Jeremy Kirkland Talks the Talk
Somewhere deep in Chinatown, past the red-fronted supermarkets, shuttered restaurants and rattling delivery trucks with faded Cantonese signs, steam rising from the roadside, shifting the Manhattan skyline into a strange mirage, we meet our friend Jeremy Kirkland at The Golden Diner — a staple in this part of town; a queue already forming as it nears 9AM.
The host of the very popular menswear (among other subjects) podcast, Blamo! — along with Mr Porter’s foray into the medium — Jeremy is an authority when it comes to discussing clothes, and the interesting people who wear them.
Finding a ‘snug’ corner booth, diner coffee is poured and pancakes, omelettes and breakfast sandwiches ordered, morning sunlight peeling in through front window.
“Where shall we start?” says Jeremy.
Drake’s: Hi Jeremy, How would you describe Blamo! to someone who’s never listened before?
Jeremy Kirkland: Now I just say it’s a podcast talking to people about clothes, which is way easier. Still, someone like Gordon Raphael will come on, who produced The Strokes and The Libertines and is very much in the music world. We spoke about music a bunch, but we also talk about clothes and style and how he relates it all to the world around him.
The benefit is that I don’t have to talk about what just happened at Paris Fashion Week, there’s an evergreen and nostalgic element to it from people who aren’t specifically known for their style, but have a really good perspective because they’re separate from the industry. Also, it’s more fun to cover all of these different subjects and for them to connect in different ways.
Drake’s: Do you think that helps to set you apart from other publications and podcasts?
JK: I hope so. We’re trying to serve an audience that loves clothes, but we’re not going to sit and agonise about every single detail. It’s a podcast about clothes, but a bit of everything else, too. Everyone has a podcast now, so how do you set yourself apart?
Drake’s: Who are the most requested guests for the show?
JK: Listeners always ask about Ralph Lauren, and Rick Owens. I’ll keep emailing them!
Drake’s: What’s the most challenging element of putting it together?
JK: I wouldn’t say it’s particularly hard, but what a lot of brands and people maybe don’t realise is that you can never stop. It’s very different to editorial, it’s a long-form conversation with someone that is very passive. People listen to me when they’re at the gym or walking outside. It’s not like a TV show, or appointment viewing. There’s a parasocial element to it all.
Drake’s: Have you always been confident in conversation?
JK: I’m the son of a pastor, so I suppose I grew up around a family that spoke clearly. But no, I haven’t always been confident. Actually, this is something I try to speak about on the podcast. I think it's important to let people know how we all suffer from - please forgive the cliche - imposter syndrome. How we often don't feel validated and want to be accepted.
It’s this funny thing, because we're obsessed with an industry that is based on exclusion. It's great, because you can express yourself through clothes, right? I can wear something that someone doesn't have, or someone isn't wearing or whatever. But at the end of the day, when you think of fashion as a whole, a lot of it has always been sold and built around what you have or don’t have, and what you do or don’t know.
Knowing how we all have these issues about how we want to be perceived in the world, it really humanises these individuals. I don’t want to be Oprah! But if you can make someone feel comfortable enough to have an open conversation, that’s what I want to achieve.
Drake’s: What’s the dream?
JK: The dream! To be able to earn a living, to not have to worry about health insurance, and to get my kids through school. Technically that’s my reality now, so I guess you could say I’m very fortunate?