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Tiffany Chung

15 Jun 2021

Text by Tiffany Chung

CITIZENS: TYLER ADAMS

15 Jun 2021

Tyler Adams is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in photography, art direction, and casting with a wide array of clients such as Def Jam Records Opening Ceremony, Beyoncé x Adidas. In this edition of Citizens, the LA native tells us about his early creative beginnings and shows us that there is more than one way into the industry.

 

Hey Tyler, you wear several hats. Put these three things in order of importance to you: photography, creative directing, casting.

“Oh wow, okay so photography is definitely the most important because it's what led me into the other avenues of my creativity. After that would be casting and then creative directing. Uh, wait, no. But that's hard to be honest because when I first started shooting, I was doing all these things in my personal work. I wanted to create images, but I wasn’t seeing the type of people that I wanted to shoot, so I started casting for myself. I didn’t have budgets to go to a showroom and pull clothes, so I was either putting together things that friends or the talent were bringing or even pulling out of my closet and putting that together. So, all of it is kind of important to a degree in order to make art. But I guess photography is the most important because that’s how I got into all the other things."

 

Why did you gravitate to photography in the first place?

“It was kind of an innate thing. I say that I've been shooting since I was 5. Growing up, my grandma had an old school Polaroid 600, and I would just run around with it, create, and shoot things. It's always been something that was there and that just started my fascination with it. I've always been a visual kid."

 

Tyler in Mexico.

 

What would you say makes a great photograph?

“Great’ I feel can be subjective. I think perspective is very important, not so much composition, but I mean like my personal chase. Like what I may think is a great image may not be a great image to you. You may be into colors or compositions or location, but all of that has to do with your perspective and what makes the most sense to you or what you move to personally."

 

Do you have a favorite photograph?

“Yes. Actually, I do. My favorite photograph of all time – I get so excited thinking about it – is Richard Avedon’s portrait of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar before he was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In New York, it's a picture of him on the basketball court. He's tall and lanky. His posture and everything is so elegant and beautiful. It's the freshest thing. I've tried to recreate the essence of it in my own work a couple times."

 

So, do you prefer to photograph people?

“Professionally, I do shoot a lot of people, like fashion portraiture. But I still have some weird tether to wanting to photograph cityscapes, different vignettes of buildings, or graphics and shapes. I usually try to make them both kind of work together in my work – people, spaces, and architecture."

 

Drake Jazz by Tyler Adams.

 

You've worked with a lot of brands. Any favorites?

“That’s a tricky one. I don't want to play favorites but if I had to choose...Opening Ceremony was one of my first big fashion clients. Just being a fan of the brand, that was like one that I really wanted to work with. I shot with them for a while, I did some social and editorial stuff. Then, they let me shoot fashion weeks and I worked on a couple of their shows. So, that may be my favorite one because that got me to where I am today."

 

Was it hard breaking into the industry?

“Oh my god, yes. My friend and I laugh about it now. Photography has changed. It's mind-blowing how different photography and the whole industry is now versus what it was like 6 to 10 years ago. At the time when I was in college, the mindset was that you went to school, you built your book, you took your book and you moved to New York. It wasn't until you worked in New York that you would pop off and actually get to work. But out of college it was like you assisted somebody for years and then at some point you move from being 30th assistant to 1st assistant before having your break or whoever you are assisting being like, ‘I have a job that I don't want to do, you can do it’, and then that's you’re beginning. I didn’t go that route because I was like if this is what it's going to take for me to put food on the table, it’s going to take a while. But I didn't want to move outside of my creativity.

SO I started helping a really close friend of mine who was an upcoming stylist. She occasionally needed help and I feel like that’s what changed it for me because being on set in that capacity is different from being a photographer's assistant. When you assist a photographer, they don't want you to speak to the client. But everybody else has a different relationship, when you're with the stylist and those people for 8 hours on set, you actually get to know people by name. It allowed me to build relationships and be like, ‘oh you know I'm helping the stylist, but I actually shoot.’ Photography assistants can’t do that. They can’t say, ‘yeah check out my work’ because it feels like he's trying to take the photographer’s clients."

 

Opening Ceremony by Tyler Adams 1/2.

Opening Ceremony by Tyler Adams 2/2.

 

 

What’s your most memorable shoot?

