Dan Jones, writer, editor and menswear maverick, talks to StyleTails about the poo-related perils of espadrilles, canine crotch attacks and why Londoners are the best dressers in the world.
“Hapers Bazaar doesn’t do ‘poo’,” Dan Jones recalls of the exact moment his relationship ended with the Australian edition of the posh glossy. “I was at a loss for something to say about espadrilles, apart from predicting that the trend would only last as long as it took for someone to step in a dog turd in an £800 pair of rope-soled Celine’s.”
Thankfully, the incident earlier in his career didn’t cause too much of a stink (sorry), and Dan went on to talk trends as Shopping and Style Editor of Time Out, Senior Menswear Editor at online retail giant Asos.com and eventually going freelance (so he could work from his bed) last year.
When he’s not weaving his sartorial magic with the likes of Topman, Conde Nast Digital and Swatch, he’s lecturing at London College of Fashion and chasing his new Border Terrier pup, Gary around London.
How did you get your start in fashion?
I started out at i-D Magazine. I was the office dogsbody, ordering toilet paper (Andrex, 3-ply, white) and taking messages. You know that bit in The Devil Wears Prada when “Demarchelier’s on line three”? That was me: always cutting people off and forgetting to order the milk. Eventually I became i-D’s Shopping Editor and, on the back of that, I moved to Sydney for three years to work with brands like Ksubi and Modular Records, and titles like Russh and The Sunday Telegraph magazine.
Tell us about your blog Jonestown?
I set up Jonestown a year ago – it’s sort of an online portfolio, and sort of a conversation about London’s best bits, with a menswear bias. It’s a very personal blog in that I just feature what I’m into myself – hence the self-indulgent title. My co-collaborator Kate Barnett creates all the rad graphics.
Do you love London style? What’s so interesting about it?
Londoners are the world’s best dressers. A big claim, but it’s true. We have the best department stores, markets and weird little vintage emporiums – all underpinned by a network of classic shops that have been around for centuries. You can dress like a freak and no-one bats an eyelid. Or you can opt out and no one will think less of you. I love that fashion isn’t an untouchable luxury members’ club here: your favourite designers are more likely to be down the pub than in Mahiki.
If you could only shop in one London store for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
Liberty. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. It’s a creaky old haunted house right in the middle of the city. Arthur Lasenby Liberty designed it to feel like someone’s home – and that’s exactly how it seems when you’re walking the halls. The men’s edit is brilliant – and they allow dogs.
What exciting new discoveries have you made around town lately?
There’s a brand new Universal Works store on Berwick Street I’m looking forward to trying out – it’s a brilliant men’s brand – and it’s launching with collabs with John Smedley and Millican bags.
You’re somewhat of a menswear style maverick- what are you loving in your wardrobe right now?
My new Antipodium shirt – it’s from the Top Gear collection – giant polka dots of speedometers by artists Craig & Karl. I’ve been working with Antipodium designer Geoffrey J. Finch and his team of sassy ladies and gents for the past few years. I picked up a Norse Projects x Elka raincoat a few months ago – it’s my official dog walking coat – and I’ve just invested in a sort of spoof Acne tee for £8. It reads ACME but in the Acne font. It’s pretty juvenile.
What advice would you give the men of London (style or otherwise!)
Keep it simple, wear great sneakers, and don’t be afraid of a bit of print.
Which of your fashion choices has induced the greatest cringe in hindsight?
Haircuts. There have been some shockers. I used to twirl my hair into claggy wet-look spikes using Fudge. I thought I was a ‘90s NYC club kid (but looked like a cheese and pineapple hedgehog way past its prime).
You’re the proud new owner of Border Terrier pup Gary – what has been the most surprising part about owning a puppy?
The energy needed to keep up with him, the paranoia about getting it all wrong those first few weeks. And then, when it starts going right, how amazing it is.
How come you decided on a Border Terrier?
My mum’s friend had two Borders when I was growing up – Harris Tweed and Isla. Harris took a shine to me and I’ve loved Borders ever since. I love that they’re incredibly independent but also affectionate – and how strong their personalities are, the little hairy freaks.
How has Gary managed to embarrass you so far?
Silent farts on trains (real killers); weird liquid poos at busy bus stops, and – while explaining to a woman and her kids in the park why they couldn’t play with Gary as he was “a bit bitey at the moment” – jumping up and hanging off the crotch of my shorts by his teeth.
What is his best / worst trait?
He’s great. Really full on, really fun, and really defiant / if he could flip a finger at me he would.
QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS – GARY
You’re only a young pup – what’s been the defining moment of your short life so far?
There’ve been lots – I live fast. I saw the sea for the first time in my life the other weekend. I was like whatever.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever chewed?
A giant sheep turd while on holiday in Sussex. It was bigger than my head but I still got it all down.
What’s your off-duty style vibe?
Usually just slumped, belly out, on a Pendleton blanket, dozing, farting and generally living the life.
Chicken or Beef?
Treats or bitches?
Treats. And bitches? I think I’m going either way at the moment.
Got any party tricks?
Falling off the sofa when I’m asleep, that sort of thing.
Where are some of your favourite pooch friendly places?
I usually hang at Wiltons on Wilton Way, Pacific Social Club on Clarence Road, and I’ve been to The Windsor Castle on Lower Clapton Road a few times – I like to bark in there for absolutely no reason and make people tut.
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Zach Galifianakis. A true talent. And the physical resemblance is spot on.
What’s on your ipod?
I don’t have one, but once I trod on my owner’s iPhone and Dolly Parton’s Baby I’m Burning started to play. True story.