Kevin Stewart is currently the style and fashion director for Men's Fitness and ESPN The Magazine. He's worked in a variety of design and fashion-related roles in publishing, at Details, Vibe, Gear, Savoy, and Essence magazines; he also worked as the manager of Creative Services at Joseph Abboud. He recently co-founded Roger Charles New York, a high-end mens shirtmaker, and is the proud daddy of twin daughters who will no doubt grow up to be spectacularly stylish.
Kevin is also known in some circles as "Professor Badass" due to a particular photograph taken a few years ago.
Three Questions: Women have a much wider selection of available clothing/styles - especially compared to mens' workplace clothing, which is often a very restrictive uniform in contrast. Why are we, as western men, so trapped by convention? I find that when I wear something unique, other men admire it quite often, but usually confess that they are not "brave" enough to try and wear something like that. If something is beautiful and makes you feel beautiful, why would it require "bravery" to wear it? And how do you think the corporate / professional workplace could benefit from men being more creative or individual in their dressing?
Kevin Stewart: To your point of western men being trapped. I think younger men have the best chance of what you call bravery. Guys now seek out style information. They are not afraid of looking good. We're also as men not ashamed to talk to each other about style.
Yes, as men we have fewer choices, but we have choices within the confines of masculine dressing. Some of us have to wear a suit as our uniform. The only place for expression when wearing a suit is in the cut. Single- or double-breasted. Two button or one button. The shirt and tie combination. The shoes worn. The watch. Pocket square. Attention to these details sets a man apart from other men. Standing out or being and individual can be subtle, yet effective.
Men do care and put and effort in to their appearance. Men are not afraid of the word style. It's apart of our lives. We as men do care. I only ask that men use good taste and common sense. Take note of others, learn from guys you respect. Men fully know that our appearance will get us in a door, open opportunities and attract others to us. Guys want to be attractive.
The workplace has limitation on self expression. Depending on the profession. If a guy works in a creative field he has a lot more room than a lawyer or CFO. A guy has to be appropriately dressed for the situation. I also believe there has to be a comfort level to dressing.
3Q: What makes the currently available Roger Charles shirts different, and can you tell us about future plans for new designs?
KS: The Future of Roger Charles Shirts New York Is on hold due to the economic climate. We still believe in producing fine shirts in The United States. I'm a big fan of things made in America.
3Q: Are there any new fabrics or textures you've worked with recently that you have found especially appealing or interesting? Are there any you'd like to but have not yet had the opportunity to wear or work with?
KS: Can't really say. I have not put on my shirt-making hat in a while. When I do it will really depend on the mood that I'm in at the time. Or what I'd like to be wearing. Sometimes it could be the music I'm listening to,or a concept I'd like to explore. We will see.
3Q: I usually only ask three questions, but I have one more for you: how do you feel about the "Professor Badass" meme, and the adulation that your own personal style has received as a result?
KS: Its funny that you've seen that photo. That was one moment many of my exploration of style. The beard I wore at the time had taken on a life of its own, and grew in salt and pepper. It made me look years older than I am. It just made sense to look that way at the time. I also had a thing for the civil war. It's a long story. Dressing for me is fun - it is a part of me. If other people get what I'm doing, great. That's always been my approach to dressing. "Professor Badass" will always be a part of me. It was very cool that I was given that name for that photo.
In the field of publishing I've had the liberty to try out different styles. Deep down I'm an updated-traditionalist. I believe in the tradition of looking good as a confident man.