Style can be very different, and to reveal the extent of the variety out there, I recently profiled are Mark Seitelman, and today I’ll further introduce Karl-Edwin Guerre from Guerrisms.
While both are from NYC, love suits and being well-dressed, their styles could hardly be more different. As such, I would like to portrait Karl-Edwin Guerre – a true Gentleman of Style – whom I met for the first time at MRket earlier this year.
Karl-Edwin Guerre – he usually goes just by Guerre (pronounced “gear”) – has Haitian roots and lives with his wife and two young children in Brooklyn. He captures street style, writes and directs videos – a little bit of everything. His style photographer journey began in 2008 and he has shot for the likes of GQ Japan, Marie Claire and travels regularly to Florence for Pitti Uomo, among other places. His website www.guerreisms.com attracts thousands of visitors a day from around the globe, and while he always focuses on the style & especially details of others, I thought it was about time to profile the man himself. In the following you will find a short video about his work and an in-depth interview – enjoy!
How It all Started – Swagger 360
When Guerre first heard about blogging, he did not have a clue what it was until he read a magazine article that got him hooked. He decided to go out on the street to capture style and details as he saw them. In the following years, he successfully grew his blog Swagger 360, which was all about fashion & style. AUnfortunately, 3 years into blogging, he ran into legal issues with someone who claimed the rights to his blog’s name. Initially, he contemplated going to court, especially since he came up with the name first. At the same time, he realized that his scope had changed and blogging was something he did not really want to do anymore. Consequently, he started Guerreisms.
His new website is supposed to be more of a personal take on style, while fashion is less important. Guerre loves to point out details, because in his opinion, they are one of the fundamentals in style. His website is based on tumblr and as such, it is very photo driven. In the future, Guerre hopes to be able to produce more content as well. While he loves to shoot men, he also takes pictures of well-dressed women, especially when they have great individual style.
Interview with Karl-Edwin Guerre
During the MRket shows, I had a number of great conversations with Guerre, and I realized that most of the interviews focused on his work but not on his style. It takes a stylish person to recognize one on the street, so I asked him a couple of questions and he answered.
What did you do before you became involved in street style and do you run Guerreisms full time?
While pursuing a college degree business administration, I realized it was not the right thing for me, but I always walked a fine line between two worlds. By that, I mean the line between artistry and intellect, and since I always considered myself to be urban and cosmopolitan, I also had an appreciation for the country. In the end, business administration simply was not for me at that point in my life and so I dropped out to pursue a different career.I love what I do now but I also have a young family and so it is important to have a steady income and especially health insurance. As such, I work a regular 9 to 5 office job at a veteran’s hospital.
How would you describe your style & how did it evolve?
My style is Casual Fly. That means casual enough to always be comfortable, no matter what I do, and fly means I am always ready to go to a meeting. [I noticed, he even carries his passport with him at all times in case he needs to travel to a different country immediately!].
Over time, my style has evolved tremendously. As a young man, I wore baggy clothes and sympathized with hip hop culture. Then, it changed dramatically and I went for the Wall Street look. I would wear dark suits, pin stripes and double breasted coats. Ralph Laurenwas a wardrobe staple for me, but eventually I realized that this uniform was just not me. From then on, I basically opted for the same kind of clothes, I just added more color. In a next step, I kept the color but removed the suits from my wardrobe. Then my style became less bright and I chose more muted colors. Now, I still love colors and textures but I also wear suits. I guess, overall I always kept certain elements of my previous style.
What are your goals for the future?
My number one goal is not to be called a blogger anymore.
In my opinion, it it has a negative connotation and people do not really understand the difference between a blog and what I do [I agree – most people have little to no understanding of how the internet works and that there is a huge difference between blogging here and there on blogger or tumblr and running a successful website].My second goal is to do more editorial work. I want write more.
Third, I want to direct films.
When is someone well dressed in your opinion?
A person is well dressed if they have an understanding of:
1. Their physical characteristics
2. They know how to cater to that – style is beyond fashion.
What is most important to you and why: quality, fit, individuality or elegance?
Fit is the most important – everything else is a close second, but without a proper fit, the other things don’t really matter.
Who do you consider to be well dressed?
My father. When I saw a picture of my dad with 2 others in a picture from the 1960’s in Haiti, he looked the sharpest. He would never wear jeans. At this point, I really started to think about my own style and I would love to see my children look back one day and think the same about me as I did about my father.
Do you have any intentions to do studio/ad photography one day?
No, I want to stick with street style.
I know you collect pens. Tell me a little bit more about how your collection evolved.
I collect fountain pens, and I just lost one on the plane from Japan to NYC. I prefer extra fine nibs because I write rather tiny. I am not really big into the technical side of pens but I adore the look and feel of it. In the beginning, I was a big fan of Montblanc, in retrospect I have to admit probably because of their marketing and media hype. Today, I only like their writer’s edition. For example I would love to own one of their Agatha Christie pens [it features a snake clip with red ruby eyes and is black].Also, I really like Cartier fountain pens.
What makes a good pen for you & why do you prefer pen and paper over a phone?
I was always big on technology, but at the same time I don’t want to be too attached to it, or even become a slave of technology. I like the smell of books and I enjoy writing down my own thoughts. A good pen must have the right weight and a fine nib.
I noticed, you always wear a big jade ring – what does it mean to you?
When I got married my wife and I went to a store and they had two identical rings. We both saw them and liked them at the same time. It’s in the nature of these rings that they can’t be re-sized and when we put them on, the fit each of us. The ring is made out of silver, gold and jade and it is a solid piece with a vintage feel that is big without being vulgar. It was made by a jeweler and is a one of a kind design. Is is basically our wedding ring.I also wear this other ring on my shutter finger [the right index finger]. I only wear it when I shoot. It reminds me that every time I take a photo I want to be king in terms of what I am doing. It is also a reminder to stay on top of the game.
What did You think of Karl-Edwin Guerre, his style & thoughts? Let us know in the comments!
Also, make sure to checkout www.guerreisms.com