Introducing the Curators & Creators series. It features bi-weekly interviews from tastemakers and creators from menswear industry. This is an effort to get to know people behind the camera, blog, product or sewing machine better and we kick things off with Kiyoshi Martinez.
Kiyoshi Matrinez is a prominent Chicago menswear blogger, whose musings can be found at thesilentist.com. He also contributes to Put This On‘s Ramen Noodle budget articles. Hucklebury is a vertically-integrated online retailer selling better fitting men’s shirts using 100% Egyptian cotton from the finest mills in Italy.
Hucklebury: When did you start this blog and what was the inspiration behind it?
Two and a half years ago. I used to work at the Illinois state senate during that time, where the dress code was very casual most of the time. Only when the legislature was in session, the staff would be suited up in a jacket and tie. However, our office was on same floor as that of the governor, so there was always a flow of media associates, government officials and lobbyists. Through these interactions, I saw that many people misjudged me to be an intern because of my boyish looks. This was my inspiration. I started focusing on my dressing to give me a more mature look. During this time, I stumbled upon Put This On and became enthused about creating a catalogue of my looks. Since then I have evolved from cataloguing to answering questions and writing articles.
Hucklebury: Why only focus on menswear, and not tech gadgets?
I love old movies, comics and find technology fascinating, but only as a consumer. I would find it hard to blog about comic books that my readers may not have seen or read. I am more into the basics and not looking at the next big thing, so tech gadgets are also not my passion. With clothing, there’s personal creativity showcasing your style and individuality. I’m a believer of the “less is more” philosophy- I’d rather keep fewer neckties that are more versatile like a navy color, than have 20 different colors in my closet.
Hucklebury: If your blog has a mission statement, what would it be?
Kiyoshi Martinez: A glimpse into my menswear obsession.
Hucklebury: And if your style had a mission statement, what would it be?
Kiyoshi Martinez: Simple, Monochromatic and Appropriate.
Hucklebury: What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I love watching movies on Netflix and TV shows like The Wire. I also enjoy cooking and reading non-fiction books. I frequent dive bars and comedy shows too.
Hucklebury: Who are your favorite creative minds with regards to fashion?
I’ve always liked Toshiro Mifune. He had a commanding presence on stage. You can catch him dressed in modern clothes sometimes but even when dressed-up, your attention is on him rather than his clothes.
I also admire Andy Warhol’s style of blue jeans, navy blazer, oxford button down shirt and a dark neck tie. I don’t follow runways in particular, but I have a high regard for people who are crafting unique products or things that you can touch and feel.
Hucklebury: Where do you find inspiration for your wardrobe?
Watching old movies can sometimes give me ideas, but I get most of my inspiration from people-watching on the busy streets of Chicago. I am looking for utilitarian and functional clothing. Unique cut of clothing attracts me, and I also like design details that add utility for the urban environment – like pockets for specific item in pants.
Hucklebury: Are there any trends in fashion that you foresee in menswear?
There was this huge push a couple of years ago to get everyone in suits because everyone was dressing casually. But now if you look at majority of people and their work environments, wearing a suit is not appropriate and often times, an overkill. There could be a dramatic shift to more casual and better-fitting clothing – something between suits and street-wear.
Hucklebury: What advice do you have for younger generation in terms of dressing?
First thing I would say – Go through your closet and donate everything that you have not worn in a year. Then, I would recommend investing time to learn about fits and cuts that suit your body type. This way, you can get out of the vicious cycle of buying random things that you don’t wear because it doesn’t fit right or look good, and then donating them and re-buying new things – this used to happen to me so many times.
Hucklebury: What are some of the best and worst aspects of running your own blog?
I absolutely love the aspect that you have complete creative control. You get to discover yourself, as well as meet interesting people you would otherwise never cross paths with.
I think the worst thing is going through the personal writing process. I do 90% thinking and 10% writing, but the 90% takes tremendous amount of time and energy.
Hucklebury: Looking ahead to the future, what direction are you looking to take your blogging in?
I would like to expand it out in different ways and create micro blogs that deals with products, and one that doesn’t deals with essays and more of a newsletter for my readers.
Thank you Kiyoshi for giving us the opportunity to interview you.