Fashion Forward Men talks with stylist Gunner Doyle
This marks a special moment for Fashion Forward Men. For the past couple of years, I have been interviewing and exposing the talents of designers, photographers, models, and the more fashion savvy individuals of the world. Aside from me speaking of my own work as a stylist, never have I interviewed another. Sure, there have been a few guys from the Snapped & Caught series that dabbles in styling, but most of them are doing it as a side project. Atlanta resident Gunner Doyle will be the first that I interviewed in depth about this part of the industry.
During his middle school days of receiving his education in Nashville, TN. Gunner knew he loved clothing. Always winning the title of Best Dressed amongst his peers only validated that he had style. Probably thinking nothing of the fashion industry, Gunner moved to Atlanta in the summer of 2002 to attend Morehouse College. He majored in Mathematics and Computer Science. And though fashion may not have been his first passion, it would surely be a passion that would weave itself in and out of his life. Could it be that the universe was laying out Gunner's path for him without him knowing? Possibly... Morehouse, although known as a place great college for a man to attend, is also known as being a hub in Atlanta where you are sure to see some pretty stylish guys. So you see, for him there was no escape.
So how did the shift in careers start I ask?
"I was at a streetwear boutique shopping when some Atlanta Falcons came into the store. They noticed I was bustling from corner-to-corner putting outfits together, but that I was not an employee. So, I guess they assumed I was a stylist. They asked me to help the three of them put some outfits together for an event they were attending. When I was finished, they asked me was I a stylist. At this point, I really hadn’t heard of such a thing, but being young and possibly a little arrogant, I said “Yes.” They gave me $1000.00. I rush home, $1000.00 in hand, and googled “stylist.” The door was opened."
(Stylist: Gunner Doyle, Photographer Davide Stennett)
Six years has passed, and Gunner is still going strong in Atlanta, but that doesn't mean the journey has been an easy one.
"It has been a roller coaster. Maybe I was spoiled by my first $1000.00, but I find that people here want things for free or very cheap, which is essentially free when you factor in the cost of doing what we do. Not only do clients want things for free, they want the best for free. I once had a potential client contact me wanting me to style her. She wanted her favorite designers, Chanel, Betsey Johnson, and Louboutin for FREE… But, I have had the pleasure of working with some very delightful people as well. Atlanta stylists, photographers, models, etc. are hungry, and with Hollywood moving here a little more each year, I think it’s our time," he explains.
"The butt kissing that is required to get into some doors. But, that’s not only here, that’s this industry in general. Again, the free concept. Really, I would like to think that people realize that if they won’t invest in themselves, what makes them think others will. People struggle to even pay a kit/cleaning fee, but they will blow money any given weekend at the club," he adds.
Every job has a down side, but if we love it enough, the good will ALWAYS triumph over the bad. And with that, Gunner continued to move on. Often times when it comes to molding a career, we focus our attentions on one area, master it, and move on to the next goal. In some cases the world of fashion has the same rules. Have you ever seen a designer produce at street wear collection in the spring, and a couture collection in the summer? It simply doesn't happen. At this point, if you were to come across Gunner's work in a publication,
you would see that it speaks to those who bold, yet reserved, with a certain element of sex appeal. But whose to say that's all that he's about?
(Photography: JR West)
"I really try and cover all spectrums, as to not pigeonhole myself. I believe some simple rules should be followed (with personal tweaking), but everything else is open for artsy interpretation. I am a little more edgy with females though. With men, I like a cool, fashion-forward, and conservative mix."
"I would really like to add more celebrities. Working with them can be tough, because their expectations are so high, but I like the challenge of working with a client that knows their demographic and what they like. It presents more challenge than working with a model that is use to wearing whatever they are told to wear," he adds.
(Photography JR West)
The world of wardrobe styling can be a very tedious one. The long hours, the phone calls, the footwork, the having to deal with the fickle can be exhausting. Imagine having to do this for more than one job. Most can't but Doyle can. It appears that the Hotlanta stylist is also adding another title under his belt... Designer.
Although still in the drawing board stages, Gunner tells Fashion Forward Men that his goals are to produce a luxury menswear line.
"Atlanta is a move-to city. There are people here from all over the country/planet, so the style range is very wide. There are so many subcultures to draw inspiration from. The line is still in the concept phase, so I am limited on what I can say. I, along with my business partner, we are working through the logistics of the line. We are thinking 5 to 10 years out, so it is taking a lot of planning. But, I can say that we want to start with high-end luxury goods as well as high-end streetwear line."
(Bowtie: Gunner Doyle, Photographer: JR West)
Like any business venture, it takes money to make money. And with his eye on the prize, Gunner has remained sensible. Although I'm sure he and his business partner plan on looking for backers to invest in their company, the stylist currently works as a senior data analyst in the utilities industry.
Like always, we Fashion Forward Men will continue to inform you on Gunner's developments.