Getting to know him…

An interview with MR‘s fabulous new fashion director William Buckley

Let’s start with a brief overview of your career.
I came to New York from London nearly 10 years ago with no idea of where in the fashion industry I might fit. I landed a job as a fashion assistant with Kelly Rae at Stuff magazine, a menswear boot-camp where I was swiftly whipped into sartorial shape. Freelance styling ensued, followed by a stint at New York Magazine, then a defining position as style director at Maxim magazine. With the online tide, I became online director for Antenna magazine where I cut my teeth on a thousand acronyms. Like so many editors, I sojourned for two years in public relations until I accepted the fashion director position at MR magazine.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
While pursuing a master’s degree at Harvard, my father (or mostly my mother) had three children in Boston. We spent a year there before moving back to London. While conventional wisdom says that living 10 years in New York makes one a New Yorker, I’ll always be a Londoner too. I go back there as often as possible to visit my parents, twin brother, younger brother and sister. (I recently bought a brownstone in Harlem so they might all come to stay…)

As for my interests, beyond tea and the Queen I love art and the theater. Presently there’s a black and white Picasso exhibition at the Guggenheim that you must go see!

What do you love most about the men’s fashion industry?
Right now I love tweed and Fair Isle sweaters. I love tall leather equestrian boots, brass buckles and plaid. I love shearling and chunky-knit hats, with oversized thick woolen socks. I love layers and layers, and this month, more layers.

I also love the sense of community in our industry, but there’s a fickle side that can be cruel. I spoke to Frank Clegg for our Made in America issue. Whereas he once he enjoyed a roaring trade making leather bags for all the biggest brands, he recently came close to shutting up shop for good as manufacturing moved offshore. Now Made in America is enjoying a renaissance, and Frank Clegg is too. Let’s hope this is just the beginning.

What would it surprise people to learn about you?
I’ve had a lot of different ‘lives,’ so perhaps more surprises than some. I left school at 16 and went to chef school instead. I cooked for a few years and decided I wanted to be a record producer. I studied music technology, and wrote and performed a British form of rap music. I’ve worked as a movie extra, a cater waiter, a market researcher, a bartender, a customer services operator, a club promoter, and a perfume salesman. I’ve traveled to 25 countries on four continents, and was once was robbed by Somali pirates on a Tanzanian island called Pemba.

After all that diversity and adventure, you want to be a fashion director?
I’m truly excited to be back doing what I love and look forward to working with the incredible team here to continue defining and redefining the industry’s premier trade magazine. I look forward to using the skills I’ve gained to bring a different perspective to the MR table. I’ve been reading MR for nearly 10 years, since my days as fashion assistant at Stuff, so becoming part of something that’s influenced my life for so many years is really perfect! I look forward to writing again, I look forward to producing and styling again, and I look forward to keeping MR and on the cutting edge of the menswear industry.

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