It’s the secret behind some of Jan-Michael Quammie’s most oft-shot outfits. In collaboration with Gucci.
The story behind Gucci and Unskilled Worker’s AW/17 collaboration is a tale as old as time.
As with all things Gucci, the brand’s partnership is a thoroughly modern approach to creative collaboration—and makes a serious sartorial statement, comprised of portraits of muses clad in maximalist looks from the Italian house. As for how to pull it off? We asked three women with distinctly different approaches to dressing to show us how they mix the collection with pieces from their own wardrobes—even when headed to locations ranging from the everyday (the bodega around the corner) to the extra (a Chinatown arcade). DGAF attitude sold separately.
Jan-Michael Quammie’s style may be completely eclectic, but the reaction it inspires in onlookers is more consistent: “How the &!@# did she think of that?” After all, only Quammie would think to pair a Gucci tee and massive knit cardigan emblazoned with Unskilled Worker illustrations with a tartan mini for a distinctly Clueless vibe. “I think it takes a very confident woman to wear Gucci, because that’s definitely a look that exudes ‘I’m good with who I am,’” she explained of the brand’s aesthetic. One could say that it takes a similarly confident woman to get tattooed on location (a Coveteur first!) at Fun City Tattoo as our camera snapped away at the whole thing. Lucky for us, Quammie was kind enough to let us in on how to get even a quarter of her “it’s whatever” attitude.
How she describes her style: “It’s a mash-up of different things. References from when I was young, inspiration from all over the world that I just put in one look. I can wear a biker jacket with a super preppy loafer. Or a cowboy jacket with sneakers.”
What she always makes sure to do while in her native NYC: “Vintage shopping at Procell. And I love the sea bass from Indochine. I definitely try to hit that up while I’m here. I did already!”
What it looks like when she gets dressed in the morning: “The way I style myself is definitely emotional. Sometimes I wake up and have thoughts of outfits floating around my head, and that makes it impossible for me to pack for anything. Sometimes I wake up and I don’t feel that way, and that’s all I have in my suitcase. It’s a nightmare.”
Her favorite Gucci x Unskilled Worker pieces from the shoot: “I loved the cardigan, because it’s a classic silhouette but a take on what’s happening now. It’s really cool that Alessandro started working with these independent artists and giving them a voice in such a huge industry. Putting their art out there, and putting it in people’s faces. I also love the t-shirt and that beautiful pleated skirt. So luxurious.”
Go-to karaoke song: “‘One in a Million’ by Aaliyah.”
Why she recently left her full-time gig: “I wanted to allow myself the freedom to make certain decisions without having someone to report to. I wanted to represent something that was more than just trends. I feel like there’s more important things to say. I’m also using my experience as both a buyer and a stylist. Working with brands, working with e-commerce sites, working with cool magazines, working with digital, I’ve done it all. I just want this platform where I can just bring cool, creative people together, building cool shit together.”
How her style’s evolved over the years: “I have an issue with people having what I have. Hate it. I think that’s how I evolved, because I pick pieces that are a little bit more special, and a little bit more close to my taste, not anyone else’s. I’m just very secure with the woman that I am. It has nothing to do with anyone else.”
Biggest indulgence: “I like to buy nice fragrances. I just bought another Le Labo Santal 33, and it’s like $280. But you know what, I don’t care; it’s one of those things. And I let it, kinda like spread it for a year, so it’s worth it.”
How she describes the Gucci woman: “I think it takes a very confident woman to wear Gucci, because that’s definitely a look that exudes ‘I’m good with who I am.’ And that’s why I like Gucci, because Alessandro [Michele] makes his own trends, and people follow. That’s the life I try to lead. He’s a game-changer in the industry, and I’m really into it.”
Her first designer splurge: “Back in the day, my first pair of designer shoes was a pair of Manolo Blahniks. That was a thing. And I just bought a Rolex yesterday.”
The most-used app on her phone: “Oh my god, Google Translate.”
Where she gets her style confidence from: “That moment where you realize that whatever you’re doing, people are into. To have friends or strangers that say, ‘Only you could pull that off, like I could never wear that.’”
Her first Gucci piece: “The Gucci fanny pack. The monogrammed brown one, with the red and green belt. I bought that in, like, 1999. Still have it!”
What people don’t realize about street style: “Opportunities can come from who you are and what you dress like. You know? Sometimes you’re like a walking résumé. A lot of what you dress is kind of like saying who you are without actually speaking.”