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Hello

Let's go inside some of the industry's greatest closets off the runway and off camera.  Everything on this site is handpainted by the author. Follow me on Instagram @theclosetinterview and @annthaden.

Gerald Gakwandi

Gerald Gakwandi

Today I’m meeting Gerald Gakwandi in Toronto.  Gerald is a menswear blogger @frontmanstyle. I discovered Gerald because of his amazing blog www.frontmanstyle.com .  His easy going approach and beautiful photographs featuring unique locations in Toronto make his blog stand out from all the rest!


Hello, It’s Ann.  It’s great to see you.  Can I interview your closet?  Sure!


What’s your favorite T-Shirt? Where and why did you buy it?  Tough question! Ok, I think I’ll go with my Eleven Paris t-shirt which is an ode to the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. It has a crown on the front, and his various sketches on the back. It also reminds me of Paris. 


Are you a sweater person or a sweatshirt person? Sweater person. 
 

What did you wear on your last date?  I wore a Vitaly long t-shirt layered with a grey Frank & Oak sweater. Along with that was a pair of black Club Monaco tapered wool pants, and brown Donald J Pliner Chelsea boots. 


How did the date go? What did you do?  It went well! My wife and I love trying new restaurants and we went to Rickshaw Bar (Toronto) for the first time. It serves a mix of Asian street-food that can be shared. The service and décor was awesome, and the food – even better. The date was also filled with laughter and deep conversations. 


What do you like to drink while getting ready for a night out?  Hmm, I don’t actually have a go-to “getting ready” drink. Depends on what I’m feeling that evening. 


What music do you listen to while getting ready for a night out?  Hip hop or R&B. I’d probably be more punctual if I didn’t listen to music that gets me dancing and singing in front of the mirror when I’m trying to get ready. Oh well. Life is short, listen to good music. 


Where was the last place you traveled to?  Our European trip to France, Monaco, Italy and Vatican City in the spring time. We found affordable flights that allowed us to land in Paris and depart from Rome. Everything about it was incredible. One of the most memorable places during that trip was The Almafi Coast due to its jaw-dropping natural beauty. Also Paris. Because Paris is Paris.  


What was the most important thing you packed?  Probably my all-white Adidas Stan Smith’s. Perfect for exploring in Europe, and they’re very versatile when it comes to looking good with a variety of outfits. 


What was the most non-essential thing you shouldn’t have packed but packed anyway?  Probably this Scotch and Soda t-shirt I bought here in Toronto that has some French words on it. I like the shirt, but the reason it was non-essential is because I hardly wore it, and for some reason I thought I’d up my street cred with the Parisians by wearing a shirt with French writing on it in France. That was not the case. I don’t think anybody cared. 


 

What rules if any did you have about getting dressed when you were young?   I believed that you should always appropriately dressed for whatever event you’re going to. My mom always looks fantastic and put-together, which is where I think I originally got my interest in fashion. As a typical teenager, it’s easy to wear track-pants and t-shirts everywhere, but my mom always encouraged us to dress a little nicer. She led by example which made it easy to follow in her footsteps and put a little extra effort. 


What is the first item of clothing you bought with your own money?   Tough to remember. One of the earliest memories I have is a pair of silky baby blue tear-aways (think 90’s hip hop music videos). My street-cred was at 110% once I got those. 


What is the biggest splurge or investment piece you purchased? Tough to say because I typically get my high value items (parka, watch, suit, shoes etc.) on sale. I’m a strong believer that nice quality clothing shouldn’t have to break the bank. If you know what you want and where to look you can get high quality clothes for a good deal. 


Do you feel the investment has been worthwhile?  So far I haven’t regretted any of my investment pieces listed above. I always try to find items that will go well with other pieces of clothing I already own. That way, you don’t fall in the trap of purchasing a really expensive item that you may later regret because it doesn’t look good with anything else. It’s something that has taken me time to learn, but I’ve been lucky enough to learn and explore wardrobe planning from Janeen at Fashion Assist.


What is your favorite fashion bargain? How much do you wear it?  First thing that comes to mind is my Frederique Constant swiss made watch. I got it an amazing deal on it and I wear it about 3-4 times a week. 
 

Who was your style icon as a youngster?  I grew up in the 90’s so every famous hip hop artist, or NBA player. I loved to wear baggy name-brand clothes like Enyce, FUBU, Nike,… As my style developed into my mid-teens, I started to wear more fitted clothes which I think I got from the likes of Usher and my hipster friends. 


Who is one of your style icons now?  This might come as a surprise to some people, but I’m really into what Harry Styles wears. Primarily because he doesn’t dress like everyone else, and he always looks effortless. 


What do you wear when you work out? I like to wear athletic wear that makes me look and feel good. I often opt for performance brands like Nike, or Under Armour that mentally allow you to see yourself as sporty and in turn can help you gain some confidence when you’re out for a run or working out at the gym. 


What do you wear to the grocery store? I like to keep it simple. Usually a pair of black skinny jeans and a t-shirt with some sort of layer like a bomber, or sweatshirt. 


What shoes do you wear when the weather is bad?  My black Chelsea style Clarks. They’re waterproof and rugged enough to handle the snow, but also stylish with a pair of ripped jeans. The versatility is great when you’re going to hang out with friends and the weather sucks. 


What shoes do you wear when you want to show off? My blue linen Donald J Pliner Pazanospln shoes which are deep blue color. I rarely wear them, but when I do I feel like a million bucks. 


What do you wish you had in your closet but don’t have?  A double-breasted suit. I love that they’re trendy now because they look amazing and remind me of European streetstyle you see at Pitti Uomo as well as my colleague who has one that looks incredible. 
 

What do you have in your closet that you should throw away but still haven’t?  A couple things I should donate, but I should really throw away a blue J Crew t-shirt that I’ve had for years. But it’s so soft and even though it has an obvious hole, it’s lived life with me. One doesn’t just “throw” something like that away. Maybe I’ll pass it on to my future children. 


What’s in your closet that you inherited from another person and still like to wear?   My Jordan IX’s that I play basketball with. A friend gave them to me years ago, and though they’re just about at the end of their life (say other people), they have served me well. Interesting fact is the Jordan IX’s were originally released in ’93. The same year Michael Jordan announced his retirement to go play baseball at age 30 and it was the same year his father was murdered. 


What is the best piece of clothing or accessory that someone else bought for you?   Easy. My wedding suit. Tailor made and makes me feel like a million dollars. Also, it was my bride who had purchased it for me. 


What piece(s) of jewelry do you wear everyday? A bracelet from Club Monaco, and bracelet from N2Squared. Some people think a watch is a piece of jewelry, so either my Fredrique Constant or MVMT watch as well as my wedding ring. Almost every piece of jewelry I wear has been a gift and reminds me of someone special. 
 

 

 

Do you wear a fragrance?  Yes! I have the Maison Martin Margiela Replica Barbershop. It’s a cool scent that isn’t too overpowering. I also have the Paco Rabanne 1 Million for certain occasions. 

Thanks for letting me interview your closet Gerald.  I’m glad I got to know you better too.  Now would you mind if I borrowed your Banana Republic overcoat? 
 

Kyan

Kyan

Bianca Cook

Bianca Cook