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Weekly updates

Lawrence Schlossman is having the best week ever. Dude just spent his weekend-slash-first-time-in-Australia speaking to 500 20-somethings at CARBON festival about his very own come-up, while promoting his personal brand, shopping at high-end boutiques and getting into a live #menswear vs. #streetwear debate onstage with Eddie Huang. Now he’s back in NYC serving as editor-in-chief of Four Pins, a Complex-affiliated website that solely focuses on his favourite subject in the world: men’s fashion.

So how did life get so dope for young Schlossman? Like many a millennial who’s at least moderately famous for anything these days, the internet led him to it. By developing a fresh, street-friendly voice during the menswear blogging influx of the early 2010s, Schlossman tumblr’d his own lane through the co-authorship of Fuck Yeah Menswear (now a book) and creation of How To Talk To Girls At Parties. If Drake says he started from the bottom and now he’s “here”, Lawrence can almost tell you where “here” might be, but he’s leaving all the professional cool guy shit in the land of “there”.

What do you think of the fashion scene in Melbourne?

Dealing with men’s fashion every day – like every waking, breathing moment – I’ve been seeing a lot of cool stuff coming out of Australia: savvier streetwear at a good price point. Vince [Tang, ACCLAIM operations manager] has been taking us around to all the boutiques and stuff, and I’ve just been impressed with even the streetwear. Streetwear is getting way more interesting because high fashion has seeped into it because of rappers who got into designers. It’s not just The Hundreds and 10.Deep anymore. Now a lot of influences that wouldn’t be on the radar for a dude making a streetwear brand are on his radar. And ultimately, like with anything, if you expand your horizons, widen your lens and start incorporating more stuff, you’re going to come out with a better product, as opposed to being narrow-minded and pigeonholing your own shit.

Did you already know menswear writing was what you were meant to do when you started blogging?

No, I never thought I’d do it professionally because I was just a dude who liked looking good and spending money on nice things. It was only until I started devoting a lot of time to it as a hobbyist that I realised if I didn’t make it my livelihood, I was gonna regret it. I had a nine-to-five that I hated so much I’d dick around blogging the whole time because that’s what was important to me. I never thought I could potentially do it for a living and make money off of it. And no one who’s had any level of success – even someone who’s just moderately successful like myself – ever started out saying, “Yo, I’m gonna be successful.” You never say it. You just find out what you love and foster that passion.

What’s been the key to your success?

There are people who came before me who I was reading who influenced me. But in the grand scheme of things, I’m one of those early adopter types. But it’s not only about being an early adopter. It is about knowing your voice. But I didn’t know that from the beginning. It takes time to figure that stuff out. Everything I’ve ever done that’s been successful has always been from finding my voice and how I want to talk about clothing to other people. For me, it’s that conversational – talking to guys like myself about clothes how we really talk in real life: conversationally with slang in regards to the other things we like, like hip-hop.

What do you think made menswear fashion blogs blow up over the past three years?

Truth be told, you can kind of trace it back to the Americana trend. But there have always been dudes, in America at least, who cared about clothes. I’ve had a subscription to GQ since I was like 15. But my interest in fashion was always, “Yo, I wanna look good. I want girls to be like ‘That dude is put together. I wanna sleep with him.’” Most dudes, for whatever reason, are doing it to look good, to be self-confident, and to meet girls. That’s always existed. But what we have now is a way more savvy consumer – a consumer of editorial content and a consumer of actual product. The reason that dude got savvy is because some point in ‘09, ‘10, maybe as early as ’08, this idea of Americana and heritage blew up. Then suddenly instead of your average guy feeling gay about taking his passion for clothes to the next level by talking about it with other people, suddenly it was okay because this idea of Americana and other kinds of manly clothes with macho style icons, like Steve McQueen and Ernest Hemmingway, served as a vessel to talk about clothes the way guys have always talked about electronics and cars.

