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Artist Kyle Mumford

James Andrew photographed by Kyle Mumford

James Andrew photographed by Kyle Mumford

Always looking for the right art for my clients’ interiors, I ventured out to Bushwick in Brooklyn New York to meet with the multi-talented Kyle Mumford

He’s a true renaissance man; a director, actor, film maker, photographer, and writer – I was quite intrigued by the ravishingly raw beauty of his photographs and felt they would add an interesting edge to some of the interiors I was creating for a young client.

Mumford’s own story is rather fascinating—he’s had his share of struggles, and has overcome quite a few obstacles to become what he is today. Mumford grew up in West Allenhurst NJ, on the outskirts of Asbury Park NJ – a bit of a rough neighborhood, with a hard-working middle class bent. Diagnosed at a young age with OCD, ADD, Dyslexia, and Tourette’s, early life proved to be challenging, but it was through art that he found his voice. Thankfully his parents were hugely supportive, and as Mumford tells us, he was allowed to run with his talents.

Self portrait - Kyle Mumford

Self portrait – Kyle Mumford

“I started teaching myself photography halfway through film school,” Mumford tells us. “One day in late summer on my 20th birthday my father gave me his old Chino 35mm camera. He’s had it as long as I could remember. A friend of his gave it to him when he was 16 after steeling it from a hardware store…Little did he know that that camera [would be] the start of what got me into film photography. I never liked digital because it had no character and the image was too clean for me. I wanted to exercise my eye with photography in the beginning for my work in filmmaking, but photography soon became a big part of me.” Later he went on to travel, which taught him how to engage with strangers, and he’s since made a substantial body of work documenting those travels and the people he’s met.

photograph by Kyle Mumford

Travel photograph by Kyle Mumford

photograph by Kyle Mumford

Travel photograph by Kyle Mumford

Now in Bushwick – which has a substantial community of artists – he seems perfectly in his element. “I shoot 35mm 3200 ISO speed film, black and white. That look really shows the audience a taste of what is going on. Not just “this is Bushwick,” but a look into the lifestyle of the struggling young adult and artist. A grungy feel, [with subject matter] ranging from living conditions, to looks, to underground music, to the industrial and innovative streets. Its a place of characteristics. I loved it so much I bought property out here!”

It seems Mumford has a story to go with each of his cameras. For our shoot at top, Mumford used a camera gifted to him by a cherished teacher not long before she passed away. With so much love in these instruments, and Mumford with his eye to the finder, its not surprising that the photograph of me came out so wonderfully!

Mumford's Mamiya

Mumford’s vintage Mamiya

Do check out his site – also Mumford will be showing in Bushwick on March 1st – 31st Location, at the Morgan town Bar, 44 Willson ave. Bushwick Brooklyn (Between Mesrole and George).

For my Bushwick shoot, I’m sporting a Tom Ford era Gucci black cotton corduroy jacket, Eddie Bauer slim black down jacket underneath, Tom Ford white cotton shirt with French cuffs, black pearl cuff links, a beautiful bow tie by Le Noeud Papillon vintage Rolex, red leather gloves by Sermoneta, Uniqlo slim jean and Tom Ford black and tan leather loafers, Tom Ford Bronzing Gel and Creed Royal Oud is my fragrance.

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Sartorial Splendor for All

James Andrew - vintage "Zero King" toggle coat. Photo Nick Turner

James Andrew – vintage "Zero King" toggle coat. Photo Nick Turner

Hard work, positive thoughts and powerful imagination have payed off over the years, and I’ve generally had the luxury to shop wherever I want. The result is I’ve amassed a pretty fabulous collection of clothing.

But things have not always been so peachy. For instance, when I was young, I was not making crazy amounts of money, but dressing up was still really important to me. Consequently I spent most of my wages on what I wore…think Carrie in Sex in the City, when she said “I need to find a $25 dress to go with my $400 shoes.” One invaluable lesson I’ve taken with me from that time was learning where to save, and where to invest. For instance, growing up in the opulent 80’s there were a lot of parties and events that required black tie. I needed to be appropriately attired so I invested in a great pair of opera pumps in black patent leather, a Ralph Lauren Tuxedo shirt and black satin tie (which saved me the expense of buying an evening set). For my tuxedo, I went to a wonderful vintage clothing store and found a fabulous one in a light weight wool barathea with black faille lapels and classic banding on the pants. This terrific tuxedo was only $90 and needed very little alteration. It provided me with years of use!

As a rule of thumb these days, I don’t skimp on tailored clothing, shoes, and belts, but I don’t limit myself. One can find beautifully made vintage articles at consignment shops, discount stores, and quite often, even on ebay. With these particular outlets, there is the added appeal of finding pieces that are truly unique, if not one of a kind! Case and point is the terrific toggle coat that I’m wearing for today’s photo. I stumbled upon this whilst in an ebay k-hole…the price was $100 and no one else had bid on it. As you may have surmised, I was the successful bidder. Now, I’m often stopped on the street whenever I wear this jacket!

Don’t get me wrong, I adore the clothing created by Tom Ford, and it/he has become my go-to resource for that tailor-made look, and I do mix in a few things from the legendary Savile Row tailors as well, but sometimes there are necessary pieces that I overlooked, or that are no longer produced; these are the sort of situations that have me seeking other resources…and I can tell you, often I’ll find said items at a fraction of their original price! My Givenchy inspired loden cape for example as well as my Pucci tunic were both found on ebay. Of course you have to know quality, but my point is, if you’re looking to establish a spectacular wardrobe, there are many ways to go. One can fill in the holes with jeans, cotton slacks, sweaters and other such wardrobe staples from stores like Uniqlo. Ralph Lauren’s Denim & Supply brand have some remarkable pieces at great prices as well. One just has to be clever with one’s choices.

Vintage "Zero King" toggle coat

Vintage “Zero King” toggle coat

I’m photographed (top) wearing my eBay treasure, a vintage “Zero King” toggle coat, with Tom Ford dark brown wide wale corduroy pants, Gucci dark brown hand knit wool sweater, aviator sunglasses and brown suede slip on shoes, Turnbull & Asser red mini tartan cotton shirt with contrast white collar and cuffs , vintage Rolex watch, Sermoneta forest green leather gloves and my fragrance is Tom Ford Oud.

High and Low

James Andrew - photo Gabriel Everett

James Andrew - photo Gabriel Everett

When decorating a client’s home, I try to insist on the best possible quality materials and workmanship. However, even the wealthiest of my clients has a budget! With that in mind, I’ve found one can still achieve superior results with modest materials by applying a high level of craftsmanship and design. For example, I might seek out a simple cotton/linen and trim them in gross grain ribbon to produce some rather spectacular looking curtains. It’s a high/low approach. The same goes with my wardrobe. I have no problem mixing no-compromise brands like Tom Ford and Savile Row tailoring with basic items from Uniqlo like jeans and sweaters. Uniqlo, in fact, produces some quite well made/designed basics in fantastic colors. I often wear Uniqlo jeans and a cashmere sweater paired with a Tom Ford jacket and shoes for a super stylish yet casual high/low ensemble.

Enjoying a snowy afternoon shopping at Uniqlo and the Tom Ford boutique, I’m sporting a Gucci tweed top coat and brown wool hand knit sweater, Uniqlo jeans, Le Chameau wellies, Sermoneta dark green leather gloves. My fragrance is Creed Bois du Portugal.