In the closet of stylist Ian Bradley

Like most little fashion-obsessed kids whose childhood predated social media, Ian Bradley’s first career goal was to become a fashion designer — often the most publicized job title in the industry. As he tells me this, his eyes light up and he runs across the room to search some drawers. “I used to make these notebooks where I arranged outfits or I sketched the…” Bradley wanders off concentrated until he finds them and smiles immediately. We flip through pages of magazine clippings spliced ​​together to create new ensembles with pre-existing pieces, with his own renderings filling in the gaps. “I didn’t think I wanted to be a stylist right now, which is really funny,” he laughs. “These could have been mini magazines.”

Now Bradley is a stylist and editor – a multi-hyphenated calling, he comes down to a few key points. “I schlep clothes, beg for clothes and make mood boards. And then I put clothes on people every now and then.” His editorial work has appeared in GQ, T Magazine, W, highsnobiety, and more. The jack of all trades also deals with celebrity styling, although he is very selective in that area. He only works consistently with Gossip Girl‘s Jordan Alexander and model and actress Indya Moore.

Bradley grew up as a music and fashion-obsessed teen in the DC area, working at a local thrift store and binging The Strokes’ latest album in his spare time. (“I still dress like Seth Cohen,” he says.) With those interests, his move to New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) seemed like a natural next step. While studying design, he discovered the nightlife in New York City in the early 2000s. Brushing shoulders with designers, models, stylists and it-girls turned out to be a better fashion education than what he collected in school. He dropped out of college at the age of 19.

While we’re chatting in his apartment in New York’s financial district, Bradley pulls out another book: deform, a lustful visual documentation of the customers and the atmosphere of the SoHo nightclub. He calls it his “school yearbook.” Bradley shows me his own cameos after pointing out those of “Chloe Sev” (Chloë Sevigny), who also looks down on us from a portrait on his wall, and DJ Leigh Lezark. He talks about major performances at Misshapes by Madonna and many customers in the city center. More than the performance, the then-budding fashion virtuoso immersed himself in the process of crafting the perfect ensemble for the evening.

Above: Loewe

When Hedi Slimane, then creative director of Dior Homme, was a DJ, he showed ripped tank tops on the Dior Homme catwalk. Bradley and his brigade of fashion junkies scoured Trash & Vaudeville and American Apparel to achieve some semblance of the same sneaky effect. “I like that energy. It’s something the TikTok world doesn’t do,” he muses. “And it’s the youthful interpretation that I think is so vastly lacking in fashion.” In his own work, Bradley takes mundane ideas like “taking clothes off” and “ruining it” in a way that evokes the nostalgia of the past to produce a surprisingly modern-feeling result.

Today, the stylist often wears the grown-up (read: luxury) version of what he always wore. “I buy the designer pieces I wanted when I was in high school. My favorite Balenciaga bags are from 2002,” he says. “I still wear t-shirts from high school, only with Bottega [Veneta] Trousers.” Museum-worthy in size and scope, this T-shirt collection stands proudly alongside groups of Graces Wales Bonner blouses, Dries Van Noten trousers and Thom Browne skirts, which have become a kind of signature for Bradley’s evening event ensembles.

The day came to an end when we closed the interview so he could get ready for Madonna in Terminal Five for a Pride Month party. (I sincerely hope he was wearing the lurex Loewe crop top he wore for our shoot.) On my way out, I spot a Celine paper shopping bag peeking through an Ikea wire mesh bin—a striking image of high-low symbolism that says so much about those who work in fashion. “Every time I throw out the trash, I think, ‘You can stay,'” he says with a wink in his voice. “It’s pretty fun.”

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