ISTO. London Series: Benedict Browne - Journalist & Stylist
First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself; where you're based, why you chose to work in the fashion industry and what excites you about it?
I’m a menswear journalist and stylist based in north west London. I originally wanted to work in the art world and had big aspirations of being a world-famous art dealer. Whilst studying towards that dream at university, I quickly discovered that it wasn’t for me and I dropped out to pursue a career in fashion as I’d always loved clothes and wasn’t interested in anything else. In terms of what excites me about the industry, I guess I’d have to say stories – learning about a brand, specifically old ones, or about a cultural moment that inspired a movement within clothing I find fascinating. In addition, I love working closely with brands on special projects – and this one I helped produce is right up there with the best. You can’t beat working with good people and working with ISTO was a real treat!
How have you been getting on with your ISTO. pieces since our shoot? Have you taken them on holiday or been wearing them almost daily? Tell us what you've been up to with them.
I’ve sadly not been on holiday this summer (insert crying emoji), but I’m a London boy at heart and there’s nowhere I’d rather be in the summer than at home. Thankfully, we’ve had a great summer on the weather front and I’ve been able to wear denim jeans and shirts often at the pub or chilling with my friends in the park.
Is there one piece you've particularly enjoyed more than the rest and how are some ways in which you've incorporated it into your existing wardrobe?
It’s a toss-up between the faded black jeans (I’ve never owned a pair) and the white/blue camp collar seersucker shirt, which is a classic for me. The black jeans I’ve been running around in – they’re so easy to wear and I just chuck on a white or black T-shirt with them and I’m good to go. The seersucker shirt has been fun to play around with, though. On the rare days I’m in a suit, it’s been keeping me cool. I love the combination of soft tailoring with the sharp angles of a camp collar shirt – a timeless look in my book.
Can you tell me about the items you brought to the shoot? Why did you choose to bring them and what do they mean to you?
In all honesty, I didn’t bring as much as I should have as I was pulling the strings in getting the shoot over the line. But, I did bring with me a couple of pieces; my watch, a steel Rolex Datejust that I was given as a gift when I turned 21. I’m very aware of how incredibly a generous gift it was and so I’m incredibly grateful that I get to wear something so amazing on my wrist. The other item is a simple silver chain that I’ve taken off less than 10 times in the last 10 years – no exaggeration. It was a gift from my mother and it’s my most cherished possession.
What advice do you have for someone who's wanting to build a more sustainable wardrobe? Where do they start?
Get the basics locked down and invest in high-quality ones. You don’t need much in the way of clothing to have a sustainable wardrobe – if you can wear something for three of the four seasons, and wear it year after year, then that’s a good choice.
What ensures that a product – be it a garment or an accessory – ages well?
High quality ingredients and good care.
How important is brand transparency in this day and age?
It’s crucial and it should be the norm. It’s great to see that it’s heading that way, but we need to do more as consumers and demand the brands we buy our clothing from to be more transparent.
What are your major gripes with the fashion industry today and how can we go about fixing them as individuals?
Rancid fast fashion brands – I won’t name names, but we all know the main culprits. We need to boycott them and if our friends or family members are wearing clothing from those brands, for instance, make them aware of it. Be stern and frank about it.
What do style and dressing well mean to you?
For me, dressing well is like a modern form of medieval chainmail. It’s protective in a non-literal sense; you can feel unstoppable when you are dressed in such a way that it makes you feel confident and perfect.
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