‘I’m not into fashion, I’m into style.’
Let me be so kind to introduce you to LEE STUART. Some of you might know the man, some of you probably will not. That’s the cool thing about the ‘OUNI LIKES’ category. I can introduce you to some folks, that interest and/or trigger me and have a little chat with them to find all there is to know about them.
I stumbled upon Lee while surfing a Dutch online HipHop Magazine called STATE MAGAZINE where Lee can write the very nice position of ‘editor-in-chief’ to his name. Pretty fast I found out that, besides hiphop, the man had a specific love for styling and did a pretty cool job combining both love-affairs. Look at these videos Lee Stuart styled:
(I know it’s Dutch and you probably won’t understand a word, but music is universal and so is style so please click play.)
Lee’s work is mostly behìnd scenes and cameras, but when he does comes in front, he is very easy on the eye. I mean the eye of the camera of course.
I briefly met Lee for the first time in Berlin while I was hunting for this ‘Stupid‘ story, and it was there that I had the idea to dig a little deeper into the depths of this man. I love it when people live out their passions, combine them and actually make a difference doing so. Besides, we had something in common. Fashion & HipHop, a perfect cocktail for ‘Ouni Likes’, innit? So, I finally met up with Lee Stuart in Amsterdam the day after this story, and brought back this little Q&A.
(You can thank me later like Drake.)
LEE, introduce yourself to my loyal readers.
Hello, my name is Lee Stuart, I’m editor-in-chief for an online hiphop magazine called STATE MAGAZINE. Besides that, I’m also a stylist, and once in a while I organise/host a party here and there. That’s it basically.
Explain me how a stylist turns out to be editor-in-chief of a HipHop Magazine?
Well, this is how it went down:
I was doing the styling for a bunch of Dutch hiphop artists and while doing that, I met the boss of the record label of those same artists, who also had a hiphop magazine. We stayed in touch. I was very much occupied with music at that time and from time to time, I sent him some new music, so when there was a job opening at the magazine, he thought that I might be the right person for that job, since music was and still is a part of my life. It might sound strange, but to me, the love for hiphop blends together with the love for fashion. For me, one is attached to the other.
What is your main task at State? Are you also active as a writer?
I don’t really write the pieces. My job is restricted to organising interviews with the right journalists, setting up meetings with photographers, communicating the main direction of the magazine, keeping a straight focus on what’s important and what is not. A lot of logistics of course, final editing, final selection of the pictures, etc. Different small tasks that take a lot of time if you want to do it well and that results in a finished magazine.
Do you consider yourself more a stylist or more an editor-in-chief?
To me personally, those are two different sides of me. I’m not one or the other. I’m both. But right now, at this moment, I consider myself mainly an editor-in-chief. I used to combine the stylings, the parties, the DJ-gigs ànd the magazine but I decided that, for now, it’s better to focus on one thing, and try to be great at it.
How do you see the link between fashion and hiphop?
I think I can state that it (hiphop fashion) has become more grown-up than it used to be. Because it evolved in something much more mainstream over the years, so it makes the original tastemakers reach out and search for something else. For me, the link between both is almost written on me. Remixing and sampling are two very important factors in hiphop, and I grew up with hiphop, so it feels natural that I incorporate that in everything I do, so also when it comes to styling and fashion.
How would you define your personal style?
My biggest style inspirations come from old men, tourists and ‘clochards’ (street-bums). Oh, and filthy rich people! I’m none of those inspirations, although I secretly wish to be filthy rich one day. But yeah, those different elements I morph all in one specific style that is my own I guess. Oh, and add some preppy-ish to it as well!
You have some pretty good experience in video stylings, If you had the opportunity to style one international artist, who would you like to style a video for? And you can choose only one.
Just one? Damn. That’s such a difficult choice. Well…maybe…then…hmm..well…I would say…Roisin Murphy…but hold on…yeah she already has that very outspoken style, so maybe I should choose somebody else…
Who do you think could use some styling?
Honestly, I really think Kanye West could use some styling. I mean, it just feels so unnatural the way he is dressed sometimes. He got plenty of cool items, but he does not have style. On the other hand. I’m a huge Jay-Z fan, so don’t get me wrong here, but sometimes I look at him and I think: Not everything hàs to be in the same colour you know…
What are you listening to at the moment?
Right now, I’m listening to a couple of (unreleased at the time) albums from Dutch artists. Willem from the Oppossites, Murda Turk. Besides that I’m always into some Radiohead, Dolly Parton, Gil Scott-Heron, Sebastien Tellier, and I listen to all Jay-Z his stuff, still a lòt. Huge Jay-Z fan.
Which Dutch hip-hop artist does the Belgian audience need to listen to.
Definitely Jiggy Dje. He is a true word-poet. He is simply the Netherlands’ best rapper. And the funny thing is that he is already over rapping, and started his own label. Really listen to his music, listen to his lyrics. It’s poetry. Period.
What’s your biggest fashion crave at the moment, what do you really want to see hanging in your closest. Price is no issue.
Well, actually, I already have it in my closet. It’s my Rick Owens jacket… (sighs deep, followed by a big smile) I didn’t like it when I first saw the jacket, but the moment I put that thing on, I knew: ‘This is the shit’. I was actually shadow-boxing in the mirror while wearing the jacket, and I realised what that jacket did to me and I was like…wow. chill dude. (starts laughing) It was waaay to expensive, but I knew I was going to buy it anyway. And I did. And then I would love to own the classic black Ann Demeulemeester raw boot. Expensive as hell, but I just know I will be walking around in those shoes for the next decade.
What’s your view on the Belgian fashion scene?
Belgium is doing pretty fine in that area! I even think Belgium is doing a better job than we do in The Netherlands. You guys have designers like Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons. Amazing work!!
Final Question. 3 words that pop up in your mind when I say Belgium?
Grey. (I’m sorry but…)
Hash. Everytime I come in Belgium, especially Ghent, people want to sell me Hash. What’s that about?!
After the interview Lee was so kind to take us for a mini tour to some of Amsterdam’s best clothing stores like Patta & Precinct 5. In between shopping and small talks we also took the time to take the Polaroids you can see headlining this post.
Lee Stuart is currently working on set of a movie called RABAT with a pretty international cast of actors, amongst them French gazelle Stephane Caillard, Moroccan hero Mohammed Majd and Slimane Dazi from the critically acclaimed french movie ‘Un Phrophete’. He will release a new and improved style blog in the near future.
If you want to know more about Lee Stuart, you can follow him on Twitter. I had my doubts about writing this ‘Ouni Likes’ feature in Dutch, but then I would leave all my internationals in the dark, so I decided to write it in English after all. And who knows, Lee Stuart might become the next big thing in video stylings? Kanye, give him a call will ya?!
PS: Special thanks to Rose who provided this story with some disposable snaps. It gives things a whole different look, doesn’t it?