safe guys.