Editor’s note: To catch up on other Style Q+A entries, start here.
The great and exciting thing about living in a place like New York City — or really, finding a community filled with like-minded people anywhere — is how many different people you get the chance to cross paths with, through either personal or professional interaction, or both. I’ve been really lucky to learn a lot from so many great people since getting interested in the menswear world (most of whom have been profiled in Style Q+A pieces!), and that list grows by the day. Through attending events as part of the GQ Insider community, and through some work we’ve done together as part of my day job with Timberland Boots, I’ve had the chance to become close friends with Jamal Jackson, also known as StyleSocietyGuy. As we’re in the midst of New York Fashion Week: Men’s here, you might recognize him from his extremely well-curated Instagram or his Web site , where he offers up a bevy of menswear styling suggestions, new brands to watch and lifestyle content focused on things like home design and music. And of course, there’s the small business of Jamal topping Mr. Wooster (and other well-dressed dudes) on Esquire.com’s rundown of the best-dressed guys at New York Fashion Week: Men’s this past summer. Moreso than that, Jamal is a great guy, a heck of a friend and one of the best in the business at partnering with established and up-and-coming brands and telling cool stories.
And as with every day in the digital style universe, it’s great to be able to look at what someone else is wearing, or how they’ve styled a certain item, and draw inspiration from that — even if their personal style is a bit different than yours. So with that in mind, I caught up with Jamal to find out about running his site and how he charts — literally — his very busy days. Enjoy!
The Style Guide: How did your personal interest in style and fashion get started?
Style Society Guy: My dad has always been into grooming and style. Mostly, he had grooming and excellent hygiene, so my interest in menswear grew from there. I’d say I really started getting into it in middle school .
Your Web site and Instagram presence is impressive and seems to grow by the day – what’s that development been like? (Editor’s note: Find Jamal on Instagram here).
SSG: I noticed that I have spurts in my stats …but I’m noticing that it’s mostly organic — just how I wanted it to be. The downside of it is that I don’t know exactly who referred a visitor to my site until someone tells “Oh, (my friend) told me to check out your site.” I wish I could measure those stats more but it makes me want to strategize how I produce my content everyday.
TSG: On that note, what’s a typical day like for you?
SSG: This might sound kind of crazy, but I work from one Excel sheet. I have several columns in that one sheet — every day of the week and what I should be doing hour by hour. It sounds kind of stressful but it really disciplines me. Although I don’t follow every single task at every hour, it’s a good guideline to … keep me on track.
Right now, I’m working at a work space called Projective in Freemans Restaurant in New York’s Lower East Side. I don’t have a specific office spot except for home at the time, but I’m good at documenting as I travel.
The day consists of meetings, video calls, press previews (whether it’s a market week or not), webinars, nightly events, and usually dinner with potential clients or digital friends.
TSG: On that note, what’s something that people might not know about running a Web site and digital presence like yours?
I think this is a common answer, but I’m going to say the amount of work it takes to produce one post. From the outside, it seems like what it takes to create a blog post is to take the photos and write about what you’re wearing. However, it is far more than that. You need to plan to not wear other competitors in one post … speak on details of the clothing, amplify the brand’s voice and speak to the focal point of the product and the brand. Another aspect is how long it takes to shoot photos, gather your photographer and edit 350-450 photos 3 times a week.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen over the past few years as far as the menswear community goes?
I’m seeing a lot of guys being comfortable with showing their personal style and grooming regimens. Its actually ‘a thing’ now. I love that menswear influencers can bring readers to share what they’re are wearing and interaction going, brands are also happy with this as readers give very honest feedback on products ..bascically for free. This is a good time for brands to actually listen up and pay attention to what audiences have to say.
TSG: What’s one item (or perhaps one outfit) every guy should have in his wardrobe?
SSG: A denim or chambray shirt, I swear it works with EVERYTHING.
TSG: What’s one style resolution that you have for 2016 looking toward the rest of the year?
SSG: As of now I don’t have one set in stone. But. I plan to actually start wearing more of what’s buried in my closet, the items that still have tags on them. I tend to wear my favorites because…they’re my favorites.