Its Nearly Friday but before we officially drop into the world of the weekend we have time for 1 more little dose of the 10@10.
Tonight we speak to Michael AKA @michaelysoo
Michael does FADEZ!!! Yup his feed is so balls deep in indigo Patina that he must surly shit Blue!
Love a good fade heavy feature. My bro over at @robindenim offers me a daily dose of denim masacism but its always a treat to focus a 10@10 feature on the subject aswell……….
Well lets get to the good stuff.
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Michael Soo aka @michaelysoo
LOCATION: Philadelphia PA
OCCUPATION: I have a PhD in Biochemistry but am now a Consultant focusing in healthcare and life sciences
1. So Why Instagram?
I think Instagram is a great community for finding people with similar interests but also learning new things. Instagram also does a great job of suggesting new content to like and and recommending other users to follow.
Instagram provides a great outlet for discovering new trends and hashtags. Also, if you are sitting on a train or bus, and easy way to pass some time by looking a posts and stories, exploring hashtags, and messaging friends
2. Why Denim, Boots, Workwear, Ruggedness?
I grew up in the rural farm country and without a lot of money, so I always appreciated the aesthetic of workwear and the idea saving up to buy things that last. Even though jeans, shirts, and boot I buy now might cost hundreds of dollars, I usually only buy a pair or two of jeans or boots each year. For jeans, I wear a pair for about a year, so I get a lot of value out of them. The same goes for boots. Many pairs I own are over 5 years old and still in shape.
I also like the idea of wabi sabi, which states things are imperfect and that this is not a fault but should be celebrated. So as jeans start fading and boots pick up scuffs, the wear is actually a feature of the item and should be admired. In our contemporary culture, many people to value perfection and newness, but I like the experience of wearing the same jeans for a year and relishing the way it changes and in my opinion becomes better.
Workwear is appealing to me because the clothes were specifically designed with the purpose to last a long time and take abuse. The attention to detail and craftsmanship are qualities I really appreciate.
3. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of “Instafashion” and the community it is creating?
Instafashion is great. You can get immediate feedback from people about outfits you share. It’s much easier to find inspiration from others, and there’s many more perspectives and points of view out there. I remember when I was younger and learning about clothes, waiting for GQ or Esquire to arrive in the mail and poring over the issue to learn about new trends, brands and perspectives about styles. Back then, these were the main sources of content for young men like me living in rural parts of the country. Now, instafashion is very democratized and accessible. I wish I had these resources when I was younger.
Even as the internet became more popular and I became more active on forums like Superfuture and Styleforum, the points of view were pretty limited. Now with Instagram, you can find other real people from around the world, wearing anything from raw denim and workwear, tailored suits, streetwear, haute couture, etc. You can choose users to follow, get notifications when they share content, and learn or create certain hashtags to track specific content.
4. Top 3 brands to shop and why?
3Sixteen – I love their aesthetics, how they blend classic design with modern sensibilities. Everything they are making seems to have high quality fabrics with modern fits. They stay ahead of the trends and really push high quality for reasonable prices. Their shadow selvedge (indigo warp, black weft) produces extraordinary fades and all their clothes fit really well. I probably own about 10 3sixteen pieces and they are all some of my favourites.
Pure Blue Japan – they have amazing quality denim, full of imperfections that were designed to wear and fade well. I feel like they are always innovating with different fabrics, dyes, construction on their pieces. No corner is cut in order to reduce price or expedite production.
Red Wings – I have 5 pairs of Red Wings Heritage Boots with more ordered. They are my favourite boot-makers. Sure I see some newer brands making beautiful boots for $500-$1000, but in my opinion, you can’t beat Red Wing on quality for the price. I’ve been wearing them for 10 years now and I couldn’t imagine not wearing them now. I love the styling and durability of the boots and how some models sold now are essentially the same as those the company made 100 years ago.
5. Where’s your favourite place to shop these brands?
Franklin & Poe (@franklinandpoe) – Franklin and Poe is a newer store in Philly that focuses on high quality clothing, shoes and accessories. Most of what they make is American-made, which is nice by a veteran-owned company. The store is also walking to my house, so I drop in a couple times a month to talk about clothes and check out the newest pieces from 3Sixteen, Left Field, Freenote, Railcar, Iron Heart, Knickerbocker, Red Wing, etc. Andrew, who is there almost everyday, is a good friend who really cares about not just the merchandise in his story, but the people that shop there and the community that the store serves.
Blue in Green (@blueingreensoho) – Blue in Green was the first denim-specialist store I ever visited. They hosted early denim fading contests on Superfuture that introduced me the world of raw denim. BiG introduced Samurai, Skulls, Pure Blue Japan, and many other brands to the US. Their measurement charts, hemming and repair service, and service are now standard with other denim stores. Gordon is an OG and always been so helpful to me. I always make an effort to stop in when I’m in NYC.
