Sir New York: Auston George Bjorkman on His Badass Menswear Line, Dream Models, and Being the Trans Man of Fashion Design

Stills from a Sir New York video.

If I had the design sensibility and the Leo personality (or at least the Virgo attention to detail), I would love to start a fashion line. In fact, before I was on T, it was so hard to find menswear that fit me right that I waxed poetic on a semi-regular basis about how I was going to quit my day job and make clothes that looked good and fit better, goddammit!
After paying my tailor handsomely to alter my shit, I calmed down and eventually put aside my pipe dream. Most of this had to do with the realization that I’d also have to quit my other day job (you know, being a writer–where I make the big bucks). More importantly, I came to understand that my visual acumen is more of the putting-outfits-together rather than the hand-designing-from-scratch variety. I mean, Alexander McQueen happened, people. Fashion is ART.
Remember Kanye? Dude looks great, then makes this blech:

Kanye, what the hell? Never forget.

In fairness, it is completely unclear why he didn’t design a menswear collection, since he’s much better at dressing himself than (it seems) coming up with something cool a lady could wear.
All of this is to say: enter Auston  George Bjorkman. Besides having an awesome name (a three-part name is the best kind), he is the founder and creative director at Sir New York.

Sir New York in VMAN.

The man worked with Thom Browne. He is the first trans man designer at his level. Check out this awesome, vaguely goth and very cool video showcasing his line:
I would describe this look as clean, dark, and sporty. He would add, more eloquently, that it involves “athleticism with a hint of provocation. Clothing that is extremely wearable, that can be dressed up or dressed down, and translates well from day to night.”
We emailed from Las Vegas, where he’s attending a huge, glamorous menswear trade show. I presume he’s also answering emails poolside with a margarita in hand.
T: I know you’re interested in sportswear as inspiration. Where else do you get design ideas from?
 A: I try never to be literal about any of my points of inspiration. I take it all in and reinterpret in my own way. For example many people without knowing my background in latex and leather will say that they see fetish elements in my collections; of course they are there but not in an obvious way.
T: What’s the most exciting thing going on in menswear right now?

A: Oh man, the fact that menswear is having a bit of a resurgence and is being taken just as seriously in design as womenswear has always been.

I love that men are breaking out and wearing new silhouettes and even incorporating elements from womenswear. Menswear is once again deconstructing masculinity by celebrating it all of its complexities. For Sir, I try to combine something that is seen as macho with something elegant to voice my own ideas of idealized gender balance in men’s clothing.

 

S/S12 Collection.

T: How do you (or do you?) think being trans influences your perspective as a designer, and the overall direction of Sir New York?

A: This is a hard question. I think for anybody who is a creator, all of who you are and experiences you’ve gone through come out in whatever you create in some way. As for SNY, the line runs a little smaller because as a small guy I know how hard it is to find clothes that fit; and I think of it as clothing for all genders in the tradition of menswear.

 

S/S11.

T: Has being trans affected your reception in the fashion community?

A: Honestly, if it has, I am unaware of it. I think most people don’t know that I am trans, and if they do then they are into it. Fashion has always embraced eccentricity, and themes of androgyny and gender bending. I’m not yet well known, and I hope that my work will stand for itself.

 

F/W12.

T: Are involved/going to Fashion Week this year?

A: I showed for fashion week the last two seasons and usually try to see as many mens’ shows as posssible, but this season I am doing two big trade shows: one in NYC right before Fashion Week, and one in Las Vegas right after. Putting on a show requires so much work that there was just no way to do all three.

T: Who’s your dream model to work with? 

I love Luke Worrall and Sean-O. They have this youthful boyishness that I adore.

 

Sean-O.

Luke Worrall.

T: What’s up next for you?

A: So far Sir New York’s Spring/Summer ’12 collection will be in four great stores in NYC and one in Toronto.
This year will be all about trying to increase brand awareness and stockists.
Hopefully, we will shoot another short fashion film and collaborate with some other exciting designers.

 

About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here: www.thomaspagemcbee.com

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