The past couple of years have seen menswear designers take on American classics and remake them with a more loosened-up attitude by creating clothes that are both casual and urban yet sophisticated thanks to the “athletic” approach of their collections.
North Dakota-born and Seattle-raised designer Martin Keehn is no stranger to this movement. He started his career producing clothing for photographer David LaChapelle’s photo shoots – YES! The David LaChapelle #obsessed – Then, in 1994, he was asked to produce a swimsuit for actress Patricia Arquette for the cover of Details Magazine and consequently his first consulting and celebrity styling company, Wearmart, was born. His incredible construction skills were beginning to get him noticed. Finally, back in 2010, Martin decided to merge Wearmart into what is now his namesake label, MARTIN KEEHN.
At 27 ½ Essex Street on the Lower East Side there’s Martin Keehn’s store/studio where you’ll find a very well curated, ready-to-wear-downtownish collection. As soon as I walked into the store I was captivated by the vintage vibe of his clothes! – In case you haven’t noticed I have a slight fascination with the “60’s & 70’s pornstar look: mustache, denim short shorts, high socks, white shirt and sneakers minus the boner, of course! LOL – and Martin Keehn’s SS2014 totally boosts this fascination: mesh and leather tank tops, colorful short shorts, sweatpants, sweatshirts and even gym bags…
Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to try his clothes on! Obviously I created a 60’s porn inspired “pictorial” (duh!) with the help of my good friend Phil Shaw, to go along with a candid interview I had with Martin when I visited his studio. Read along…
What inspires Martin Keehn? The 80’s, the clothes rich kids had and I couldn’t have and I still want those clothes, your grandpa or a gym teacher trying to look young.
What’s the concept behind your SS14 collection? Finding one person’s clothing on a thrift store, when I find a cool pajama, some great Bermuda shorts, and you can tell it’s from the same guy and I like him. It’s like if Good Will Hunting’s Robin Williams character went to Jamaica…
Describe Martin Keehn in three words. Modern, weird and familiar.
What is your most favorite and least favorite part of being a designer? My favorite part is definitely creating stuff… My least favorite part would be fear of what other people might think of my clothes. – Aw! And here I thought I was the only one feeling that way.
Who are some of your fashion/style icons? I go through moods, and it changes at times. At the moment, I can think of Gene Kelly and David Hockney.
Is there a celebrity you would love to see wearing your designs? I would like to see Crispin Glover and also Ryan Gosling wearing my clothes. I admire them.
I follow you on IG and you post a lot of ‘footwear” do you have a shoe fetish? Oh, do I? No, I don’t… Sometimes I just think it’s an extraordinary thing you know, or maybe it’s so ordinary I think it’s terrific.
What do you like to do in your free time? I like watching TV. I’m addicted to HGTV! – Me too! I love the reveal “Omg, the house!” The Amazing Race, Big Brother I really like “trash TV” however, I don’t like when families are involved, I don’t watch the Kardashians, that’s too much! – Agreed; they’re too much even for me.
If you were a film, what would it be? Dramedy.
What do you like the most about living in New York City? The accessibility to the best people, you never know whom you’re going to meet. – Thru that!
A guilty pleasure you can’t seem to quit. Snacking on watermelon late at night.
Does my pictorial make more sense now? I think it does… All of Martin Keehn’s pieces are currently available at his store… Stop by and check out the entire collection. /// Martin Keehn, 27 ½ Essex St. New York, New York. /// Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @martin_keehn
Not your typical menswear blogger