Samuel and Stephen's Works
Subsequence is an experimental media project that discovers and disseminates topics related to crafts and culture from around the world through an alternative perspective.
The work of London based photographer, Samuel Bradley and stylist Stephen Mann has been featured since the inaugural issue as a visvim WMV fashion editorial within the pages of the magazine, which acts as the primary medium for presenting content. For each feature, the only direction given from the editorial team is that the piece aligns with the magazine's theme for that edition. The repeat editorial feature overflows with the creativity of the pair and is simply a beautifully crafted story. We always prefer to have readers enjoy our content by viewing the impactful work in our large format print publication, however we have opted to introduce some of the content here for viewing.
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Cast a Giant Shadow
visvim WMV Spring and Summer 2019
Published in Subsequence Magazine vol.1
Photographer - Samuel Bradley
Styling - Stephen Mann
Talent - Conner Rowson @ Wilhelmina
Nova Orchid @ Premier
Production - Noir Productions
Grooming - Kota Suizu
Grooming assistant - Chihiro Yamada
Retouch - StudioRM
A Discussion with Stephen Mann
Interviewer: Jeremy Kirkland(Fashion Writter based in London)
Long before I met Stephen Mann in 2016, I knew him from his blog The Non-Place, a pre-Instagram photographic repository for his latest sartorial acquisitions that he established in the early 2000s.
It wasn't uncommon to see an immaculately tailored early Prada coat one day and a pair of limited edition Nikes the next. To me, Stephen was the first person who seemed to understand and move effortlessly in both the high fashion and streetwear camps. I'd never seen anything like it, online or otherwise, but through Stephen's eyes, it made sense.
Today, that singular point of view expresses itself in his styling and creative consulting work. When I offer a compliment, Stephen is characteristically humble, deflecting praise. I think it's because, despite years of innovative work, Stephen honestly doesn't think of himself as the architect designing how other people experience clothing: He's still just a fan like the rest of us.
I sat down with Stephen to discuss his initiation into the at times bewildering landscape of fashion and how social media -- largely responsible for his professional foray into styling almost a decade ago -- continues to influence and transform the fashion industry that it seeks to capture.
JK - Let's start at the beginning. How did you get into fashion?
SM - It sounds very clichéd, but from about as early as I can remember, I've had a fascination with clothes and how they can communicate. For a long time, this was subconscious, just something running around in my head. It wasn't until my late teens that I started to understand that I could turn this into a career, and it wasn't until my early 20s that I really started to focus in on how I might apply myself in the industry and find my
JK - Many people have a different definition of what a stylist is. What's yours? And how did you become one?
SM - I don't really subscribe to there being a fixed profile of a "stylist," especially today. I think that's why I enjoy it. I like the variety of environments I'm able to collaborate within and add value to. In terms of how you become a stylist: There is the traditional way of assisting an established stylist, which I think if even only for a short time, is a very valuable starting point for anyone.
Beyond that, I feel it's more about what works for the individual and finding how you best communicate your ideas and which environments are best suited to you.
JK - What does a typical work day look like for you?
SM - I think the best part of my work is there is no typical day. I'm fortunate that I have the flexibility to set my routine most of the time, which I value a lot.
JK - What are your thoughts on fashion's growing dependence on social media in recent years?
SM - I think on the one hand, the access we have nowadays is incredible. The ease [with] which we can view and receive information and connect with individuals around the world is incredibly powerful. On the other hand, it's a concern how increasingly filtered and targeted the information we see is. More and more of what we see is what an algorithm wants us to see. As for reliance on social media, I feel it's about understanding
the tools at your disposal. If you don't, they can be dangerous.
JK - You've styled some incredible shoots. What was your favourite?
SM - I think it's hard to say my favourite as each project and team has its own emotions attached to it. The process and the collaboration are so crucial to how I react to the end product. For example, my work with photographer Jason Evans is always something I enjoy for this reason, the experience of creating the image is such a key part of the end product and my relationship with it.
JK - How do you go about choosing what designers to work with?
SM - I wouldn't say I choose. I think when a relationship makes sense, it works for both parties. If I feel I'm able to help someone achieve their vision and collaborate, then it's more often than not the right relationship for both parties.
JK - Do you have an ideal project or client you'd like to work on?
SM - I can't say I do, to be honest. I so enjoy my work with designers and helping building brands and the variety that brings. I'm excited to be collaborating with Michael+kiko+Taro on AFFIX, and this is an exciting new chapter.
JK - What sort of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a stylist?
SM - I feel like the best jobs are the ones that are made for you. Don't focus too much on what everyone around you is doing; focus on refining what you have to say.