Brent Taalur Ramsey was always something of an enigma to me. We first met years ago at Mao PR's 15 year anniversary party. While remaining in contact via Facebook, it wasn't until I ran into Taalur at the Zachary Prell presentation that we got reacquainted through our mutual love of Parisian leather bomber jackets. Writing for a variety of publications such as Harper Bazaar Malaysia, Paste Magazine, and F Word Magazine, I wanted to pick his brain about the current landscape of fashion worldwide. While comparing European and American styles, Taalur explains that Parisian style has "A little more of a creative sense, where designers do offer wearable options but something that has more of a spirit to it." One menswear line he's currently raving about is French designer Officine Générale, whose designs are wearable but traditional. They are tried and tested to the point where the designer actually tries on the garments before he debuts them on the runway.
Visiting New York City for two weeks for mens and womens fashion week, we caught up over coffee, while people watching in the East Village, one of Taalur's "favorite things to do." Coming in his signature outfit, he wore an All Saints leather jacket, which is part of his "daily uniform," black Doc Martin jeans, and a black t-shirt from American Apparel. Particularly infatuated with his tattoos, he told us, "my sleeve is all about my childhood from the South, so you'll see the blue bell on my hands, which is my family flower and then you'll see cotton because my ancestors were cotton farmers, and then there is magnolia and blackberries, an ode to the Southern vegetation with Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Raven.'" Being interviewed instead of being the interviewer for once, we got Taalur to answer 21 Questions about men's style, NYFW kit for a writer, and his favorite city, which might change by the time this article comes out for the wanderlust wonder.
Favorite men's article to date?
Black leather jacket, definitely a fate-changing for me.
Go-to men's accessory items?
My black Comme Des Garçons wallet? Other than that, I don’t wear accessories because I like to use my tattoos as accessories.
Men's current trend you love?
Men's trend you wish would go away?
Three essential items to pack before a trip?
A book (or two), my Aesop skincare routine and a puffy bomber jacket (great for wearing and sleeping on during the flight).
City you think has the best men's style?
London. The men are usually dressed very well and their hairstyles are suave.
Dream photoshoot location?
Anywhere with a good story.
Celebrity most different in your head versus in person?
I don’t know. I don’t really care much for Hollywood “celebrity” because my favorite people to follow are in the fashion business – editors, writers, and influencers. I guess a lot of bloggers and editors are built up to be these highly glamorous individuals, but for the most part they’re all quite nice and pleasant to be around.
One men's designer the public doesn't know about but should?
Hmmm, they’re usually either based in France or the U.K. Cottweiler and Officine Générale are definitely two of my favorites right now.
Understated or overstated accessories?
There’s a true grace in being understated.
Next travel destination?
Over the next year I have plans to go to Malaysia, Thailand and China. In June, I’ll return to London for more menswear coverage at London Collections: Men.
Next big splurge item you're dying to get?
My uniform of black leather jacket, black tee and black denim. Sort of boring, but it’s how I live and can focus on other things.
Most treasured item in your wardrobe?
Probably a silver and turquoise ring I received from my grandfather. It’s slightly large, but I think of him every time I wear it.
Silver or gold?
Favorite late night snack?
Nasi Lemak in Kuala Lumpur.
NYFW: What is in your bag?
Camera, computer, a book and a bottle of water. And notebooks and pens for writing down notes.
Go-to NYC hotspot?
I’ve always loved the underground/speakeasy scene in NYC. Angel’s Share, Pravda, The Tippler and Lovers of Today are some of my favorite spots.
Books or movies to unwind?
Books and movies. I love both, but I do tend to read at any free moment.
Advice you would give somebody who wants to be a writer?
Try and write every day, discover something you love and explore more of the area where you find yourself inspired. And travel. I find myself more and more as a writer with every trip I take. You will never be a good writer with a one-sided viewpoint of the world. Plus as you experience more ways of speaking, you begin to test and examine how you can manipulate the ways of writing in English.
Word to live by?
Personally, there are three sort-of mantras I’ve had in my life to stick around so long I’ve tattooed them onto my body: "Aspire," "Ora et Labora," and “Comfort in your skin is a gift.” To me, one never ceases to aspire for something greater, while Ora et Labora (“pray and work” in Latin) symbolized the amount of work and spiritual soul searching you’ll have to do to get there; however, while you’re there, or are on the way, you must always find comfort in your own skin. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Visit Brent Taalur's site for the latest updates on his writing, musing, and style reporting.
By Nisim Frank