NINO LLANERA, 31
Hometown: Iloilo City, Philippines
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
UD: How do you describe your style?
NL: Urban Street with a dash of Classic Man.
UD: What gets you excited about your personal style?
NL: That I can create a look that might inspire someone else to get out of their comfort zone, especially other gentlemen of bigger stature out there.
UD: Name a few places you've recently found inspiration...
NL: The streets of Downtown LA and NY, the beach, scrolling through my Instagram feed.
UD: How do you approach putting together daily outfits?
NL: Depending on where I'm going / what I'm doing, I usually go by vibe and then I begin to mix and match until I have some options. Funny thing is I usually finalize my thoughts in the shower and right when I am done I'm set to get dress and groom.
UD: What are some of your go to brands?
NL: Some of my favorite shirts come from Oublier, I love the jogger chinos at CottonOn, Synrgy from DXL has the best button ups and designs... a majority of the flannel in my closet is from a brand called Sonoma which I pick up at Kohls. More recently I've also been liking the Puma Big and Tall Exclusives coming from ASOS Plus. From Oublier, Brandon Kyle to MVP collections it's exciting to see that we're finally getting more options.
UD: Do you tailor your clothes?
NL: I don't... but I do some DIY with older pieces. I've transitioned a lot of pieces from colder weather to summer by cutting sleeves off to make a cool flannel vest or chopping off denim for some shorts. Simple things that create a whole new look.
UD: How do you feel about the current mens style landscape?
NL: A few years ago I would say it was very stagnant. I wasn't really getting inspired. More recently I feel a revolution coming. Maybe it's because in 2016 the Brawn Movement for the Big & Tall community made such great leaps and strides. It's really inspiring to see bigger guys shinning in mens style and walking with confidence in what they wear.
UD: Does your cultural background play into your style choices at all? If not, how do you differ from that?
NL: Growing up being Filipino / Asian, as well as where I was living played a big role in my style evolution. Every Filipino or Asian kid was into streetwear and urban fashion in LA. From collecting Nike Dunks to wearing Fubu and Sean John back in the day, I was pretty influenced by my peers and surroundings. Since then my street style has evolved with time and I am now mixing in other aspects and fashion trends with it.
UD: How does your level of confidence on any given day influence what you wear?
NL: Confidence is probably one of your most important accessories. My level of confidence on any given day influences my style choices tremendously. If I feel I am having an off day for some reason you'll probably find me in sweats and sweater. If you feel good then you want to try and look good all over. I've learned that walking with a confident stride really helps make whatever you're wearing work for you.
UD: Does the current political climate affect how you present yourself?
NL: Not at all. I am all for progression and diversity so I would never let any politics get in the way of my individuality and who I am. As long as I am respectful towards everyone and their personal views I would hope I am representing myself in a good light.
UD: Is style a vehicle for your individuality or do clothes just serve a purpose?
NL: Style is definitely a vehicle for my individuality. I feel like everyone should use it to be able to create who they want to be seen as.
UD: What struggles do you face when shopping for clothes?
NL: As a bigger guy I tend to have to shop multiple stores to get a full outfit. I can never shop at one store like most people to get a head to toe look. I have to be patient and look around in store and online to be able to create that look. I definitely have to search for it.
UD: If you could say anything to men's clothing designers and manufacturers?
NL: There is a market for Big & Tall beyond what you are already doing! Find these new start up brands with passion and eye for design, invest in them and be part of the movement!
UD: What message are you trying to send to your plus size peers who might still be struggling with embracing their size?
NL: Being different and an individual is what makes the world go round. There is only one YOU so show the world why YOU are so unique, BE YOU! When you are finally accepting of who you are and what you can do to make an impact in this world then comes in the confidence. Love yourself and the rest will follow.
Photography by Samuel Ramirez.