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From our Curators & Creators series. It features bi-weekly interviews from tastemakers and creators from menswear industry. This is an effort to get to know people behind the camera, blog, product or sewing machine better and today we are featuring Aliotsy Andrianarivo.
Hucklebury: When did you start this blog and what was the inspiration behind it?
Aliotsy A.: I started This Fits three years ago as a personal set of bookmarks about men’s style. Over time, people discovered my blog and started following me, and the site reached a point where it could no longer be just for me. Because of who I am, the content is naturally biased to people like me: brown, short, and working in technology. That’s been my focus, but it’s funny: a couple years ago I surveyed over a hundred of my readers, and none of them had picked up that, which was the focus. So it really has a wide appeal.
Hucklebury: Can you share with the readers your background?
Aliotsy A.: I live in Northern California and work in web development. I’ve got an interest in all things web–content strategy, user experience, code, marketing, and analytics. My blog has been a place where I can focus those professional interests on something I’m really interested in, and experiment in ways I don’t normally get to at my day job. It’s fun.
Hucklebury: What was your feeling to be featured in one of these well-known blog and websites.
Aliotsy A.: I’m stoked but a little befuddled. When the writer for that GQ piece emailed me, I was sure it was a joke. Even after he interviewed me over the phone, I thought it was an elaborate prank. I think I only told one or two people about it before the piece went online.
Hucklebury: What your other hobbies?
Aliotsy A.: I like to spend time with my wife and son. I’m actively involved in my church, and through that I have opportunities to volunteer in my local community. I also enjoy going on road trips with my family.
Hucklebury: Who are your idols in the fashion industry?
Aliotsy A.: This may sound facetious, but I am very much “dressed by the Internet.” I’ve learned a lot from the guys you see popping up on blogs all the time, like the gentlemen at The Armoury, Takahiro Osaki of Liverano & Liverano, or Phat Guido of Most ExeRent, who’s the same height and general build as me.
Hucklebury: How do you keep your blog different and fresh?
Aliotsy A.: I’m trying to focus more on original content, and less on reblogging. I started a new job about a year ago, and it’s great, but it doesn’t leave me as much time as I used to have to work on This Fits. So when I do get a spare moment here or there, I prioritize writing over mindlessly reblogging other posts.
Hucklebury: Where do you want to see your blog in short and long term?
Aliotsy A.: That’s is a great question. I am planning on spending some time in the next few weeks to think more strategically about where I want to take the blog. I have no definitive answers yet.
Hucklebury: Do you have any advice for people who are following your blog in terms of fashion.
Aliotsy A.: I recommend starting slow. There is lot of noise in the menswear blogosphere, and it’s easy to be led astray. The line between what is essential and superfluous is blurred with savvy marketing or whatever happens to be “of the moment,” and that sometimes makes it hard to really understand what the foundations of a great wardrobe should be. So start with basics – dark denim, oxford cloth button downs, navy blazer. I also recommend not spending a whole lot on anything you’re trying out when you first start out. What works for you may not be the latest craze that everyone else is buying. I recently donated a pair of suede penny loafers after trying them out over the summer and realizing they weren’t right for me. I picked them up for pretty cheap, and I’m glad I did, because it would have been horrible to come to that conclusion had I dropped $400 on them instead.
So don’t be afraid to try new things, but don’t drop lot of money on any one thing until you’re sure it’s right for you.
Hucklebury: What do enjoying most about blogging?
Aliotsy A.: I like interacting with readers. My favorite part in all this is hearing back from people who say that I’ve helped them in some way. That feels good.
Hucklebury: Looking ahead to the future, what direction is menswear and menswear blogging going?
Aliotsy A.: It’s clear if you follow the media that sales of menswear are booming. Men in general are taking more interest in how to dress well, and want to make informed decisions. That bodes well for menswear blogs. I think most of that audience just wants the basics, and there are a lot of blogs that cater to that, and it’s great. I also think there’s a niche group, maybe who came out of the first group, who have a deeper interest in menswear: they want to know about the history of garments and mills and great tailoring houses, or about construction and fabric. In other words, men who geek out over this stuff. They’ve been around long before the current boom, and they’ll be around long after it’s over. I think that’s a fun group to watch.
Hucklebury: Can you tell us few things about yourself that you would like readers to know?
Aliotsy A.: Sometimes I get these comments that suggest that people think I dress with a lot of flare, but I’m a much simpler dresser – lots of navys, greys, and browns. I’m really focusing more on nailing the details of fit: how should trousers fit, how should outerwear fit, how should jackets fit. All the little nuances in that. Two or three years ago I went for variety: lots of colors and patterns. I just donated a bunch of those clothes to Goodwill. These days I like to keep it simple.
Thank you Aliotsy. We enjoyed interviewing you.