New Orleans Style for Men & Women:
Style Profile: Elijah Bradshaw
Elijah Bradshaw folds one last piece of clothing and exits the Magazine Street Buffalo Exchange clothing reseller where he works as a buyer. The sun bounces off his vintage glasses into the camera lens, and his handlebar mustache looks even better outside. “It’s about small details,” Bradshaw, a Savannah, Georgia, native, says of his approach to personal style. “That’s the way to stand out.”
Bradshaw’s style is profound and fearless. It goes beyond the pages of fashion magazines into films and great fiction. He’s an avid fan of 1960s Yakuza films—Japanese gangster flicks with high-flying pistol-toters decked in suits and ties. The mobsters in Yazuka movies stand out from the gray-suit American characters in films from the same period by wearing suits that are extremely sleek, colorful, and shaped differently, with a higher waistline and slightly tapered legs. The suits are classic but a little edgy. Bradshaw refers specifically to Tokyo Drifter (The Criterion Collection) (1966), in which the main character wears brightly colored blazers and slim pants in ivory and midnight blue.
Working in men’s fashion as a stylist or a photographer is not Bradshaw’s lone ambition. For a while, Bradshaw took film courses at community colleges to save money and eventually transferred to New York University to study cinema photography. More than halfway into the semester at NYU, he realized making movies was not his calling—it was writing. He considered changing majors, but withdrew instead.
“You’re so young and have to make decisions that will affect the rest of your life,” he said in explanation. He eventually migrated out West, living in California and reading incessantly.
“Words are powerful,” his voice raises, “you use them to describe a garment, you take those images, and you create something people can wear to express their uniqueness.” Bradshaw said it was the words on a page that created the mental image of Stanley Kowalski in his form fitting T-shirt and high-waisted slacks long before he saw Marlon Brando in A Street Car Named Desire.
In 2007, he moved to New Orleans to experience the city and write a novel. Now, Bradshaw says he understands the city well enough to write a Southern Gothic, either fiction or supernatural. New Orleans is very magical to him; he feels one can sense the past in New Orleans more than anywhere else.
Now, Bradshaw is inspired by the 1960s, his favorite decade, because it embodies minimalism and uniformity. He wears a tie three times a week, always just below the collar, “a little off-kilter.” People have told him it’s a European look—being disheveled, but very put together.
“New Orleans is slowly coming up, fashion-wise. We’re not New York, but I think we have the potential.” Bradshaw says New Orleans style is yet to be defined. The city is a place with unrelenting heat—shorts are still appropriate on several days in December. Sometimes, Bradshaw sports vintage tees when riding a bicycle to work and knows casual can be standard in the Big Easy. But he has limits. Sweatpants are for the gym and pajamas are for bed—not going out. “I’d never wear flip-flops in public,” he said, “unless I’m going to the beach.”
Style on The Spot: Bellocq “Secret Society” Style Event presented by Styleizm and Fashion Week New Orleans
Patrick Lorenz, bartender at Bellocq
Kema Paynes, model and singer
Style on The Spot: Jazz Fest Artist Preview
Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown
Delfeayo Marsalis and The Uptown Jazz Orchestra