“My second time in Paris was pretty memorable and cool for me because the first time I went to Paris I didn't shoot which I was bummed out about. I always try making an effort when I go somewhere new or somewhere different to actually create work in those spaces. So, I was with Kendall, and we shot in the Tuileries Garden. There was a carnival, and he just grabbed his skateboard, and we were just chilling. It was an evening in June, so the light was amazing, the weather was nice, it was a good time."

 

When you cast people for a shoot, do you keep diversity and representation in mind?

“Always. That's the first thing. When I was starting out there wasn’t any. Even now, if clients ask for diversity, there aren't a lot of options of people who look like me or people who come from the areas I come from. In general, I'm usually trying to extend opportunities and bring more people in, to experience being on set and working, or being in front of the camera. The cool thing about today is that you don’t have to look like a runway model to book a campaign or to get work."

 

TStyling for Highsnobiety Magazine.

Styling for Exit Magazine.

 

 

What do you do when you're not working?

“Not working? I don't know what that is. Ha. I don't know if this is a good or bad thing, but I feel like my work isn't necessarily work all the time. I'm usually at home or I go to the beach, I go for drives and look at architecture, I see my friends every now and then."

 

Instagram filters. Like ’em, hate ’em, or no opinion?

“I don't use them in my work, but for stories and selfies they’re super fun. I don't get tripped up by that shit, they’re fun. Also, Instagram is a tool. If you have a business or if you’re an artist, it’s a quick way to get going."

 

Complexcon photo with Pharrell.

Maison jumpman. paris, 2019.

 

 

Do you see things in black and white or shades of grey?

“Wow, that's deep. Definitely shades of grey. I think that two things can be true at the same time, it's never as cut and dry as things may appear."

 

What's the last song you listened to?

“Introverted Intuition by Lance Skiiiwalker."

 

Name one thing in your closet you can't live without.

“Damn, I can't live without any of it. I'm not a hoarder and I don't have a crazy amount of things, so none of them can go. I do have this pair of cargo pants that are always in the rotation, and I wear a lot of shoes. I’m a shoe person.">

 

Young Tyler.

 

Can you name a person, a place, and a thing that inspires you?

“My mom is really inspirational. She encouraged my creativity and to do the things that I wanted to do. She wasn’t trying to get me to be the person that she wanted me to be. Instead, she gave me the tools to be who I am and to develop the things that make me happy. I haven't been to Tokyo. Tokyo inspires me from a distance. I feel like they live in the future. It's 2021 here, but it's like 2025 there: technology-wise, lifestyle, and how they lay out their space. Being a digital kid, it just always felt like that was the future and everything is cooler there. It’s just a city that looks cool, there's a different light there. It just feels cool, clean, peaceful, and modern. The thing that inspires me is architecture. That's where I get most of my inspiration from now. It makes me happy. I like how people think about the allocation of space, how people interact with space, and how cities are laid out. All that stuff is super inspiring and drives me crazy. I go through a rabbit hole of architecture and design and when my day is over that's usually where I'm at. "

Tiffany Chung

30 Apr 2022

Text by Tiffany Chung

ØLÅF CITIZENS : DANIEL MEUL

30 Apr 2022

If dressing well is a form of good manners, then Daniel Meul is a true gentleman. In this edition of Citizens, the manager and buyer of Dutch fashion house, Pauw, shares his @suitwhisper expertise and tells us about how his simple interest in clothes became a well-tailored way of life.

 

Hi Daniel, how did you become a buyer and what do you love about it?

Actually, I never expected to be in fashion. I thought I was going to be a professional soccer player, but due to injuries at an early age I couldn’t pursue that profession anymore. I started helping out at a men’s fashion store on Thursdays and Saturdays and learned that I had a talent in sales, then it naturally progressed from there. Clothes were a hobby for me. They are still a hobby for me. You have to be interested in what you do. I don’t consider my job a job."

 

Tell me about @suitwhisper.

“The name was a joke. I was thinking about what a silly Instagram name would be and thought of the horse whisperer. When I was a teenager, suits from brands like Hugo Boss or Gucci were the main thing I really loved about fashion. It didn't matter if they were classical suits or very fashionable. I simply love to wear suits and that's more or less where I got triggered and got sucked into this crazy, always changing, evolving world of fashion."

Pitti impressions.

All about perseverance … challenging yourself

 

Do you have an all-time favorite suit?

“I would say two movie characters really stand out for me, Michael Douglas in his pinstripe suit with suspenders from Wall Street and Richard Gere in the American Gigolo because he was also very well dressed in that movie."

 

What are the most important qualities to look for in a suit?

