GENUINE CONVERSATION: ISAIAH JOHNSON OF A COLLECTED GENTLEMAN

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VERYDAY WE CROSS PATHS WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT. INSPIRING INDIVIDUALS WHO TAKE CHALLENGES HEAD ON AND GO THROUGH THEIR LIVES WANTING MORE. GENUINE CONVERSATION IS A SERIES THAT INTENDS TO SPOTLIGHT THESE ARTISTS, CREATORS, AND MAKERS TO REVEAL WHAT DRIVES THEM. THE AUTHENTIC AND STRAIGHTFORWARD NATURE OF THEIR IDEAS MAKE THESE INDIVIDUALS GENUINE.

 

GIVE A LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF (NAME, AGE, LOCATION, WHAT YOU DO/ YOUR BLOG/COMPANY).

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Hi, my name is Isaiah Johnson. I’m a 24 – year old freelance photographer,menswear and lifestyle blogger. I was born in New Jersey and raised in North Carolina. I have a strong passion for fashion and photography, as well as graphic design. I created the blog, A Collected Gentleman, to showcase my journey towards personal style, while at the same time helping my readers with theirs.

TELL US ABOUT A COLLECTED GENTLEMAN.

Originally, there was this dance group called Eclectic Gentlemen. The name of my blog evolved from that. It’s a style blog, but also it’s a place where I can showcase my collection of talents. I was inspired early on by other well known bloggers, such as Street Etiquette and The Style Blogger. Reading these blogs and admiring their particular style was what propelled me to create ACG. I’ve always had a sense of style that was more street/urban. To me, dressing up is art in a way and with ACG, it has allowed me to express myself and share it among others.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO BE CREATIVE?

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Just knowing that it will make me a better person. It’s so hard not to fall into the traps of being like everyone else, but you have to develop your own identity and that’s where creativity falls into place. I want to nurture my own identity – – whether it is the way I think, the pictures I take or the way I dress. The thought of looking back five years from now and seeing where I came from inspires me to be creative now.

A LOT OF YOUR CONTENT IS BASED OFF THRIFTED CLOTHING. WHY IS THAT? WHAT KIND OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE TRYING TO BUILD HIS OR HER WARDROBE THROUGH THRIFTING?

Not only is thrifting cost effective, but I knew that it would be relatable and inspiring to my audience. I think everyone should go thrifting at their local Salvation Army or smaller second-hand stores and see if it’s for them. You never know what you’ll find and it can help you with discovering garments of high quality for a fraction of the price. It also assists organizations, like The Salvation Army, in helping people of less fortunate lives. Being inspired by others bloggers in style has helped me a lot with starting what I wanted to search for. I really love the rush of never knowing what I may find and then stumbling upon something great. Best advice I can give would to be to have a list of things you’re looking for, and search for those first. When you’ve exhausted the search for those items, then start to look in sections that you might not have thought about. Lots of things get moved around; so don’t be afraid to look in the kids or women’s sections.

YOU’RE NOT ONLY VERY GOOD IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA, BUT YOU’RE ALSO VERY TALENT BEHIND IT. AS A PHOTOGRAPHER, TELL US HOW YOU GOT STARTED, WHO INSPIRES YOU AND WHAT YOUR DREAM JOB WOULD BE?

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It’s funny because I never thought I’d be a photographer. However, when I started my blog, I realized I needed a camera to take pictures of my own outfits so I bought my first camera from a pawnshop. One day I went for a walk, and just started taking pictures, and I fell in love with it. During my junior year of college one of my photos was selected to be in an exhibit and the rest is history. It was the sign that I needed to start taking photography more seriously.

I’m inspired by life in general. The way the sun makes light and shadows in your house or traveling to far away places and seeing different cultures. Interviews like this shows that hard work will eventually pay off. My dream job is what I’m doing now – blogging and freelance photography. I would love to take what I’m doing to the next level by being able to open up my own thrift shop sometime in the future.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE A COLLECTED GENTLEMAN WILL BRING YOU IN THE FUTURE?

I hope it brings me to the point where it’s seen as worldwide brand. I would also love to collaborate with big and small companies and help design products for people. The idea that ACG could help to bring consumer to my thrift shop in the future would be great. I just want to do things I love.

YOU’RE FROM THE SOUTH, BUT YOU TRAVEL FOR EVENTS/SHOWS/JOBS. WHAT IS THE MAJOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STYLE IN YOUR REGION AND OTHER PLACES? WHAT DO YOU CREDIT AS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

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My personal style is all over the place, so I consider myself a melting pot. I like to take different styles and mix them into my own. I love the fact that style allows you to express yourself. So I consider myself a canvas and the clothes I wear paint, if that makes sense. I tend to mix things, such as classical prep outfits consisting of a blazer and chinos with more urban/ streetwear shoes. I also like to wear less conservative shirts with paisley and polka dot prints.I’m pretty comfortable with experimenting and pushing myself with my style.

WHAT ARE SOME BRANDS/DESIGNERS THAT YOU’RE INTO RIGHT NOW? YOU WE’RE AT NYFW 2014. TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AND WHAT YOU LEARNED OR WHOM YOU MET.

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I enjoy a lot of brands, from J.Crew to Aime Leon Dore. I believe the world of men’s fashion and design is in a great place right now. I’m really enjoying minimalism, whether it is in design or clothing. I also love that people are just being themselves and dressing how they feel. The way you present yourself is your ultimate expression. NYFW is always great to me. I love running into some of my friends and favorite bloggers. The city always brings the best out of me. My whole mind state is different during that week. I always leave with a sense of inspiration and balance.

WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF A “GENUINE” MAN?

A “Genuine” Man is someone who doesn’t fold under the acceptance of others. He walks his own journey and leaves trails that will inspire others. He treats other people with respect and exudes confidence, but never arrogance. He has an open mind and lives his life to the fullest, regardless of the good and the bad, the ups and downs; he just takes everything with a grain of salt and continues to push forward till he meets his destination.

ANY LAST THINGS TO SAY?

Don’t do anything for the fortune or fame. Just do it because it’s something you love to do. People always say that everything is so saturated…the people who are really passionate about it will stand out. Figure out what you want to do and work on it day and night. Figure out what you want to do and enjoy every minute of it, the good and the bad.

You shouldn’t let negativity stop you. The worst thing you can do is let yourself get in the way of yourself.

Just keep pushing, work hard on your dreams and don’t give up. Enjoy your journey.

Isaiah Johnson

www.acollectedgentleman.com
www.isaiahjohnsonphotography.com

 

About The Author: StevenDElliott

Steven is the founder of Genuine Men’s Magazine. He graduated Drexel University with a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design. Along with his passion for photography and design, Steven loves helping men find new and emerging menswear brands and offer his opinions when it comes to real-life situations.