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Born and raised in Northern California, designer Brandon Day moved from his home city of Campbell (eBay's original HQ) to San Francisco at the age of 18. Immediately after graduating from San Jose State University with a degree in photography and a minor in sociology and philosophy, he and a graphic designer friend started their own creative agency, working with brands like American Apparel and designing catalogs. After working with an array of fashion companies, it was only natural for Day to join the business and in 2006, he moved to Milan for a year with the goal of starting a menswear line— but at the suggestion of a mentor, Day decided to focus on footwear instead.
"I was trying to be very small and niche," says the designer, "and focusing on one thing like shoes is a little bit easier than [trying] to work with 15 factories." Day began working closely with a 100-year-old factory in Portugal, and although his high-end men's shoe label, Generic Man, and its affordable brother line, Generic Surplus, were born in Europe, both lines have been proudly designed in LA since Day moved here in 2007. Since founding Generic Man, Day has gone on to collaborate with labels like Comme Des Garcons, streetwear brand Undefeated, and many others.
We sat down with the Downtown-based designer at Juice Crafters in the stylish Historic Core to chat about his favorite local haunts, the classic pair of shoes every man should have, and much more.
What are you drinking today?
An 'Oh Yes' with kale. They used to have an 'Oh Heck Yes,' but then they took the kale out so now it's just 'Oh Yes'—you have to add kale.
What was the first pair of designer shoes you ever purchased?
Probably Pradas; I still have them—black leather tie-up loafers. They were four or five hundred dollars and I was young. I still love them, but they're pretty sharp-looking shoes.
What's the most important thing guys should know when picking out shoes?
One is making sure you stay classic in some way; two is don't go overboard. Guys can be really sharp-dressed and they'll just throw anything on their feet. You really want to make sure when you're picking shoes that they're versatile and they can be worn with multiple different looks. And quality—the best thing you can do with men's shoes is buy quality; something made in Portugal or Italy will last you forever. They just look better with age.
What's a classic shoe style that all men should have?
Something that always looks sharp is a nice leather double monk. I wear one in oxblood but all black is always good. It always will look sharp, it will always dress you up.
What's your all-time favorite movie?
Maybe Bladerunner from an epic movie-making standpoint.
If you could dress any U.S. president dead or alive, who would it be?
What are a few of your favorite Downtown haunts?
I spend a lot of time at the LA Athletic Club, both working out and at its. Stocking Frame is the go-to everyday place; I can't recommend that place enough. The people that work there have become family, and I always love the Water Grill. Apolis and Guerrilla Atelier [in the Arts District] are probably my two favorite apparel stores in Downtown.
Denim jackets or blazers?
Favorite comfort food?
My wife is Italian; her whole family is Calabrian. She makes homemade pasta and homemade sauce; [it's a] really basic tomato ragu sauce. It's not as easy as opening a box but it's really not that far from it.
Facebook or Instagram?
Last vacation that you went on?
Instanbul a year ago; we went for two weeks. A lot has happened since we were there, but but far it's such an amazing city. The people, the way everything functions there—it's so nice there.
In your opinion, what are the best-dressed cities?
Tokyo, for one. Everybody always looks good in New York—they just always hold it down. For old-school men's style, I like Florence; there's a way Florentine guys dress, whether it's dressed up or dressed down, they just have their own style that's very unique.
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