RUSSELL EFROS, 23
Hometown: Roslyn, New York
Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn.
UD: What's your vibe in regards to style?
RE: My style vibe varies depending on my mood or climate. Overall, I’d say slack rock, twin peaks brute meets well groomed punk... bed-head / no-fuss... effortlessly well kept. It’s thrift-shop, 90’s nostalgic with comfort and practicality as key. I like to think of a reclusive, J.D. Salinger, putting on a pair of coveralls and heading to work.
UD: Beyond J.D. Salinger and eternal 90's boys, what else inspires you?
RE: I find a great deal of inspiration from cinema; finding characters that I identify with or admire while watching my favorite films. James Dean in “Rebel Without A Cause” meets Dustin Hoffman in “the Graduate”. I even find myself drawing inspiration from my peers, so other musicians and performers I know and can aesthetically relate to. Travel is always a great way to draw new inspirations, too.
UD: What sets you apart from the "vanillas"?
RE: I think we all have a unique “flavor” that separates us from the “vanillas” of the world. I found over time I just wanted to push the envelope a bit further. Try out different looks... be weird every once and a while (that’s how I ended up with an eyebrow ring). A great deal of vanity never hurts to push the flavor.
UD: Do conceptualize your outfits at all?
RE: Growing up I always knew exactly what I was going to wear the next day. I’d lay out my clothes on the floor like chalk-body outline from a crime scene. Nowadays I find myself wearing “uniforms” that come in and out of rotation based on where my life or what creative medium is driving me at the moment. Usually it’s a seasonal rotation.
Perhaps something that inspired me to try out a new look-- seeing a performer I admire rock an outfit that I could see myself owning. I like to think of myself playing characters sometimes... It’s more fun that way.
My conceptual thought process can be boiled down to minimalism-- sticking to a timeless jean and tee combo!
UD: What are some of your go to brands?
RE: Go-to brands would be Carhartt WIP, BLK DNM, vintage Ralph Lauren Polo or Woolrich... Uniqlo for the basics. Dated sport brands like Adidas, Reebok, or Champion are also key basics for my ensemble... Clothing with character, whether it be a mail in Marlboro jacket or my collection of Harley Davidson tee’s.
For footwear I live by a very simple order: Converse, Vans, Superga, Dr. Martens. Overall, I like to shy away from any wildly recognizable branding.
UD: How do you feel the men's style landscape has changed in your lifetime?
RE: I find that men’s style has benefited a great deal in terms of gender fluidity. Popular culture is now more open to blurring the lines of gender and I love it. I feel men wearing makeup has lost a great deal of it’s taboo. No need to be ashamed or hide that concealer I carry around with me. It’s funny to see how ridiculously stigmatized a guy wearing make up used to be. Like when you’re watching a re-run of a favorite 90’s sitcom and seeing how much has changed in my lifetime.
It’s also funny to see how cyclical the nature of fashion truly is. A great portion of my closet is treasured hand me downs from my grandfather’s 80’s - 90’s apparel.
UD: And the men's plus size landscape?
RE: I don’t think that popular or fashion culture was ever as obsessive over male’s weight or size compared to females but I also find a growing trend in body-positive fashion for all. It’s comforting because once you create a safe and less restrictive playing field in terms of acceptance you find people more welcoming. It opens more doors... It breaks down barriers that otherwise suppress creative and personal growth.
UD: Coming from a Jewish family, does cultural background play into your style choices at all? If not, how do you differ from that?
RE: I find that my cultural background played a small role in the development of my fashion sense. It was somewhat oppressive of my character. I always knew what I wanted to wear, how to dress the part. I am lucky enough to have a family that is understanding and appreciative of my individuality... Still it’s easy to feel guilted or pressured by family to conform to a certain style they prefer [being cleaner cut] in my case. My family has good taste and has always dressed appropriately for their age or situation. Their main concern is ensuring I can find success. For them that mean’s a presenting myself with a sense of formality or conservatism.
But at the end of the day I know I need to wear and do what feels best for me. Or else I’d never be comfortable with myself. No one needs to feel like they want to crawl out of their own skin.
Photography by Sinjun Strom.