Negotiating fashion week this February? To help you sort your Haider from your Helmut, we caught up with fashion-week regular and style editor Geoff Cooper, founder of fashion agency and online magazine, Sagaboi, which explores men’s fashion and lifestyle through a diverse lens.
How did you make the leap from your bucolic Caribbean locale to become a ‘global citizen’ and fashion-week mainstay?
I grew up in a village in the south of Trinidad to a multi-ethnic family: a mishmash of African, Indian and Latino heritage. From a young age, I was exposed to a multitude of cultural observances, Easter, Eid, Diwali, Orisha – I had to do it all. And then, as a kid, a trip to New York City ignited my fashion gene. You’d find me dressing up in both mom’s and dad’s clothes, and also dressing my mom. My veering into fashion was really natural – as was getting a job at the United Nations. Later, while working for Goldman Sachs, I began attending fashion shows and writing about them for magazines – with a lot of photographers snapping me outside shows – and it just took off from there. After a stint as editor-in-chief at GCaribbean, I decided to go global with my own outlet, Sagaboi.
Fashion Week is typically spread across a city. How do you choose where to stay?
The rule of thumb is to choose the place that’s in the centre of it all, and walking distance to most shows. Now, in the age of social media, it’s imperative to find accommodation that is well lit and has surroundings fit for the perfect selfies and OOTD shots. A perfect example of this is my recent stay at Hotel National des Arts & Métiers. It’s such a sublime boutique hotel, really near the shows and with some of the best food in the city. It has the chicest, art-infused interiors to allow any content creator to capture visually arresting photos.
What are your tips for successful outfit changes in the city?
Plan every look well in advance. People sometimes assume we style editors only opine – in truth, I’m more like a fashion stylist. When planning a shoot, we call in all the clothes early, meticulously arranging every outfit according to the story, location, scene, weather, and so on. For Fashion Week you are sometimes changing more than three times a day, which calls for the same sort of pre-planning.
Show invites are famously getting stranger and stranger. What’s the weirdest you’ve had?
You tend to get the craziest invitations in womenswear, but I once got an apron from Yohji Yamamoto with all the show details printed on it. I was tempted to wear it to the show…
You so should have. What about street-style photographers? What tips do you have for being stopped by them?
Be effortlessly and undeniably stylish. Style is something everyone has: some express it profusely and some choose to offer theirs in small amounts. Irrespective of your choice, street style photographers see style from far away and if you dress in a manner that transmits confidence, you will be stopped – even if you’re not dressed in designer clothing. However, street style is a business, with photos sold to the media and magazines featuring on-trend fashion – so it helps if you are wearing something on trend, designer or not. And if it’s a hype piece from a hype brand, even better.
So, who throws the wildest Fashion Week parties?
Hands down Milan. For this past season, Dsquared2 took the crown. In London, no men’s party has topped the Moët fashion-week party from a few years back, and for women’s the title has to go to (British) Vogue. At Sagaboi, we threw our wildest party last summer with Ciroc at MNKY HSE, and we are gearing up to do something bigger in June. We’re working on a super-cool project, too, but I will only mention this word to you now, ‘Espashan’. Watch out for it!
Ooh, cryptic. So what’s the best Fashion Week hangover cure?
I tend to drink a ton of water while drinking alcohol, and then I drink even more at the end of the night, so I can honestly say I don’t get a hangover. If you are going to play hard after working hard, do it smartly. Fashion Week is fun but it’s hard work, too, and you have to be sensible. Get in, get out and get up the next day without a hitch – that’s the goal.
Thanks, Geoff. We can’t promise we’ll show the same resolve…
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