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July 25 2014

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Todd Selby Goes Punk With a Cult Japanese Leather Maker

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For six years now, Todd Selby has been offering us a portal into the lives of creative types with his photographic portraits and thoughtful, handwritten questionnaires featured on TheSelby.com and in his series of insightful coffee-table books. Two weeks ago, Selby released his latest publication, Fashionable Selby, which profiles a range of stylish individuals involved in all aspects of the industry.

What’s truly admirable about the new tome is its sheer breadth of subjects. In addition to taking us inside the workspaces and homes of notable influencers including Dries Van Noten, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, Isabel Marant, Nicola Formichetti, and Carla Sozzani, The Selby also goes behind the scenes with relative fringe-dwellers like Brooklyn-based knitwear designer Lindsay Degen and cruelty-free Angora rabbit farmer Ambika Conroy. “Fashion is a place that’s full of colorful characters, and I spent about a year researching and pursuing word-of-mouth recommendations,” Selby told Style.com of his selection process.

Some of Selby’s more eccentric entries came from Japan. “I’ve always had a fascination with Japan. For whatever reason, it’s a culture that embraces real extremes and pushes people to unique places. Every time I go to Japan, I’m like, ‘I can’t believe this exists!’” he said. One of the most enlightening odysseys in the new book is Selby’s exploration of Blackmeans, a craft leather collective run by hard-core punks in Tokyo.

Selby learned a lot about the spirit of punk from Blackmeans founders Yujiro Komatsu, Takatomo Ariga, and Masatomo Ariga. “I think punk is really about these do-it-yourself details—like I’m-going-to-start-a-band-even-though-I-don’t-know-how-to-play-an-instrument kind of concept,” Selby said. “These guys are technically very skilled and all self-taught, but what’s most important is their incredible passion and vision.” Considering Blackmeans’ growing cult following and a recent pop-up at Opening Ceremony in New York, it’s only a matter of time until it breaks through.

The Selby documented the Blackmeans gang in a short video filmed by Todd and friend Junsuke Yamasaki; it debuts exclusively here on Style.com.

For more information on Fashionable Selby, visit TheSelby.com.

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Dept. of Culture