'Four-Pins' Editor-in-Chief Lawrence Schlossman Talks Menswear

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A few years ago an anonymously-run Tumblr with an unprintable name changed the way we talk about clothing, and a lot else besides. At irregular intervals, and seemingly according to whim more than deadline frenzy, F*** Yeah Menswear would post a hip-hop-inflected ode to the subject of a street style photo—instantly minting word-memes, just as did the songs it mimicked (“crispy,” “Steezus,” et al.)—and offices across fashion-land would halt as editors eagerly read these mysterious musings about themselves and their colleagues. FYM was so guerrilla, so impassioned, so unabashedly insider-y and self-aware, like millennial madlibs, that it made writing any other way seemed old-fashioned, a front. When he was outed as a co-creator of the site, just before the release of FYM the book, Lawrence Schlossman was 24, and no dark horse (At least not to me: I sat two feet away from him in an office where we worked together). He was already the vocal point in the convergence of hip hop and men’s fashion and his two other blogs, Sartorially Inclined, and How To Talk To Girls At Parties, were recognized as the vanguard in a new generation of menswear sites. Now Schlossman is the editor in chief of the magazine Four Pins and every bit the kind of street style star he came up idolizing. As the dust was settling on fashion week in New York, we caught up with Schlossman to talk about his tastes, his career arc, and the state of menswear.

You are a great enthusiast. Your passion, when calling something out, be it a garment, a song, a store or whatever, is clear and powerful. People respond to it. What is it, that thing, that trigger that you are looking for, responding to—whether good or bad?

Regardless of whether it is positive or negative, everything feels super personal to me. Being lucky enough to have pretty good jobs, I’ve been able to see a lot of sides of the industry and meet people who I really respect and get to see how they work. And I refuse to forget the genesis of all this. I am a superfan. As someone who came up speaking their mind and taking things personal, when I see something bad I’m personally offended. On a positive side, when I see something I dig and have the same feelings of awe, amazement that brought me to this point, I have to call it out. I think it’s easy for people to get jaded. It is still kinda fresh for me. I’m still young and I hope that enthusiasm is something I never lose. It’s my best asset.

You know that you are the establishment now. You are one of Tommy’s muses. So when are you gonna drop the whole not-giving-a-f*** attitude and start resting on your laurels?

Yeah, right? I mean, what’s the line between I-don’t-give-a-f*** and I-give-so-many? That’s the line. I try to stay in there and I don’t look at things in a binary way. Of course there are all the extreme reactions to things on twitter. But to find the middle ground is important. There is a gray area. If you’re so extreme you become the boy who cried dub-monks. Sometimes I feel like the establishment and sometimes I don’t. That little chip on my shoulder keep me going, like, ‘yo, you need to take this very seriously. You’re not there. You gotta keep that desire.’

Um, were you wearing Birkenstocks during fashion week?

I absolutely was. They are mad comfortable. If you are walking a ton, which I was, why wouldn’t you wear something so comfy? I kinda love them. They are objectively bad looking which to me is the appeal.

You seem to be getting more adventurous in your gear but remain pretty traditional in your eyewear choices—dark, square, acetate frame. Tell me there was lots of trial and error involved in coming to this? Like, can I find a pic of you in white frames or aviators somewhere?

You're never going to find a pic of me sporting bro shades because even back when maybe the rest of my wardrobe was lacking, I always knew that a classic, wayfarer frame was the way to go. No matter how ugly your grill, that shape is going to work for you and make you look roughly a thousand times cooler than you could ever hope to be.

We have to talk about rappers on the runways. This mesh of music and and fashion is obviously nothing new but of late the two have become particularly tight. I feel like you, with HTTGAP, FYMW and 4 Pins have been out ahead of it. Can you give me a little state of the union?

It’s a great thing—Pusha T walking in the Mark McNairy show; Killa Cam sitting front row. The mixing and matching of different elements of pop culture—fashion, movies, music... I think it’s fantastic. There are a lot of superfans out there, but at the same time, just because you are a superfan of one discipline, doesn’t mean you aren’t attentive to another. For me it was fashion and menswear but there was always hip hop in my heart. These points of convergence are what people get really stoked on and I get it because I am one of those superfans.

Where does this union of menswear and hip-hop go from here?

Right now we’re at a tipping point. These worlds are colliding at top speed. My hope—to be glass half full—is that we’re gonna see great art and product come out of it. How many times can these atoms collide before something great comes out it? I see myself more as a critic than a creator, but I wanna see the creators in various disciplines make something great. I hope the synergy creates more things to get excited about.

I kind of can’t believe what you've been up to and accomplished at your age, but, where do you go from here?

I’m not sure. After doing PR at a small company, working with McNairy and [Capsule], and doing social media on a bigger scale with Park & Bond and GiltMan, and now running the editorial side of things at 4Pins, I’ve seen different segments. But I really like the idea of being an editor. I like controlling the trajectory and voice of a magazine. I love that platform. I’d like to stay on the edit side. There are other things to get to—on-camera stuff, podcasts... I don’t really know.

- Interview by Christopher Wallace

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