James Harris and Lawrence Schlossman have a way of getting inside your head. Listen to a few episodes of their hit podcast, Throwing Fits, a frenetic riff on menswear, pop culture and the wider internet and fashion zeitgeist, and you might find yourself standing alone in the kitchen mouthing signature quips like 'Fit Check', 'Post Sneaker World', 'Jawnz Enthusiasts' and 'Close Personal Celebrity Friend' like a lunatic. Mixing bravado, irony, inside jokes and genuine knowledge and appreciation for quality clothes and the people who make them, the two thirty-something, Brooklyn-based friends have become the savvy and self-referential court jesters of the esoteric world of New York men's fashion and lifestyle. They've interviewed Jonah Hill, been called "The Shock Jocks of Menswear" by The New Yorker and launched their own hugely popular rage of merch and gear. "We talk shit for a living," says Schlossman, "but James and I have been in fashion and media for a combined 20 years now. The show, at this stage, has been galvanised into its own brand and community. When we were sharing one microphone in a tiny room, we never imagined that it would go this far."
For their latest trick, James and Lawrence (Or Jimmy and Larry when they're on the airwaves asking their guests for a 'fit check' and how much money they make) are collaborating with Drake's on a very special graphic t-shirt (with proceeds going to charity), a live podcast and a party, which is taking place at the Drake's Open Studio on Canal Street on Friday, 3rd December. We checked in with them to see how they became the loud and influential voice of a generation of 'Jawnz Enthusiasts'.
Drake's: Hi James and Lawrence, what makes a great interviewer?
James: You can’t be too serious. No one cares about an artist’s favourite album! If you already have rapport with someone, that's even better. We want to talk to people where, after an hour, you’re going to want to hang out and get a beer with them.
Lawrence: Treat them like a human. If that doesn't work, just make it all about yourself. That seems to have worked for James and I so far.
James: Also don’t interrupt! But we violate that rule every time.
Drake's: You often refer to a 'Post Sneaker World' on the podcast. Can you explain what that means?
James: The Post Sneaker World doesn’t mean eradicating sneakers from your wardrobe, it’s about not being suckered into the hype machine. This idea of allowing you the privilege to buy something with artificial scarcity and people treating shoes and clothes like a financial asset. We focus on loafers, for example, because they’re so versatile. It's about looking at smaller brands and the history of other shoe types: Boots, derbies, mules! I think people are fed up with not being able to buy a sneaker, or having to pay 4x the retail price for it.
Lawrence: We're both guys who have an emotional attachment to getting dressed, but I never want to have to beg a brand to allow me to spend my money with them. The Post Sneaker World is more of a rally against that culture of hype.
Drake's: Where would you take us out for dinner in New York?
James: Bernie’s, because it’s close and it's one of the few places that does frosted mugs of beer, which is rare in New York. We’ve become friends with the staff and its two blocks from where I live. When we do a big Throwing Fits dinner, that’s where we go.
Drake's: What's the secret to looking good in a graphic t-shirt?
Lawrence: This answer might be a bit controversial, but I tuck them in, bro! I'm a tucker. I know James hates it, but I’m wearing my graphic tees with jeans and boots. Maybe with a cardigan, or a blazer over the top, but it’s going to be tucked in.
James: Don’t tuck it in! You'll look like a try-hard substitute teacher. It shortens your torso.
Lawrence: I do have a short torso!
James: I was in Sweden recently and I liked how the guys over there would wear their graphic tees with an oversized button down shirt, wider pants and then a chunky shoe. It made for an interesting silhouette.
Drake's: How are you noticing men dressing in New York at the moment? Any scene reports?
Lawrence: You’re seeing a lot more leather blazers, flared denim and chunky square-toe boots. That seems to be something that's coming back. I have a leather blazer that I wore recently with flared trousers and I felt good. I felt sexy!
I also think that people are increasingly seeing the appeal of garments that have a purpose and function, but aren't full 'Gorpcore'. Pieces like waxed jackets that both look cool and will keep you warm and dry, versus wearing outdoor gear purely for the logo.
Drake's: And any trends that you're not fans of?
James: Giant logos are still a thing that I'm not interested in. Also, I hate the Y2K stuff. It didn't look good then, it doesn’t look good now. Maybe I’m just too old for it.
Lawrence: There are always going to be trendy brands, but dressing by numbers is the antithesis of personal style in my view. With TF, the ultimate goal is to dress with a variety that makes you feel good, gives you confidence and improves other parts of your life!
Drake's: Finally, what do you need to throw a great party?
James: Free booze, good food and great friends!
Lawrence: No bozos! If you get 300 people in a space, a lot can go wrong, but it’s been very positive for us so far. We've thrown plenty of parties and it's always been a good time.