In the words of Coco Chanel, fashion fades and only style remains. Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs understand this with such genuine ease it’s hard to believe they’re from our generation. The Bronx natives landed on the top of fashion’s radar with Street Etiquette, a men’s fashion blog dedicated to dapper style.
Despite an increase in press and accolades, the two manage to stay humble and refined. Clutch had the chance to catch up with Street Etiquette to see what inspires them and what’s on the horizon.
Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs: streetetiquette.com
Clutch: Let’s start by congratulating you guys on all the press you’ve been getting. We’ve heard nothing but great things about Street Etiquette. How did you come up with the idea?
Street Etiquette: Thank you; we greatly appreciate the encouraging words. Both of us knew that we wanted to commence a website revolving around style and fashion, but presented from an urban aspect. We’re still pretty much influenced by traditional Americana prep style but we look to intertwine it with a more modern twist. We are also influenced greatly by the Harlem Renaissance period where a new identity for people of color was presented – so influential making it a permanent staple in American culture. It’s great to focus on a certain period of time/fashion but we look forward to injecting our own influence on what has been already established ideally presenting a new platform.
With the name ‘Street Etiquette’ Travis actually coined the term which personified us from our style and outlook on certain views on life. This simple idea has connected us with millions around the world varying in age, ethnicity and culture who share a similar view to what we’re projecting. The Internet is a beautiful thing.
Clutch: Do you all feel any pressure to stay current with blogging?
Street Etiquette: You’re definitely correct on that statement referring to blogging and we feel no strain at all to stay current. Maybe we should feel some pressure being two 20-year-old males in the midst of economic turmoil, but that’s definitely not the case when doing what you have passion for. What we’re presenting to the table is such a timeless aspect that there is no expiration dates to what we’re rendering.
It goes back to the last response of us taking classic elements of style, and fashion and mixing it with modern style that’s precisely how we feel about what we do. Even if you look at the whole blogging/Internet platform it has just truthfully started to blossom into such a powerful engine recently. The large corporations that once ignored the Internet presence are now scrambling, investing millions of dollars, to capture some sort of sovereignty over the Internet.
Clutch: So how do you express your individual style?
Street Etiquette: In expressing individual style the most important thing would have to be making sure you approve of what you’re wearing. Distant from the material clothing, you want equip yourself mentally when it comes to individual style, it says individual meaning personal. With personal comfort comes growth to try other things and not be concerned what everyone else thinks about your appearance.
Clutch: And what tools, regardless of age, should every male have?
Street Etiquette: The usual are hygiene and grooming products like shaving kits and deodorant which should be second nature for males. There are simply some pieces a man needs to possess to carry on in life .One of the several choices falls into the formal attire category that being somewhere stuffed in your closet is a decent suit to go out to different events from weddings to your own graduation. In a more casual aspect every male should also have a good pair of indigo blue jeans he can wear from day to day with some great dress shoes or something simpler like Converse.
Clutch: Spring/Summer 2010 is right around the corner, Street Etiquette is shopping for…
Street Etiquette: Foremost we would have to purchase a lot of basics to start off the new seasons. Retailers like Uniqlo are great at this because there are a variety of colors to pick from. The warmer seasons are similar to the colder just that you play with even more color palettes to embrace the great weather. Everything from tees, henleys, ties to make the new season feel much more welcomed with brand new attire.
Clutch: You all have had a pretty busy few months, when can we see some of what you’ve been working on?
Street Etiquette: We don’t mean to sound too pretentious here, but you can definitely expect ample things from us at Street Etiquette. We have started two projects one being the Genesis of Style video project and an editorial ‘Sewn from the Soul’. Genesis of Style video really captures the return of menswear from the urban perspective and how it affects our lives. The editorial project we’re working on with a group of friends titled ‘Sewn from the Soul’ is where we pay homage to Black History month and its historical figures in a unique way. We also have a lot of great things with various companies unfortunately we can’t mention it here until the ink dries. The two of us have grown to a place where we are in sync with consumers especially being involved with the streets providing us with that real aspect of what people want. Ideally we would like to monetize on that aspect by working with various brands in the near future.
We understand everything takes time, but simultaneously you want to build on opportunities presented to use as leverage in the future. We like to use this metaphor of building a strong fixture where you want to make sure the bottom is strong as you build to the top. We hope to bring a new spark of philanthropy to the borough of the Bronx as it has been neglected through the many years. The passion we consume will be dispersed throughout any venue we participate in. This would consist of possibly holding a young men’s conference with young gentlemen who think on a similar wave length of tarnishing the stereotype that we live around daily. We could uniform in dandy ties and well tailored blazers for years, but there has to be some sort of substance. The fact of reality is it becomes more than just clothes which express our personality, but with sturdy moves such as this you make change to the future forever…
Clutch: Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone trying to start a street style blog?
Street Etiquette: With the oversaturation of street style blogs, we would advise someone to differentiate your blog from the others currently out. There are way too many blogs glorifying the same aspect of things. We receive tons of emails asking, ‘What is the best route to become a successful style blog?’ We try to tell everyone what we truly feel and that is patience, persistence and progress should follow suit.
Totally aware of our surroundings we know nothing can occur without the aspect of hard work, certain people seem to love the easy route, but it’s so much more gratifying when you work for it. We went from unique style bloggers from the Bronx which is unusual in itself to be ranked ‘The Best Men’s Style’ blog by the Guardian UK. It’s a grand feeling that people – especially abroad, are starting to recognize what we just simply love to do. It is only the beginning of a long journey.