BreakingModern — In 2008, StreetEtiquette.com started out as another way for two men, Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs, to blog about fashion. They never expected their designs and photography to get so much recognition from creative agencies, let alone attract a large social following. But they did, and now Street Etiquette stands for clothing and a lifestyle, mixing streetwear and high fashion into one super-cool brand.
We caught up with Street Etiquette to hear about how they got started, what their role has been like in Creatography with HTC and what style means to them. Check out what Street Etiquette has to say in the Q&A below.
Video — Creatography | Street Etiquette: Style Curators
BreakingModern: If you had a tagline, what would it be?
Street Etiquette: We just say, Tell a story through style.
BMod: What is Street Etiquette, and how did it come together?
Street Etiquette: Well, we started back in 2008. Me and Travis met in high school, but a couple years later started Street Etiquette. At that time it was strictly a style blog, something to reference our outfits with. But because we did see outfits in our style on the Internet, we kind of just did it ourselves. So we weren’t trained in photography or writing or styling or anything that had to do with fashion. Travis was in school for business and I was in school for medicine but something really intrigued us about style and art and creativity. The beginning was the genesis of it all — to document our clothes in the sense of dissecting [the] clothes. We would write about different clothing. For example, tweed pants or just tweed in general and talk about the history of it back in the day and where we are today in a kind of modern way so we got popular from articles like that on our website. Eventually, we had to monetize things. We wanted to stay away from advertising, so we just turned into a creative agency … not by choice … more companies hitting us up [and] things like that. First it was like “We want you to style something or we want you to do this or we want you [to] product design something.” All right, we thought, we might as well provide these services to other people as a way to monetize, but still devote time to do what we love. Street Etiquette started as a stop blog but kind of evolved to a creative agency, but also [as] a cultural hub and cultural reference.
BMod: Has your inspiration differed from when you started Street Etiquette?
Street Etiquette: Not really. There’s a lot more truth to play with, and social media is a big driving force behind that. A lot of the influences and inspirations have stayed the same, which is referencing back into history and family. And New York City is a big part of what we are inspired by, just because it’s the apple center and has so many walks of life. New York City is always the inspiration that’s ecstatic in our lives, and we try to use that same lens to see the rest of the world.
BMod: What styles would be part of your autobiography?
Street Etiquette: My style is kind of like … a novel I would say. I think [of it] as having many layers and chapters to it. Style is really something intimate. Fashion is what we see in magazines in the runway, but style is much more intimate, much [more] day-to-day and fashion week is its own little house [over] there. Style takes a lot of substance and thinking and really, it’s part of you. You naturally have it but you have to enhance it, hone that vision you have stylistically. It would be like a novel if it had to be a book or some type of biography. Also, my style is a combination of so many things that I am inspired stylistically so there’s prep, lvad, rocker skinhead or athletic fitness. Everything that is put together [is] dandy.
BMod: What would you say are some style must haves? Would you like to share some tips with BreakingModern?
Street Etiquette: Just a white Oxford, a simple white Oxford button up shirt will take you so far in life, whether you’re like chilling on a Saturday morning or have a meeting. You can always dress that up and dress that down and still feel comfortable depending on the fabric. But I would say that for sure. And some nice fitted jeans that you can always wear. Something simple and basic, you don’t have to do too much. It’s not like you’re going to Milan fashion week or anything. Stay comfortable but at the same time looking cool.
BMod: You mix street style with high fashion. Do you ever find it challenging to mix those two areas together?
Street Etiquette: Not really because the only challenge is the sense that people haven’t seen it before, but now it’s such a common medium to express yourself stylistically … A couple years back people didn’t mix the two worlds. You needed super high fashion or street wear or whatever the case is. So we started trading the two worlds. I want to wear a pretty little thing but I don’t want to wear a tweed jacket. I want to wear some type of hoodie or whatever the case is. Mixing up the two worlds is really interesting. We can wear that with jeans or ripped up jeans. It just really mixes a lot of different aesthetics and try to make them work together.
BMod: If there’s one message you can share with your audience about style and inspiration, what would it be?
Street Etiquette: If there’s one message I could say to someone about style and inspiration is I feel like no matter where you’re at in your path just start. I feel like a lot of people wait for, like, I want to wait to have this amount of clothes or this amount of money or this amount or type of value or knowledge. I think that wherever you’re at on the journey the most important thing is starting, whether it’s finding your inspiration or finding your style. I think nobody should wait for anything. Start it right now. Just use the tools you have right now. That’s what is important because it makes it deep to your story.
All images: Street Etiquette