With menswear fashion week approaching in NYC, we got a chance to sit down with ‘She’s A Gent’ – AKA menswear blogger Danielle Cooper – and discussed fashion, collaborations and pushing the limits with gender boundaries in the fashion industry!
You are originally from California – tell us about the different styles and trends you have noticed on the West Coast compared to the East?
Oh, it is very different. Menswear is starting to pick up there, and I am not saying it never existed but as far as influencers you only have a handful of menswear out there. California to me is laid back; we have Vans, Covers, T-Shirts, and Beanies. You rarely see anybody in a tailored suit just walking down the street compared to in New York City.
Why did you start blogging? And apart from fashion, what other passions do you have?
I initially had first, like most people, my private Instagram account and I used to always post #ootd (outfit of the day). Eventually I noticed that there was this specific fashion platform where you can share that all. So I said “why don’t I start sharing my love for fashion?” so She’s a Gent got created. Apart from fashion my other passion would have to be basketball! I grew up playing basketball and after college I was able to go play basketball in Germany for one and a half years. So now I don’t get to play that often anymore but I am hoping to get back into it this summer, even if just for fun.
How big is your closet and what’s your favorite item in there?
I have two. I live in NYC so I need a walk-in closet – something like ‘Sex and the City’, like what Carrie and Big had, where I have my shoes lined up against the wall – I need that! So yeah, I have two closets and a storage unit for my shoes. As mentioned earlier I use to play basketball and for a long time in the basketball world Michael Jordan sneakers were very popular. I used to have over 400 pairs of sneakers.
Do you even remember all the shoes you have?
Yes I do – it’s so sad I know, but I love products so I know where everything is. I am a very organized person so I separate everything by brand and color coordinate it. For a long time I used to collect RL Polos and I used to have them in order of light to dark. It’s a nice little rainbow. I shouldn’t be admitting that I guess, but it’s true. My favorite piece is my Thom Browne Peacoat. I love Thom Browne, his aesthetic and his collections. It is old school but new at the same time and it infuses into one. I got it last Christmas but I don’t wear it that much. It is light grey with dark/ light blue plaid so I can’t wear it with everything, and with fashion sometimes it’s just about wearing it for style versus being warm – so it’s not a 20 degrees jacket. I’ll bring it out on Fashion Week though.
Are you attending any shows during fashion week and if so, how many outfits do you have planned for the week ahead?
We are – when I say we, I mean myself and ‘A dapper chick’ aka Ariam Geffrard who is also a menswear fashion blogger here in NYC. She is my partner in crime, we do a lot together. Last year I attended the Perry Ellis show and loved the colors that they worked with on the runway, so I am really excited to see what they manage to come up with this year. I am also excited to see Suitsupply. It’s a menswear brand but they dress both genders and have emerged so quickly. I think the brand that they are creating is really different and interesting. I have had four suits made by The Tailory, NYC for the shows – one a day. It’s part of Ariam and my previous collaborations that we have done for them. Their owner Shao is pushing empowering women, especially women in menswear, so we have teamed up and she has created these suits for us.
Who would you like to collaborate and work with next?
Ralph Lauren! I know there are so many other amazing brands out there but especially after the fashion show they had in 2014 in Central Park – it was just amazing! RL has been one of my favorite brands my entire life. You have Denim & Supply, Polo, Ralph, the purple label, and everything fits a different person. It has always been a fascinating brand for me. Outside from what you would say your typical ‘American brand’ would be, I would say probably John Vervatos, and I would love to work with Louis Vuitton – especially since they did the Jaden Smith collection for women – breaking the barriers again.
I am all about connections – brands have to connect not just with their consumers but what they’re doing in the grand scheme of things. I know there has been a lot of controversy behind Jaden Smith doing that collaboration and everything that he has been doing in his life but I think it is beautiful because we live in a time now where it doesn’t matter if you are a woman in menswear or a man in womenswear – it is just fashion, it is style, it is who you are and how you transition that into something else.
What exciting projects do you have coming up next?
All I can say so far is that A Dapper Chick and I are launching a new joined platform the first day of Fashion Week. We are really excited about that. Her and I are pushing this project together because two women wearing menswear is very different. We hope to be a breath of fresh air and bring something new to the game. And of course we will keep you posted once our new platform is launched!
Finally, what is the best piece of advice that you would like to pass on?
I would say, “BE”. No matter what we do in life people are always going to have some type of criticism of who you are or why you are doing it a certain way. Continue to stay true to yourself, stay as authentic as possible. A lot of people ask me how I grow so quickly and my answer is “I don’t know, but what has been past onto me from another blogger is to be consistent. So just be you and be consistent.”