Last week, we caught up with Gordon Millar, founder of the Scot Street Style movement to talk about his style influences and all about the launch of his first book. Gordon is an exceptionally interesting chap, his day job sees him working as a nurse but he has also toured the globe with the Dalai Lama doing social media. In fact, its with social media, especially the use of Instagram that he’s been able to unify an entire country’s style, that country being his own: Scotland. A deeply spiritual man, with passion and conviction, we delve a little deeper in to his psyche and learn all about the beginnings of his new book, which comes out January 31st.
Scotland Re:Designed: When did you start Scot Street Style?
Gordon Millar: Scot Street Style started in April, 2013, when I was in New York City. I was over there with a friend who designed World Peace Tartan and we were promoting the tartan at various events in the city. My girlfriend and I were wearing World Peace Tartan, I had the trousers on and she had a scarf and this lovely older gentleman stopped us to take a photo. I thought he was a tourist, then we discovered he was Bill Cunningham; street style legend. I didn’t know who he was and that photo appeared in the New York Times the following Sunday so, it was really an extraordinary set of circumstances.
So many good things happened that we thought ‘we really have to do something here‘ so when we came back to Scotland, there were a few things happening; Instagram had just started, there was sort of a beard phenomenon just beginning and everything kind of tied together perfectly, it was like the perfect storm. When we started Scot Street Style we had a huge response back, which was wonderful. And I think also in Scotland, it’s really to sort of break free from many negative stereotypes and encourage the creatives in this land to express themselves. So we can do it through social media, that’s how the whole thing started!
SR:D: You recently reached your target of £7,000 on Kickstarter to launch your book – what was your reaction to reaching it? Were you expecting such a positive response?
GM: Honestly, no. Most people have smart phones or tablets now; it’s the way people communicate in the world, social media is massive and gives us autonomy but theres something transient about it as well; we flick through our screens and double tap on various images that we like, but there’s something timeless about a book.
I was approached by a niche publishing company called Tiger Forest who had an idea, and the idea kind of evolved. We have events called ‘gatherings’ and we’ve got some beautiful photographs documenting these events but then the idea of an Annual emerged and we thought why don’t we document something a bit wider in Scotland and why don’t we do it every year? I only just launched Scot Street Style as a business, so the backing to fund it wasn’t there, so we opened it up as a crowd sourced project and welcomed people to contribute, so everyone gets something back. It took a few days to get going but by week two it accelerated.
We actually got over £8,400 which was above and beyond, it was an incredible feeling, but it was also kind of a validation and you know, people might think its superficial; style and fashion but its actually about being a human being and what you can achieve in your life. I’m going to be 45 soon and my message is your best years lie ahead and if you can dream it you can do it and this dream has turned into a reality and we launch this beautiful book next week.
SR:D : Who are your style icons?
GM: I guess I just want to celebrate individuality. There is a difference between fashion and style; fashion is wonderful but style is more about individual self expression and that’s what we want to encourage. I have to say that as a new person, in my forties, to fashion and style world I actually felt intimidated as an outsider, when I had my cagoule and my dad jeans and I thought, oh wow everyone looks so cool and amazing.
Somebody in particular is Jonathan Daniel Pryce, the photographer Garcon Jon, who I met in New York and again, this sort of perfect storm of things coming together, I met him there as he launched his 100 Beards book at the same time. I’ve had a beard for 20 years and suddenly it became fashionable, so we’ve also witnessed a renaissance from a guys point of view.
My influences in Scotland and people I admire hugely are Judy R Clark; the military jacket…Judy doesn’t do menswear but she does the most beautiful jackets I have ever seen. From the menswear side in Scotland, I would have to mention Alan Moore, of Ten30, he is a brilliant guy and he has given me more confidence in expressing myself; he just knows what guys will wear and he makes fashion accessible.
SR:D: So what is your favourite piece in your wardrobe?
GM: This jacket, from Armstrongs Vintage in Edinburgh, has had an incredible impact. This time last year, we were organising the second gathering and Scot Street Style was just starting out and a lot of people were coming to a venue in Glasgow, the Hillhead Bookclub, and I had again, the cagoule and dad jeans, and I thought ‘I need to get a jacket’, so I like military stuff, so I went in and my criteria was ‘anything I can fit in to’ and this fitted…(laughs) But the reaction was, especially in Glasgow, people stopping me (Glasgow accent) “Awrite, I like yer jaiket” and now, people think it’s a ‘thing’ but it was a total accident…because it fits! I love this jacket, and people associate this jacket with the positivity of Scot Street Style, which is only a good thing. But apart from that, I keep it simple, black Dr Martens boots, black skinny jeans, black t-shirt.
SR:D: So, the launch is next week, how can people attend?
GM: Its open to everyone, as part of #TG6 in collaboration with Location Scotland; its on Saturday 31st of January, at 7pm, in the awesome SWG3; head for the 2nd floor design studio. We’re holding the book launch with Tiger Forest, our publishers who also own the Brotique shop in Edinburgh. There will be a DJ, there will be one of Scotland’s best photographers, Simon Murphy, who actually, just for a wee back story, we were in Inverness with the Dalai Lama, and someone took a photograph of him which went on the front cover of the Big Issue, and that copy sold 1 million copies around the world and it was Simon Murphy who took the picture! He will be setting up a mini studio and will be taking snaps throughout the night! After 10pm, we will be going down to the Poetry Club for a bit of social networking and absolutely everyone is welcome!
No RSVP, no tickets, just turn up on the night: its free!
To get your copy of the Scot Street Style annual at a discounted price – order before Saturday by clicking HERE!
See you all on Saturday for the launch!