Denimio (@denimio_shop) – Another pioneer! They were one of the first stores that offered shipping from Japan. In the old days, if Blue in Green or Self Edge didn’t carry a brand or have your size, you would have to Rakuten or yahoo.jp to find the pair you wanted. This involved complicated payment methods, extensive translations, and a lot hoping to make sure got the right item. Denimio opened up Japanese denim to the rest of the world and had an extensive inventory and portfolio of excellent brands.
6. When did you decide to voice and share your love for your threads on social media?
I used to post pictures on Superfuture, but after a site update 5 years ago made the page hard to use, I stopped posting. I would occasionally post in the Reddit /r/rawdenim subreddit, but at the time, there wasn’t much activity there even when they hosted the 3sixteen fading contest. However, a year and a half ago, I posted a couple pictures of faded jeans on my instagram that got a huge (for me) reaction, so since then, I have been more regularly posting pictures of my jeans, boots, and different outfits. The reaction has been pretty positive and it’s allowed me to get to know a lot of people so I keep posting.
7. What’s the secret behind your great images; Who takes them? When are they taken? How do you capture the magic your followers enjoy so much?
Almost all of my images are taken with my iPhone. I will sometimes uses my Apple watch as a remote to take pictures of myself wearing the jeans. Occasionally I’ll used my DSLR to take detail shots or have a friend take a pic of me, but the iPhone picture quality is already very high and it’s very convenient. I like taking pictures in natural light in natural settings either in my home or in my neighborhood.. I think my followers like the casualness of my photos and I’m not trying to be a professional instagrammer.
8. What feeds do you like to follow and check in on? Who should we check out?
I have a lot of other interests outside of clothes like bourbon, beer, homebrewing, cooking, photography, so my feed is pretty diverse.
With raw denim, other than the posters with 30k followers, and really like the feeds of @sirjoms, @doppki, @drmmathias, @fort_box_, and @wau_sintaro I like the photography feeds of @henry.vance, @corwinprescott, @shitjimmyshoots, @philchester, and @devanshu_kaushik.
9. What tips would you give new starters on Instagram to help them get there feed off the ground and successful?
I don’t have nearly the following that many of the other people featured on your 10@10 series do, so I’m not sure I can offer a lot of help. In general, I would say that a new starter learn to use the right hashtags to help attract new people to their content. They should post regularly to ensure followers are rewarded with regular content. Lastly, they should follow other users to get an idea of the kind of content that others are interested in and join in the community.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island, you can take 1 outfit (4 items) and 1 drink ONLY with you.
What would they be? Who made them? Why are you taking them?
If I were to take 4 outfit items, it would have to be boots, jeans, workshirt and jacket.
For boots, I’d pick Red Wing Moc Toes with a full lug commando sole like the 4183. The soles are very versatile, comfortable, water-resistant and will work well in mud, sand, and rocky terrain.
For jeans, I’d pick the pair I am wearing right now, Pure Blue Japan XX-007. Whenever people ask me what my favourite pair of jeans are, I always say the pair I have on, which are these PBJs. The 15 oz weight is pretty close to perfect. thick enough to feel durable, but not insufferably hot in the summer. They have faded nicely, and the fit is slim, but still very comfortable in the thigh and waist.
For a workshirt, because you’re going to need a sturdy shirt with pockets. I really like the details on this work shirt Masterson made for our whiskey club. But I’ve always liked the Wabash workshirts from Studio D’artisan, PBJ, and Sugarcane so if I had to pick, I might splurge on that.
For a jacket, it has to be the 3sixteen Shadow Selvedge Type 3. The fabric is amazing and looks better as it fades. The fit is perfect on me. The hardware is very sturdy and construction is top notch. I wear mine as much as I can.
For a drink, I think Cantillon St. Lamvinus is hard to beat. It is a great lambic beer that is refreshing and yet also complex. The merlot wine grape adds fruitiness and body to the beer and blends well with acidity and funk of the beer. This is a beer I crave all the time and it only gets better with age, so if I were stuck there without new beer shipments, I could enjoy the Cantillon for years.
Totally Cool Micheal. A true wild west indigo Indian, A blue blood of the finest pedigree. Pinning you to the 10@10 Calendar has been a very fun brother!
I look forward to checking in on your feed in the future bro!
Anyways i’m not gonna drum on as i have a shit tonne of Supply Co to get though and its a busy feature week as we still have a cracking Denim map to release this Saturday when Suzie AKA @denimbitch pins Oakland based Cali store @standardandstrange !!!
Have tip top weekend People!!
Stay close people, much love.