Thankfully that happened because now [guys keeping their love for fashion in the closet] seems outdated and sort of childish. It’s easier to talk about a waxed Barbour jacket than a Rick Owens kilted sweat pant, but now guys can feel more comfortable talking about fashion. I wasn’t always the most open-minded dude when it comes to talking about clothes, and this is coming from a dude who always loved clothes.

When did you hone your personal style?

It’s very serendipitous. The time I was graduating [college] is when all this Americana trend shit was blowing up like Barbour jackets, Bean boots, madras, pastels… all this preppy shit was happening. But I went to a very stylish school, and that’s how all those kids dress.  Upper-middle class white kids who go to private school in North Carolina are legit wearing their father’s Barbour jacket, and they wear Bean boots because those motherfuckers go hunting on weekends at home. I saw that and it was appealing to me aesthetically, and that’s how you had to dress to bang girls there. So, I started blogging because I was living this shit. Not that I had the whole time because I was from Jersey, and there’s no style in Jersey.

You switched from writing long form on Sartorially Inclined to posting mostly photos on How To Talk To Girls … did it hurt to slow down on your writing when you switched to Tumblr?

I can’t front. Tumblr helped me get my name out there. Of all the things I benefited from being an early adopter of, it was Tumblr more than anything else. I was late as shit to Twitter, and I’m not the first person to start menswear blogging. But with Tumblr, I was early on that. I just had an idea that this thing was going to be a blogging platform that was going to be very successful and was going to resonate with a lot of people who wanted to consume things quickly. To this day, probably more people know me from that than anything. If they know me from something else, it’s probably #fuckyeahmenswear, which is also on Tumblr.

Without the idea of new media – blogging, Tumblr, Twitter – I might not have ever discovered that men’s fashion is what I’m meant to do. But there was a time when [men’s fashion] was about writing, not re-blogging a picture. And I think Tumblr is breeding a generation of people who are only trafficking in the idea of cool. In fashion, the idea of cool and aesthetics rule the day. But what we’re losing is that critical perspective who can articulate to somebody why something is important. And if you can’t do that intelligently, you’re fucking worthless.

Is it still a good time for guys to start menswear blogging?

It is harder to get noticed now because there’s so much out there. But if you’re just starting out, find your stride and look to the right guys as mentors or to use as a framework for what you want to do – rather than blatantly copying someone and ripping off how they write. But you can still be successful, because, if you’re good at what you do, you’re good at what you do. It might take you some time to refine your taste level and gain a substantial knowledge base of product and lifestyle stuff that you want to talk about, but you could absolutely still be successful. It’s hard to say if it’s harder or if it’s easier because there’s more examples today of guys doing it well than there were three years ago. But there’s more white noise and things you need to cut through.

What pisses you off in fashion?

I see a lot of dudes who perpetuate what I call the myth of the influencer. In New York, specifically, where I’m at every day, I see a lot of these dudes who aspire to be what I call a professional cool guy. But nobody who ever ended up as a professional cool guy ever started out saying “I’m gonna be fucking cool.” What it really comes down to is refining your skills and figuring out what you bring to the table. Then, learning over time how you can then convey that honestly to someone else so that they trust you and they fuck with you, to the point where down the line you’ll get to do the kind of stuff that you see certain people brag about on Twitter and blog about. If you start out from the get-go with that as your aim, you’re never gonna fucking get there. It’s never gonna happen.

How do you talk to girls at parties?

I don’t because I have a girlfriend, and she won’t let me – but you have to do it with wit and respect. If you’re witty and you’re respectful to anyone, they’re gonna like you, hopefully, male or female.

What’s one thing every player must own?

A really fucking great pair of sneakers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high fashion dude, a streetwear cat, a menswear guy or a regular ass joe. A lot of outfits start from the ground up.

If this was a year ago, I’d say a great pair of shoes, but that was when I was a little closed-minded, and I’m not dressing the same as I was even two months ago. My whole thing now is about keeping an open mind. If you love men’s clothing and you wanna do it for a living, you need to be open. You need to learn to at least appreciate the good in everything. You may not spend your hard-earned money on it, but you need to keep an open mind and appreciate stuff. I’m doing more of that today than I ever have before.