#82: Jacob Gallagher (Wall Street Journal)

WSJ's Jacob Gallagher on Single Strap Tote Bags, Charlie Porter's "What Artists Wear", Forgotten YouTube Fashion Clips, and more.

Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked cool person Jacob Gallagher to come on Perfectly Imperfect & redistribute his wealth of good taste.

Jacob Gallagher is the Men's Fashion Editor of “Off Duty” at The Wall Street Journal where he covers fashion, apparel, and what people wear. For the last year, he’s been working with Phaidon on "The Men's Fashion Book", a guide of the 500 greatest designers, photographers, icons, and creatives, in men’s fashion. With his fiancée Rachel, Jacob also runs Achilles Deal, an Instagram-based shop that sells old artifacts that he likes to describe as "tender, naive and overlooked". If you’d like to see some of these treasures in person they’re doing a pop-up at Leisure Center from June 23-27, so stop by, buy some cool stuff, and say hi to Jacob, Rachel, and Bijan! Jacob has great taste and lucky for us, he’s here to tell us what he’s been into.

Without further ado

Jacob Gallagher (instagram, twitter)

👜 Tote bags with one strap

This is a persistent, immovable fixation of mine: More tote bags should have a single strap. Two straps are illogically floppy. One is always dangling down like a spaghetti strap you constantly have to push back up. Therefore, the ideal tote should have a single, blissful broad strap. So far, the best I've found is from Montreal's Eden Power Corp. It's got a satisfying curve along the bottom and a curious tie-knot design at the apex of the strap. It's like a futuristic mail carrier bag. 

📖 "What Artists Wear" by Charlie Porter

I haven't actually received my copy of this book yet, but Charlie is one of my favorite writers so I feel safe endorsing this. Charlie used to write at the Guardian and FT (among other places) but stepped back a bit ago to write this book on well, what artists wear. I've missed his writing (seriously, go back and read some of his old stuff, which zooms with zest and clarity) and so I'm really looking forward to receiving this. It is currently only in print in the UK, but I bought it from a store over there that shipped (for free!) to America. 

🎨 Truls Martensson

I have no clue how I found the Stockholm-based artist who goes by "@snakeb00t" nor do I know much about him. But his sculptures—like a rotund vase with Pinocchio on one side and Mr. Met on the other—are a mishmashed joy. My favorite kind of contemporary art recreates (whether knowingly or inadvertently) the sensation of plowing through the internet where no two things in succession ever really make sense. It's also just this tangle of absurd juxtapositions. Martensson's work really captures that for me. They're also hilarious in scale—see the imaginary Prada money clip that is as big as a toddler. 

🔍 Bear Stearns eBay Searches

This was my gateway drug eBay search. I have zero affiliation to Bear Stearns, but when it crashed in 2008 I became fixated on finding relics from the firm. They were like fossils of financial ruin—these unique, quite sad, souvenirs of American life. Unfortunately over the years people have realized that these things are collectible and so there's a lot of tacky Zazzle-quality fakes on eBay now. But some gems are still out there.

📺 Forgotten YouTube fashion clips

When I was working on the book—which has brief, but well-researched entries for 500 famous people and brands (plug, plug, plug)—I would often get sidetracked on YouTube. If you key in a designer's name and scroll down past the predictable top entries, you'd get some largely-forgotten, and really enchanting, clips. A few favorites:

-Issey Miyake doing a TV ad for Suntory Whisky (soundtracked by Kraftwerk!)—Obssesed with how tortured Miyake is acting here. I imagine the directions were "you're designing, you're out of ideas, you NEED the whisky!" It's also notable that this wasn't a co-branded whisky between Suntory and Miyake. Licensing would skyrocket in the '80s, but here Miyake—with his sublime pushbroom mustache—was just the spokesman.

-Michael Fish showing his 1969 collection—Fish was one of those lesser-known characters I became fascinated with while working on the book. His lush, gender-agnostic clothes are now often seen as paving the way for Gucci, et. al today. But in this clip you get the full range of his designs, from mild suits to brocade loungewear to some regrettable condiment-colored knits. It's also very sweet how nervous he appears in the beginning.

-Nudie Cohn being interviewed in 1980—A Jewish immigrant who made suits for Roy Rogers. Can't beat it. Stick around in this clip to see his car, which has a saddle in the back and steer horns on the grill. Legend. 


Follow Jacob on Instagram & Twitter

Check out his work on the WSJ

Follow Achilles Deal on Instagram

Pre-order "The Men's Fashion Book"


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