A Day In The Life: Jian DeLeon of Highsnobiety
If you’ve been following the rapidly evolving menswear scene during the last several years, then Jian DeLeon is a name that you’re probably already familiar with. His byline has appeared in premier style publications like Style.com, New York Magazine and Business of Fashion, and he has held senior editorial positions at WGSN, Complex Media and GQ.com. He’s currently the Editorial Director at Highsnobiety, one of the premier men’s lifestyle digital publications. Whenever there’s a notable fashion week happening anywhere in the world, you’ll likely catch a glimpse of him covering the well-heeled proceedings while showcasing his own unique sense of style. For the latest edition of Day In The Life, we followed the BK-based editor as he roamed through NYC donning select pieces from the O.N.S X Abasi Rosborough collection.
How long have you lived in NYC?
I’ve lived in NYC for almost ten years now.
When did you decide to pursue writing as a profession?
I never really pursued writing per se, I’ve always just been interested in great stories—reading them in books and comics and watching them on film. That went on to fuel a desire to tell great stories myself, and writing was the easiest way for me to express that.
What inspires you?
Being fortunate enough to live in New York, inspiration happens everywhere, and from anywhere. There’s this interesting dichotomy of the young and old and classic and new that applies to everything from the people to the architecture, and it’s a particular dynamic that never ceases to impress me.
How has your personal style evolved?
I believe that every great wardrobe is built on a foundation of expensive mistakes. You spend a lot on gear because you’re into it, but as you get to know yourself more and what you want to say through how you dress, your closet slowly begins to reflect that as your shopping habits become more honed.
Who are your style icons?
I don’t have any style icons, but I certainly appreciate how people dress. I never want to be the type of person who directly emulates someone else’s style, but there are ways to take a certain cue from a person’s sense of dress and reinterpret it in your own way.
How has digital media changed the way brands are discovered?
Digital media has reinvented the notion of “brand” altogether. A person or entity can be a “brand,” and consistent storytelling across different platforms helps get the brand message across. The democratization that social platforms provide has given the underserved a huge opportunity to make their voice known, and provided a way for start-up brands and young aspirants to break into multiple industries in ways that were previously inaccessible.
What excites you about men’s fashion today?
Men’s fashion is in the “choose-your-own-adventure” era where you’re free to mix and match different styles to make new statements. Sometimes that even means taking what’s ostensibly “womenswear” and wearing it in a new way. This acceptance of experimentation is inspiring a younger generation of style-conscious men and new designers to rethink about our relationship with clothes in a great way.
What are some of your favorite travel destinations?
I travel to Berlin a lot and love how certain vantage points in the city show you the architectural divide between east and west. I’m a big fan of places with a dichotomous history and love that contrast of typically European architecture with drab Soviet Union-era buildings and apartments. Tokyo is still one of my favorite places in the world, and I love how they can pack so much newness into a small space. It’s a very specialist city, where you can find stores that cater to the very best in one specific thing, like say denim, and their selection and knowledge is probably the best in the world. It shows that dedication to a craft goes a long way.
Tell us about your relationship with Abasi Rosborough, and why you think they are needed in menswear now?
I’ve known Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough for a while now, and I think their designs speak to a certain sense of futurism, but are very rooted in the modern day. People use the term “forward-thinking” a lot, but with Abasi Rosborough you can see that in the execution and product. There’s a clear intent and study of how clothes have been made and served a purpose in the past, and they are trying to evolve that in a way that speaks to aesthetic beauty that enhances everyday function.
Any big projects coming up that you can share with us?
I’m really excited about an upcoming documentary we have on the evolution of cannabis culture. As it’s getting legalized, the products and brands that have pioneered the charge are learning to speak a more elevated design language to appeal to a more lifestyle-centric consumer.
BE sure to follow Jian on IG here.