THE BLOG
09/24/2014 03:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Playlist Runway: Fashion, Music and Models at Mark McNairy SS15

Mark McNairy is the equivalent of your cool Uncle that does not give two f*cks what anyone else thinks. Mark McNairy is that Uncle to the fashion community. He doesn't have to care. McNairy is a member of the prestigious CFDA, was the former Creative Director for J.Press and collaborated with Bass shoes to modernize this classic American brand. Mark McNairy utilizes his expertise of American and English tailoring to create a brand that illustrates urban cool with New England college prep. His fashion week shows are a relaxing break from all the pomp and circumstance while inducing a fun environment for enjoying his latest collections.

His SS15 collection, titled "Whatever," as expected, was a tailored, "I don't give a f*ck" cool. The collection included tailored pieces, stand out prints and American swag. Models sauntered down the runway leisurely drinking Heineken's and even casted their hats into the audience during the final walk. Stylist Ololade Oguntayo commented that McNairy's menswear portion was, "Fresh and contemporary."

Mark McNairy has been inclusive of diversity on the runway before it even became considered "cool." Known for including musical artists and "real people" in addition to models on the runway, he amalgamates various sectors of artistry to birth creative fusion. Past Mark McNairy shows, rappers including Cam'ron and Pusha T have strutted down the runway and/or posed for his Lookbook. For his SS15 show, McNairy included hip-hop recording artist Travi$ Scott, who skipped and jumped down the runway (not planned) and Kris Bowers, the ultra-cool Julliard-trained pianist and 2011 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition winner.

Post show, I had the opportunity to talk to the alluring and modelesque, Kris Bowers -- the young, pianist that has the jazz world alive and excited fusing his classically trained background with his love for hip-hop, R&B, electronica and more. Kris' debut album Heroes and Misfits highlights his musical range. It jumps from elements illustrating his classically trained, Julliard background, to his funky rhythms and political opinion that explains to the listener why Kanye West included Kris' talent on the Grammy-award winning Watch the Throne album.

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Kris Bowers and Mark McNairy after the SS15 MBFW show in NYC.

Photo credit: Annalise Murphy

What made you interested in working with Mark McNairy?

Earlier this year, Mark came to a show of mine and approached me afterwards about possibly working together on a music project. He told me he had always had this dream of being a record producer, and really wanted to make an album. So, for me it was a no-brainer. I love Mark's stuff, and I love the collaborative process. Since then, we've been meeting and bouncing musical ideas back and forth to find a direction for the project. I'm pretty excited.

Kris and I also spoke about fashion as art and it's similarities to the musical art form. Music inspires fashion: songs are selectively chosen to evoke certain feelings from the crowd experiencing the show. A soundtrack is selected to place a model in a certain space for a campaign shoot. Fashion, in turn inspires music. Kris spoke a bit more about this has been personally influential on him.

I'm inspired by the imagination in fashion. I love how designers can exist at different points on the spectrum, from super-conventional clothing to wearable art, and everything in between. Or, how they feel free to mix styles, and incorporate pieces from different cultures. It's even inspiring to watch how a fashion house or label can develop over time, progressing and pushing boundaries, while maintaining their core identity. All of these things can relate to being a musician. I find that on some level, looking at how my favorite designers navigate through these decisions, reflect where I would like to exist with the music that I create.

What do you like about his style of clothing?

I love how Mark combines street fashion, classic tailoring and a bit of cheeky humor. It kind of matches my personality and taste exactly.

Kris, a fashion aficionado, and I continued to talk about clothing and style. We delved deeper into Kris' personal style and how moments in life and career have influenced his past and present style.

Growing up, being that I was musically into hip-hop and R&B in the 90s, my style reflected that. But once I was doing more work as a jazz musician and playing in those spaces, I began to develop a love for suits and more formal wear. Now, with the type of music that I'm creating and involved with, I can feel free to mix it all up. Overall though, I've always been a believer of quality over quantity. I'd much prefer to spend time and money on one piece that's made from great material, and will last a lifetime.

How does music and fashion relate?

Almost all of my musical idols have also been fashion icons. Artists like Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, MJ, Kanye and Pharrell, each have had a strong imprint in both the music and fashion worlds. I think that stems from the fact that one's personal style is a physical representation of their creativity. As musicians, we spend so much time creating a musical identity. A unique sound that says, "This is who I am," and "This is what I stand for." It only makes sense to me then, that artists would extend that identity to how they dress, speak, carry themselves, etc, whether that decision is conscious or subconscious.

How does fashion inspire you when you create?

I'm inspired by the imagination in fashion. I love how designers can exist at different points on the spectrum, from super-conventional clothing to wearable art, and everything in between. Or, how they feel free to mix styles, and incorporate pieces from different cultures. It's even inspiring to watch how a fashion house or label can develop over time, progressing and pushing boundaries, while maintaining their core identity. All of these things can relate to being a musician. I find that on some level, looking at how my favorite designers navigate through these decisions, reflect where I would like to exist with the music that I create.

Kris Bowers is definitely an artist to watch. Mark McNairy is genius for including this jazz-star in his show as he looked at ease and extremely dapper in the tailored looks. McNairy is the designer to watch if you are looking for original style and creative integrations. The artistic collaboration these two industry favorites produce will be sure to bring something new and fresh to both the fashion and music scene.