Welcome to the first edition of ShopTalk. Every couple of weeks we will be talking to a different personality and finding out what makes them tick, what their personal style encompasses and where they love to shop.
For our first instalment I had the pleasure of sitting down with singer/songwriter Gavin Slate who answered a couple of questions for us over coffee. He aslo gave StyleDemocracy exclusive access to his new music video. Watch the video, read the interview and let us know what you think.
GM: Who is Gavin Slate?
GS: Gavin Slate is a musician and singer/ songwriter. I have been playing music for my entire life. Probably the biggest part of me is the music side of things. I more recently got into the singer songwriter game, writing for other artists, going down to Nashville, I just like the arts in general and I think fashion and music, really go hand in hand in a lot of ways. I found myself in the fashion industry working for a couple brands and that sort of stuff. Also, just being well versed in the arts community, that is who Gavin slate is, covering a little bit of everything when it comes to the arts.
GM: How would you define your style?
GS: I would say I have been wearing the same things for a long time. Even since the high school days, I was that kid, who people would say “why the f*** is that guy wearing skinny jeans” I was always that kid, wearing more fitted clothing. What I always tell people is “It’s not really important, what you are wearing or what your style is, but the most important thing I find, in any style is that the fit has to be right” so to define a style I find that, if something isn’t tailored properly, or something isn’t fitting properly that can really throw someone off the style they are going for.
…I like to draw from a little bit of everything, whether it be vintage, modern, name brands. I just try to get a style that encompasses a little bit of everything. For example, I bought these frames (pulls out a beautiful pair of vintage sunglasses) vintage off of Ebay from Egypt actually, they are the brand “Dunhill” and I actually got new modern lenses in them, I like to do that sort of stuff, when it comes to my style, mix up vintage with modern.
GM: You go to Nashville, you go on tour, what are your go to [clothing] pieces? What do you take on trips?
GS: I think for tour you always have to have a hat, because you can never guarantee that you are going to have a shower in the morning, so, always have a hat kicking around. I would say a lot of t shirts, definitely a couple of hoodies. You don’t want to bring a nice dress shirt, most of the time on tour, because basically, you’re putting all your stuff in a backpack at the end of the night.
GM: Your EP is called Life as a Salesman?
GM: How would you say that being a salesman in the fashion industry has helped you with your music can you explain that?
GS: I’d say it was certainly a big part in naming the ‘Life as a Salesman EP’. I was working in sales at the time and I am still working in sales the fashion industry with the brand “Laurentian Chief“. I was in the midst of selling my music and in the midst of working for this brand of shoes and it was one of those things that kinda made sense.
GM: So you gotta be one of the only people out there selling music while at the same time repping a clothing label do you find that these processes overlap?
GS: Totally!!!, there is an element of overlap in the two. I was able to play shows in different cities every night while spending my days meeting with stores and such. When you’re on the road as a touring musician there’s often a lot of time in the days to get things done. So sales was really just something that made sense. Ultimately, at the end of the day, you’ve got to really love the brand you are selling for and I certainly do with “Laurentian chief” it is just a really good quality brand.
GM: It seems like every company from converse to Louis Vuitton are starting to do some sort of music collaboration. What are your thoughts on that? It is important to use that collaboration with fashion and music?
GS: You really have to look at who is wearing your brand, and so for converse, for vans, you get a lot of musicians that are wearing those brands. They are accessible and affordable brands that cater to the ‘broke ass musician’, if you will. It’s important to have people who have clout, whether it be in the music industry or fashion industry or blogging industry. It is also important that those people with clout and influence are supporting your brand, because you don’t want some guy on the street to get a sponsorship from converse, if he’s not going to do anything with it. It is like those go getters , those people who are hustling, people who are out and about. Those are the ones who will really impact the brand itself and direct it in the right way.
GM: When you’re in the city where do you like to shop in Toronto?
GS: I think the Queen West strip is pretty sweet, I have been to most of the east coast, United States, and besides New York, there is really no other city that encompasses such a great shopping scene as Toronto does. I am a big fan of Kensington as well, they’ve got some really great shops in there and also, there is a really cool hat store on Avenue Road called the “hatter” that is where I go to spoil myself, If you want one of those authentic vintage fedoras, that’s the spot. I also have to say that I’m a fan of 69 Vintage and Dutil Denim.
GM: So what is next for Gavin?
GS: I am actually right now in the mist of releasing, what may or may not the very last video from the [Life as a Salesman] EP for a song called “stranger in the dark”. I am [also] working with some of my friends out in Hamilton on a new record so that should be coming out in the next little bit… we are not really sure how we are going to release that one [record] yet, so there is a few ideas that we have. It might be coming out as singles or might be coming out as a full EP. We’ve also got a cool opportunity coming up in August as well, we’re going to be opening up for The Guess Who!
GM: Tell me about that, I saw that online.
GS: It was just one those of things that we were really just in the right place at the right time. The festival that’s putting this thing on, was looking for a main stage opener, and our music got passed along to them, and they really liked what they heard. They didn’t tell us who we were opening up for initially, but about 2 weeks ago, they told us “you’re going to open up for the Guess Who”. We were stoked!