Here at Fulton & Roark we not only admire guys who have upped their grooming game but also those who work to create a sense of style that is unique to them. This is why we created the series “We Like Your Look,” which celebrates the guys who express themselves with fashion, grooming, and an overall great sense of style. Known for a fun and adventurous yet also sustainable style, Joseph Knowles has gained a following of nearly 10 thousand followers showcasing his unique sense of style. Based out of Vancouver, Canada you can see this awesome style that features some modern looks with great patterns but also some amazing classics.
For people that may not know you or have just found your Instagram page, how would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as being adventurous and eclectic. Simply put, I view style as a creative outlet, and as with any of my creative outlets, I like to have fun with it. There is certainly a time and a place for specific aesthetics, but in my day-to-day, I enjoy bouncing around between any number of different looks. Because of that, it’s easier to define my approach to style rather than my style itself.
You have “Sustainable Fashion” in your Instagram bio. What is this to you and how do you display it in the outfits you wear?
It’s no secret that we are facing a global climate crisis and one of the questions I see time and again is, “what can I do on a personal level to have an impact?” People assume that becoming conscious of your consumption choices means that you have to give up things that you enjoy when in reality you just have to get creative. I was introduced to the world of thrifting due to financial restraints but soon realized that it was an opportunity to reduce, reuse, and recycle, all while challenging myself creatively to produce fits with what I could find. My goal is to show that you can still have style without breaking the bank to get there. I also feel that I’m doing my (small) part to change the somewhat negative perceptions of thrifting from previous years and hopefully introduce more people to sustainable fashion.
In a lot of your pictures, I have seen you incorporate some vibrant patterns and designs in your outfits. Do you have any rules when it comes to working with different patterns or designs in clothing?
I find “rules” in fashion to be quite fascinating because there are people who are celebrated for following the rules, and conversely those that are celebrated for breaking them. Personally I don’t tend to adhere to rules all too strictly because at a certain point I believe it hinders your creativity. I think they are great as guides for beginners because that framework helps structure the pursuit of your own style, but somewhere on that journey, you will seek to break the rules with intent. That being said, I usually try and coordinate my fits to comprise mostly of either synthetic or natural fibers; rarely do I mix them in a 50/50 split. My reasoning for this is because the “feel” of an outfit is heavily defined by the textures. Synthetic fabrics have a very different feel to natural fabrics and mixing the two feels very disjointed to me. Mixing vibrant patterns and designs often results in a clash, but by staying consistent with the type of textile you bring some unifying element back into the outfit.
If you have no idea what to wear for something, is there an outfit or piece that you can always turn to for an excellent look?
When I’m struggling to decide what to wear, I always turn to the basics. Now “basics” will vary depending on your own personal style, but for me that typically means a light jacket or crew neck sweater, a pair of jeans, and my trusty chucks (converse). The only caveat with this is that basics only work if they fit properly. The fit of the clothing will always be the most influential component of how you look. Color, texture, fabric type, silhouettes, and drapes will always take a back seat to fit for me because the fit is how you convey intent. If everything fits properly then the rest of those categories will look intentional, whether you meant them to or not.
Who are the people that have inspired your views on fashion and style?
I credit my parents with the initial spark that launched me into this journey of style. My dad was a very sharp dresser and was always known for pushing the limits of what was expected. I would say he gave me my curiosity when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone. My mom was actually the one dragging me to thrift stores when I was younger. She is an amazing woman and while I wouldn’t say she inspired my style directly, I credit her with creating the man that I am today, which allows me to pursue the stylistic choices I do with confidence.
Once I started paying attention to what others were doing, I took quite the liking to Dan Trepanier and Nick Wooster. Both Trepanier and I grew up playing basketball and the way he incorporated athletic wear into more polished styles was helpful in making the transition from an athlete who lived in socks and sandals to someone who put a bit more thought into how I presented to the world around me.
Wooster came in a little bit later and I connected with him over our obsession with military wear. He was taking traditional menswear and adding his own flair, an edge if you will, that made his looks very uniquely his own. It was Wooster that showed me how style can be a communication tool without the need to ever open your mouth.
Do you have any advice to give to men that are interested in fashion and want to take their style seriously?
My advice for guys looking to take their style seriously would be to not take it seriously. Counterintuitive I know, but we already have so many aspects of our lives that we need to take seriously that it would be a shame to add to that list. I want to be clear, there is a difference between being intentional and being serious. You can put some thought into what you wear, but I think, when the occasion allows, you should have fun with your style. Take risks, it is the only way you will grow, and don’t be afraid to fail, because, at the end of the day, they’re just clothes. You’re going to take them off and do it all again tomorrow.