Before even knowing anything about Cameron Scott Gardner's design aesthetics, I knew that he designed the café - Saucy in Brooklyn - where I was meeting him. Learning his history while chatting over a delicious Saucy cheese plate and iced coffee, I found out his talents are of the jack-of-all-trades variety. Having worked at Tory Burch in handbag design for five years, I wondered what kind of experience it really was to work for such a high-level, high-volume brand. Having nothing but the kindest words for Burch and the design team, Gardner realized at first, having your own vision might not be as easy as it looks. "Designing for other labels in some sense is a lot easier, especially with somebody like Tory [Burch] who has a clear vision of herself and what her brand is, so when you're presented with no rules and figure out who you are, it can take time."
Gardner always knew that he wanted to do something on his own, but took the time to stay at his former job, which he says, "Was this insane amount of growth" as a designer. He needed to figure out "what's important to me and my life and the kind of product I wanted to put out there, which needed to be authentic and you." The first step, Gardner knew, was that he wanted everything made in the USA so he could directly oversee production. Second was to design for men because it’s about time he designed something for himself! Assembling a men’s handbag line, which is of only of the highest luxurious materials, "big boy bags" as we (and he) call them, Gardner's aesthetic has truly arrived.
Looking at his latest photoshoot via Instagram, we loved the sexiness of the shoot, unusual for a men’s handbag company. Gardner tells us, "The photoshoot we did was pretty sexy; I didn't want it to be the 'sexy bro on an American motorcycle.’ I wanted it to be surprising.”
As we played 21 questions with Gardner, we learned an affable and hilarious side to him, part hipster #EdgarAllenFaux, part city chic #CaptainKennedy, and probably our favorite piece of dating advice thus far.
Cameron Scott Gardner
Monikers gone by?
I was rocking Cameron Scott in college, but then I thought in my head it sounded like I was trying too hard.
Favorite place you've lived?
I would say New York City. When I was 8 years old I was in San Francisco telling my mom I was going to live in a city like this someday, and I was weirdly aware of New York City as a child for no particular reason.
Manhattan or Brooklyn?
Brooklyn the whole way; never lived in Manhattan. I was supposed to move to the Lower East Side, moving here for the Tory Burch job, and it fell through while traveling cross-country to NYC. My best friend happened to have a room in Park Slope and the rest is history!
Three songs you're currently listening to?
For sure "Hotline Bling" by Drake on repeat, “1+1” from Beyonce, and “Dreaming” by Blondie.
Gun to my head, nachos, but I'd have to say non-authentic Mexican food, lots of cheese; if you went to Mexico, they would say "such an American.”
Chocolate or vanilla?
I was in Hawaii for a month in January and I got a house on the rural side of the Big Island and it was like, "I could live here for the rest of my life.” It’s beautiful.
Typical Friday night?
If I'm doing something, I'm going out to a restaurant with friends, but in reality, I'm sitting at home doing work on my laptop in bed.
I don't think anything exists in New York that no one knows about, so I'll just go with a favorite of mine, The Eddy on 6th Street.
Movies or books?
Ugh, horrible decisions, movies I suppose -- I'm visual.
Favorite color to work with?
My actual favorite color is blue, but I do everything in black!
Silver or gold?
Leather or suede?
Oh gosh, I love both. If it’s a really good suede, then I love it!
Wardrobe essential every man should have?
As a bag designer, I would be pandering if I said a bag. As an adult, you invest in a bag that you carry even though you change your outfit everyday. It’s something that’s thoughtful and makes you look professional throughout.
Late night snack?
1 a.m. nachos, or a whole pint of pistachio ice cream.
One thing you absolutely love?
One thing you absolutely hate?
Piece of dating advice?
Oh God! Don't do it!
Words to live by?
Try everything twice.
Check out the latest collection at cameronsgardner.com and follow him on Instagram @cameron_scott_gardner and Twitter @camscottgardner
Written and Photographed by Nisim Frank