Where are you from originally?
I am originally from a small village in Scotland called Alyth. It’s about an hour north of Edinburgh.
How did you decide to make New York your home?
I came to NYC in 2004 as I was working a lot with Details magazine and Vanity Fair. I had just recently got divorced so fancied a change of scenery.
What are your favorite places to eat / hang in NYC?
I mostly hang out on Division Street on the LES. My friend has a couple of restaurants down there and there is a real community vibe down there. I know everybody who owns the coffee shops, the restaurants and stores. It feels like home. If you ever need to track me down you’ll most likely find me at Forgetmenot on Division Street watching soccer.
What do you miss most about home?
I obviously miss my family and friends that I grew up with but I really do miss the Scottish environment and the nature. I really feel that the wind, the rain, the soil and the smells of the land are an integral part of who I am and when I am back there, I truly feel at home.
Who’s your ultimate style icon(s)? Past and/or present — and why?
I couldn’t say that I have any particular style icons but as a kid I was heavily influenced by music —The Clash, The Jam and the Stone Roses really had an effect on what I wore and movies too. I loved Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and I guess Paul Newman is the nearest I get to style icon. He was the coolest guy ever, him and Steve McQueen. They were obviously handsome guys but they had a quiet masculinity about them that I think every man would love to have a bit of.
In a career that demands so much of you creatively, how do you stay inspired?
I think you have to be curious in order to be creative and I am curious about people, their motivations and their stories. I like to project some of that into my shoots. My fashion stories are vignettes of imaginary lives. I’d love to have had the ability to write great stories but instead I make little picture ones instead.
You served 6 years in the military — can’t imagine many stylists have that as a background.
I haven’t come across any other stylists that have served. It felt pretty natural to me as I had cousins and uncles in the military and I was always obsessed with war movies as a kid. Obviously when you get in there and the full brutality of it hits you it’s not so nice but I was a kid when I joined so much more able to deal with it. I am truly glad I did it though, because it taught me a lot.
What did you learn that you’ve applied to your career?
I learnt to be organized and punctual. I am way too punctual for the fashion business, which is always running at least 15 minutes behind.
What pushed you to pursue styling?
I’d always loved imagery, even though I wasn’t fully aware of it when I was young. I had to kind of grow into it. I sometimes think I should have been a photographer but I really like how clothing can change the nature of an image. I like to make a fashion photograph authentic so the challenge for me is always to make the model, the clothes and the environment one.
You shoot around the world —what are some of your favorite locations? Why?
I love Lisbon in Portugal, it’s an amazing place, very old Europe. I always love visiting Italy —I love how the Italians approach life. It’s a wonderful lifestyle there. Paris is probably my favorite city in the world because of the history and the grandeur. Hawaii is also a pretty amazing place.
You produce a biannual magazine called ASSOCIATED —what’s the direction of it? How did you decide to start it?
Associated is a magazine that was born out of my love for football (soccer) and street style. I wanted to do a soccer magazine that had a real fashion element to it and I wanted to see if I could apply the same approach to it as I did my fashion shoots and it worked out much better than I thought to be honest. I saw the passion for soccer here in the US while watching the World Cup in New York. I was struck by the different types of people who were into it and thought maybe we could tap into that community.
Where do you go to watch futbol in the city?
I watch the games at my friend’s spot Forgetmenot. It’s a great place to watch the games as it has a real mix of people, it’s not just a football style crowd.
Who’s your team?
My team are from Scotland and they are called Glasgow Celtic. I have followed them since I was a kid and would go to the games a lot growing up. I still go to games now when I am home. I still love being part of the crowd.
What does every man need in his wardrobe?
I think for any man, if he has a worn-in pair of jeans, some solid boots, a nice tee and a workwear style jacket, he is good to go. Men’s wardrobes don’t require much more than the basics. It’s how you wear it that matters.