INTERVIEWS: James Mills Of Style Noir
Jun 18, 2010 - by Hillary Frazier
I've done a lot of searching for the coolest blogs and online shops out there..so when I found Stylenoir, a UK site with edgy shoots, a sleek design, and some awesome interviews (anyone who supports DirtyFlaws I'm a fan of), I had to do a write up. I began speaking with James more about the site and asking for advice of my own, and I found him to be quite the genius of the internet, among other things.
Check out these questions I had for him!
FASHIONINDIE: How did you start StyleNoir? Being that your background is in music, when did fashion become your primary interest?
JAMES: In my mind, there is no difference in my goals whatever industry Im in. The bottom line is that I want to inspire and motivate people to achieve what they have only dreamed of before. Taking that into account, all industries are governed by the same four parts, the seller, the buyer, the product, the producer. So in reality there really is no difference between the industries. I suppose if I am honest, the music industry rejected the changes it was going through and tried to ignore them, we used to sit in the studio and brain-storm every day on how we could revolutionise things, then one day I was talking to one of the guys from Sony and asked the million dollar question, what are they doing to beat the problem? The answer was just to pump more money into their biggest band at the time. To me that was the biggest lack of imagination Id ever heard, I didnt want to be in a pond where the biggest fish couldnt take the courage to leap to the sea. A decade later and they still havent figured it out. The giant of the fashion industry knows how to adapt, I saw companies embracing change and taking risks and I wanted in.
FASHIONINDIE: What were you doing before StyleNoir was born? Ever work any horrible jobs?
JAMES: Since I was very young, Ive always had an entrepreneurial streak. Whether it was selling the latest craze in the school-yard, or dare I use the word, hustling, I knew that I wanted to do things by myself. I had a horrible and admittedly, embarrassing job at a grocery store when I was a kid. So when I was 14, I started out with t-shirts, within the 12 months it was producing £10,000 a year. At that point I knew I was capable and I didnt look back.
FASHIONINDIE: Sometimes you cover some pretty sensitive subjects (Fashion Indies own pro/against Tavis blog comment argument, cats as fashion accessories), does this ever get you any hate, and does that bother you?
JAMES: I never started this for popularity. I couldnt care less if you love or hate me, I find it hard to not speak my mind and maybe that is a failing of mine. But seriously, if a blog states blogs are disposable that sets alarm bells off in my head, that seems strange to me, something has to be said. I keep thinking that our time period is one that seems to be losing that desire for pioneering and advancement, so at Stylenoir we want to make people think, whether they agree or disagree is far from the point. The point is to make people think for themselves, come up with their own opinions and standing. Hopefully inspiring people to make a difference while they have the time.
FASHIONINDIE: Where do you come up with the ideas for your original pieces?
JAMES: I suppose its not so much where but how, and that how is listening. Its astonishing how much you can pick up if you really pay attention to what is going on around you. Its almost like producing music, you listen to what your audience is asking for, create that hook that will draw people in and run with it, putting your own passion into the final creation.
FASHIONINDIE: How do you choose which spreads you feature on the site each month?
JAMES: We look for the artists which inspire us the most, if it really blows us away, then we will feature it. It doesnt matter who it is. Creativity, the message it is portraying and the meaning behind it are main factors. This is why Elias Wessel is one of our highly featured photographers, some how he takes this outstanding imagination he has and puts it in still images. It really is incredible, I truly believe if you could look into his mind, it would be nothing less than becoming a real life Alice in Wonderland.
FASHIONINDIE: What do you plan on doing next with the site? Any plans to expand StyleNoir.TV?
JAMES: We just launched a complete re-design of the site which is all very exciting. We wanted to create a more interesting experience for our readers so we added interactivity, with a great Facebook comment system, as they say participation is power! Stylenoir.TV is soon to become Stylenoir Films, we hope to produce some hard hitting documentaries in the near future, but you will just have to wait and see, I cant give everything away, where would the fun be in that?
FASHIONINDIE: Any advice for hopeful journalists?
JAMES: Work, hard, and do what you love. Seriously, in 2010 there is no reason to do anything you hate. But you need to work, if you want the fancy parties and the exclusive interviews you need to put in the effort. Get your iPhone and your laptop and hit emails, social networking, cold call, I dont care. It might sound aggressive, but there really is no better advice that to just DO. I run into people all the time ready to discuss at length their plans in media or journalism but the simple fact is planning is good, getting results is better.
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