A Collected Gentleman is a fashion and style blog run by Isaiah Johnson. Within a few minutes of browsing his blog readers can see there is more to his site beyond what constitutes “a good look.” The blog, just over three years old, is a place where visitors can find themselves at the intersection of fashion and freeing inspiration.
Isaiah spoke with me for about an hour last month on what he and his blog are about, where he plans to go with A Collected Gentleman and what he hopes people take away from his creations.
How did you come up with the name A Collected Gentleman?
There was this dance group called Eclectic Gentlemen, it came from that, and even though it’s a style blog, it’s a collection of all my talents.
I was inspired by other bloggers, and I say this all the time, but there were three, well four bloggers that pretty much paved the way for me, that really inspired me. I’ve always had a sense of style; it was more on the street, that urban style. But Street Etiquette and Style Blogger, I really became intrigued with that, and that’s where it started.
To me, dressing up is art in a way. And that’s pretty much how it came about. Just researching them and reading what they had to say about it, and just making it my own reality. I wanted to create something that inspired me the way they inspired me when I was checking out their stuff.
What’s different about your blog from its beginning to now?
I would say my voice has developed a lot more as well as my style, my art ,and my photography. I take it a lot more serious now. I’m trying to make it into a brand. It’s like my baby you know? Just the growth from the picture quality to the features I’ve put together, to the outfits.
It’s like I’ve changed, but it’s the same. I’ve evolved. It’s like I went from an iPhone 3 to an iPhone 5. Well, it may not be 5s, it may be 4s.
It’s not a lot of major differences, but if you look at the beginning of my posts to now you see a difference. Even the theme, even the layout of my website is different. Making it more clean , easy, and simplistic.
Why did you choose Tumblr as a platform for your blog?
I was considering using Blogspot and WordPress ,but I really loved how Tumblr was user-friendly. The main thing was how you can interact with your readers and followers. I really enjoy that and I just think it was like the next wave. It was so easy to use and figure out. For me it’s just better.
What do you think makes your blog appealing to people?
Maybe because I’m a black guy. No I’m just joking. I can just go by what my readers have told me. They really like my blog because for one it displays affordable clothing. I just try to be as down to earth and real as possible.
When I started my blog I wanted to be relatable. For me it would be hard to be walking around with Gucci or Louis Vuitton, there’s nothing wrong with it, but especially being in college it’s just being relatable to my readers.
How did you become interested in fashion?
I really just wanted to change my appearance. I just wanted something new. I googled people who were into fashion and style. The guys I mentioned popped up ,and I just fell in love with that style. I hit up my first thrift store and I pretty much fell in love ever since.
The embrace on Tumblr pretty much cemented everything ,and made me feel like I was born to do this. I’m a pretty shy person, and I didn’t know how people were going to react.
What does style mean to you?
Style to me means…you develop your style, that means you accept who you are. You’ve embrace who you are as a person. When you see stylish people they don’t worry about impressing people.
Sort of like Pharrell wearing that hat at the Grammy’s, to other people it was like; “Why are you wearing that big old hat?” ,But to him it’s normal. It’s being in touch with who you are as a person.
What inspires you visually?
I don’t want to sound like Kanye up in here, but architecture ,and I don’t know, just people. Life in general just inspires me. The way the sun makes light and shadows in your house.
The world is a very beautiful thing. Even travelling, seeing different cultures (inspires me.)
And people wanting to interview me inspires me…it does! It just shows that your hard work is paying off. Like, you worked so hard in high school, and you got accepted to that dream school…I don’t know, it just means a lot.
What trends are you currently digging?
I like the typical trends I guess. I like camouflage, I like prints, polka dots. I guess camo and polka dots would be in the category of prints.
I like wearing bright colors. I just like really stand out pieces, like a crazy-colored blazer or a crazy colored suit. But as far as trends, it depends on the season really; since spring is coming up it’s definitely prints and bright colors.
Are there any trends you don’t particularly care for?
I don’t want to really….I guess to each his own. I’ve seen stuff that I wouldn’t wear, but I can’t really judge people for wearing stuff that I wouldn’t wear.
When Kanye West wore the kilt piece, I couldn’t see myself wearing something like that, but to each his own. Everyone has his own sense of style.
About a month ago you posted that you would like to start making YouTube videos. How is that coming along?
It’s something I would really love to do. I just have to really sit down and figure (it) out…but as far as like the videos go, it would be something like my written posts. So if a brand reached out to me, I would do a video review instead of a written review because I feel that’s a little more interactive.
I just feel like the videos would have people get a better sense of who I am.
You don’t see a lot of guys do videos. You see a lot of females who do makeup and hair, but you don’t see a lot of males do style.
Where do you see yourself going this year as a blogger and as an artist?
Besides blogging, which I really love to do, photography is like my biggest thing. I’d like to further my photography, as far for brands, editorials. As well as continue blogging and taking it to the next level, and really taking it more seriously.
It’s a tough field. Being an artist is tough. I just want to show people who I am, and keep pushing.
What do you hope people take away from your site?
I hope they leave inspired. I just really hope people can look back and be inspired, even in this world where everything is so fast ,and it’s like a popularity contest.
Fashion blogs abound, and it might seem intimidating for a newbie to start one. What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a fashion blog?
I would just tell them don’t do it for the fortune or fame. Just do it because it’s something you love to do. People always say that everything is so saturated…the people who are really passionate about it will stand out.
Figure out what you want to do and work on it day and night. Figure out what you want to do and enjoy every minute of it, the good and the bad.
You shouldn’t let negativity stop you. The worst thing you can do is let yourself get in the way of yourself.
Just keep pushing, work hard on your dreams and don’t give up. Enjoy your journey.
View more of Isaiah Johnson’s style & A Collected Gentleman blog here : http://acollectedgentleman.com/