Fuck Yeah Menswear
Behind the Steezus: Kevin Burrows, Lawrence Schlossman, authors of Fuck Yeah Menswear: Bespoke Knowledge for the Crispy Gentleman
Fuck Yeah Menswear started as an anonymous Tumblr in October 2010 and over a series of hilarious posts, simultaneously lampooned and celebrated the nascent #menswear internet boom. By 2011 they were hugely popular, landed a book deal (#grail) and had their true identities revealed. We asked FYMW writers/creators Kevin Burrows and Lawrence Schlossman to give us a bit of a FYMW: Behind the Steezus.
Gotta say, I've been following you guys since the beginning and have laughed out loud MANY times in the course of the blog and the book.
Bless, bless, bruh bruh.
Let's start with the blog. Some of my favorites posts that made the book include "Fort of Filsons" and "Steezus Christ." For the uninitiated, what would you say are the definitive FYMW pieces/posts and why?
Those two for sure.
Also, "Requiem for a Denim Head," "There is an Idea of Me" and "Fortress of Steezehood." Those three pieces all seemed to really blow up when we first posted them. You get equals parts obsession with clothing, inner turmoil, and the joys of running one’s own menswear shop all adding up to something unstoppable.
You were anonymous for a long time. I was actually surprised you didn't get ID'd sooner than you did because it seemed like people were really itching to find out who was behind it. How important was the anonymity? Anything you miss about it?
The anonymity was interesting, but never crucial or necessary. We did love how with no one to blame, the reader had to look inwards and judge themselves, like you just said.
I feel like for the most part the tone is very "If you get this, you're being made fun of, but because it's so dialed-in you can't help but laugh at yourself." Any beef arise in the course of this thing with people feeling too clowned? How do you walk the line of poking fun while also being totally reverent of the subject matter?
Surprisingly there was never any beef. Everyone was kinda on board with it from the jump. That’s not to say when GQ’s Will Welch (a hero of ours) tweeted that it wasn’t as good as Gabe Said We’re Into Movement (one of our favorite blogs), we weren’t upset. WE CONSTANTLY SEEK THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS. Walking that line, of poking fun and reverence, regardless of how fine you perceive it, is actually pretty easy when you’re this nerdy about something. You have to really love something to death to effectively and simultaneously send it up and celebrate it like FYMW has always tried to do. I think the essence of satire, and ours in particular, lies in the intersection of those two reactions.
How do you write the "poetry/lyric" pieces? Do you use the cadence of an existing song as a road map or is straight off the dome?
A bit of both. Sometimes an idea for a piece just comes and we kind of free form around it, sometimes we are thinking of a song or rap style as we go through and hit a certain meter as the piece develops.
Outside of #menswear land, there aren't a hell of at lot of people who know who the "Woost God" is. What kind of a reaction have you been getting from regular folks?
(First off, praise be to Woost God) We’ve talked to non-#menswear friends and family that have read it and the basic responses have ranged from “I had no idea this world existed. It’s hilarious and I love it,” to “I can’t understand anything that is going on here, but I can tell this is a very important book filled with knowledge that I will keep in my bookshelf for future generations.”
Ladies are generally fans of the book across the board. If they miss a super obscure reference here or there the blow is softened by the stunning looking dude in an amazing kit on the next page. Handsomeness rules at the end of the day.
Why do you think hip hop became the dominant musical and stylistic touch point for #menswear?
It’s most certainly a generational thing. Most of #menswear’s prominent voices and fans fall within an age bracket that was raised on rap music.
Lately, it seems like we're getting into "look at that fucking hipster territory" but with #menswear as the new whipping boy. What's your take on the #menswear haters?
They’re always going to be haters. To be fair, dudes who look straight dressed by the Internet definitely deserved to get sonned every now and again, but if you’re walking around in some new Flyknits and an Isaia joint people are going to get salty. It’s an occupational hazard for those with deep pockets and, more importantly, deep knowledge.