“First of all, fit is everything. Every single body has a different measurement, so what would fit me well, wouldn't fit somebody else of a different height. For me, my number one tailor is Cesare Attolini in Naples because their suits are totally made by hand, and they have all my sizes. So, if I order a suit, a jacket, a pair of trousers, or a shirt, they make it especially for me. A good tailor is the best thing you could have. It also means you're spoiled for life because I don’t think I could wear something off the rack anymore."

 

When you start the day with this group of distinguished gentlemen spirits are always great.

 

Is there anything that you would never wear?

“That's difficult to say. Maybe I wouldn't easily wear something like a dress, but on the other hand, if you are in Indonesia, you might wear a sarong with a jacket and a nice shirt on top of it. That would look spectacular. So, it depends on the occasion, the surroundings, and what is appropriate to wear. If it fits and it looks great on me, I will definitely wear it."

 

You’ve spent the majority of your career at Pauw. What has motivated your long term commitment?

“Opportunity and the trust Madeleine Pauw and the family gave me in order to build PAUW into what it is now. We are going to open our fourth store and when I joined the company in 1993, it was just one store and a small men’s corner in another women’s store and that was it."

On my way!.

Paris.

 

How much should one invest in their first suit?

“Ten years ago, people would spend more money on their first suits. In my generation, I could easily spend ¾ of my monthly salary on clothes and it didn’t worry me. That was just the thing you did in those days. But nowadays, young professionals are more interested in travelling and they don’t want to own a lot. They want to be free. So, even though I think the best place to start with your first suit is with us, today, if I was starting at a law firm or at a bank and I had a salary which would allow me to wear a certain price for a suit or jacket, I would go to Suit Supply. Quite frankly they copy all our big tailors, which we have in store at Pauw, but they really perfected it and go the extra mile in fabrics at a lower price.However, we do get a lot of fathers in our store who introduce their sons to their first suits after graduation."

 

With the world becoming more digital, how do you think it will affect the industry?

“For suits on our price level, I expect customers will still prefer to purchase in store rather than online. If you are willing to spend a certain amount of money, you are also buying an experience. You are in the store choosing the fabric and garments and there is emotion and joy in it. Also, I think vintage clothing and online stores, like Vinted, where you can sell your old clothes easily are very interesting. It’s great because then we don't throw away or pollute anymore. I always find somebody who can make use of my old clothes. Among my staff there are a couple of guys who wear my size."

 

Winter wardrobe picking ... like a kid in a candy store.

Green.

 

Sometimes parents‘ wardrobes evolve to become more functional. Has your style changed after becoming a father?

“I still dress the same way I did before. Yes, my suits have more stains than they used to every now and then, but I’ll just bring it to the cleaners. I think that’s the unconditional love a parent has for their child. I'm just happy to see him when I come home. I pick him up and I’m not thinking about what I’m wearing. Maybe the only thing that has changed is that I spend a little bit more money on him and less money on myself."

 

Name your favorite place to travel.

“Italy, for sure. I travel a lot to Milan for business. Also, my wife and I went to Sicily for our honeymoon. We love the tiny villages where you go to a simple coffee bar and have a nice espresso, or a cornetto, or a nice pasta and take in the nature and surroundings. Everything is simple and everything is pure. That’s what we love. Everywhere you go in Italy, it’s like walking through history and getting the opportunity to see how people lived thousands of years ago – what they did, how they think, and how they express themselves. It's quite exceptional."

 

Favorite meal?

“Fresh sea bass prepared in the oven with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper."

 

What are your weekends like?

“Actually, I don't have a weekend because I work on Saturday. Sunday is family day for me. We’re always together. Then, Monday is my day off and I take care of my son. It’s the best day, just me and him."

 

Running.

 

Name a person, a place, and a thing that inspires you.

The place that personally inspires me: New York. I love the energy of the city. People that inspire me are two mentors who have substantial value in my life. First, my mother who is one of the strongest people I know. I come from a broken home and my father was never around. The second, Madeline, the owner of PAUW. I have been working for her for almost 30 years. She has always worked harder than anybody. She has so much room in her heart to give the people in the company the opportunity to grow and be successful.

 

A thing that inspires me is something I learned from Japan. It’s where people prefer to do one thing all their life, trying to reach perfection and finding joy in it. There are too many people who try to succeed in many different things. I think maybe we should try to be a little bit more modest and just be great at one or two things that bring happiness to another person who appreciates what you do well.