While print publications such as Fantastic Man, 10 Men and GQ Style have consistently put forth quality content in the realm of menswear, online equivalents seemed non-existent until, that was, Buck Magazine took its gloriously Dandy-self to pages of the teh interweb
to offer sartorial advice, purvey imaginative photo-editorial and clarify just what all the fuss is about for PJs this Spring Summer. I had a natter with Buckstyle
editor-in-chief and genuine dandy article, Steve Doyle.
Editor-in-Chief Steve Doyle
1. You are a self-professed creative director, stylist and journalist. What’s your professional background? Did you study prior to taking these jobs?
I did study, yes, but not in these fields. My degree was in Japanese Studies, which I studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. I took classes in everything to do with Japan – such as history, economics, and cinema – and I speak the language (though since Buck started, my Japanese seems to get worse every day!). After uni, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself and ended-up taking a job in the city with an advisory firm called KPMG. This lasted about a year before I thought enough is enough, life’s too short to be bored doing a job I don’t care about, and decided to take the plunge into fashion and magazines. I had always kept up with fashion, and had often considered journalism as a career. I launched my school’s newspaper when I was 14 and from 16 worked every Friday at the BBC’s offices in Birmingham (where I grew-up) working on programmes such as Clothes Show Live and Style Challenge (one of the first makeover shows – I was completely obsessed with it at the time!)
Styling and Journalism are jobs that you can study but generally people get better at them with practice, rather than through college. Most stylists and journalists I know didn’t study those things in particular. In a similar way, creative direction is about having ideas and turning them into something visual. Anyone can do it but it requires a great amount of self-confidence – to instruct a team of your own vision and be able to listen to other people’s criticisms. I learn and, hopefully, improve with each shoot, and this is certainly my favourite work of all the things I find myself doing.
2. How would you describe your favoured styling aesthetic? You’ve mentioned New Dandyism, how do you define this look?
I guess my style is quite formal when compared to some stylists. I like restriction – buttoned-down collars on buttoned-up shirts. I like fitted pieces, sometimes tight, and traditional tailoring with sharp shoulders and pinched waists. But with this, the dandy element adds the frivolous, such as the bow-tie, and clashing colours. I love contrasts, such as clashing plaids or a pair of Doc Martens paired with a Barbour jacket. You could call it the Broadway Market aesthetic in some ways; more grown-up, never teen, quite sober and proper. I find it fascinating that sober, proper men’s clothing – such as bow-ties, cummerbund
s, black-rimmed specs, side-parting hairstyles etc – can today, on young men, look alternative and revolutionary. I am amazed that even now my moustache is greeted with stunned faces whenever I leave the confines of E2. It really throws some people because it challenges pre-conceptions and I guess that sums up the fashion styling I try to create – challenging pre-conceptions by subverting what a young man should be.
3. You launched, and are now editor and publisher of BUCK magazine. Can you tell us a little about the magazine and it came to be?
In the summer of 2007, I decided I could no longer take my previous job in the city and did a lot of soul-searching about what I wanted in life. My mum and sister were killed in an accident in 2006 and, as you can imagine, it took a fair while to just be able to get on with the normal day-to-day things. Eventually though, I came to a point where I felt strong enough to say to myself, life’s too short for this boredom, I’m going to seize this chance while I’ve still got it and go after my dream. And so I decided I would launch a men’s fashion magazine based upon my favourite men’s mag Men’s non-no in Japan, and then quit my job.
After that, I worked my way around lots of different magazines gaining experience of the industry, including Wonderland, Dazed & Confused and Vogue. And after Vogue I felt I was ready to start, or as I prefer to say, ready to start making mistakes! You need absolute confidence to start a business but also the knowledge that there will be mistakes and the whole thing could end-up a disaster. So, from May 2008, I began getting my team together, finding offices and a distributor, and we launched the first copy of Buck on October 30th. We printed three issues as a monthly and have now closed the print edition, focusing attention solely on the website Buckstyle.com. I always wanted Buck to be for young men who are interested in style but want it presented in an accessible way. From the start, I developed a philosophy for our clothing pics called D.V.H – Designer, Vintage, High Street – and we included all three of these in every shoot, and still do on Buckstyle. Essentially, the magazine was for young Bucks who know their own style and do their own thing but want to see what’s new around and how other guys are styling themselves. The reaction from people like yourself has been overwhelming and I feel so happy that so many guys ‘got it’. When I receive an email, like I did the other day from a guy living in Yorkshire, who told me he’d read Buck and completely connected to it, it justifies all the effort.
4. Also, what with the closure of numerous magazines in recent times the environment must be growing tougher. How do these current economic troubles affect BUCK? Or do they?
Well, as I said, we’ve had to close the print edition. Times change and we have to adapt with them. Print is incredibly difficult now. In fact, the timing for the launch of Buck couldn’t have been worse really! But I don’t regret it for a minute. Now I’m focused on pushing forward online, trying out every new technology that comes-up; there’s still so much to try!
5. Have you a favourite menswear designer/brand? If yes, then why?
There are many that I love. For the Autumn/Winter season coming, my favourite show was by Les Hommes – they have a really strong aesthetic, strong but feminine at the same time. Amongst the new crowd, London has some wonderful menswear designers gaining more and more recognition – Carolyn Massey and Lou Dalton for instance. From the old guard, I adore Lagerfeld. Not for his menswear, but just for him. I think he’s such an inspiration if you work in fashion. As soon as the Chanel show ends, he’s over that collection; it’s all about tomorrow and the next new thing. That attitude is what moves things forward.
6. What’s your favourite film – something Godardian by any chance?
Haha! I like Godard but my absolute favourite film is quite obscure. In fact, it’s very difficult to get hold of now. It’s called Naniwa Elegy, by Kenji Mizoguchi. It was made in 1936 in Japan at the time the fascists were in power just before the second world war, and it’s an extraordinary tale of a young woman who decides she’s not going to be a downtrodden dutiful daughter to her drunk of a father, but instead is going to wear make-up, smoke and live her own life. It’s a very feminist movie and really surprising the first time you see it.
Photos (except top) from 3 Ways to Wear Pyjamas. Photographer: Guy Stephens, Stylist: Celia-Jane Ukwenya, Model: Ritchie Foster @ Select, Grooming: Sarah Barrow.
Check out Steve’s blog here.