Santi Rodriguez - elysium.e Interview (Menswear Fashion Editor @ Metal Magazine)

SantiRodriguez164one As the name might suggest, Santi Rodriguez is a Spanish styling sage with facial foliage almost as impressive as his burgeoning portfolio. A chap impelled to frequent London after completing a Fine Arts degree in his motherland, Santi eventually began to assist esteemed editor and stylist extraordinaire Edward Enninful. Ultimately breaking away from these subordinate shackles, Santi stormed the crisp pages of publications including i-D, Candy and Metal alongside fellow freelancers.

There's a certain sensibility in this gents work, where each editorial appears to respond to its unique set of guidelines. Consequently the viewer is never bored by a monotonous styling signature, instead Santi celebrates the diversity of this industry and avoids the predictable.
SantiRodriguez164two SantiRodriguez164three"In a way I feel its more interesting when things go a bit wrong, whether its by color clashing, or some kind of strange proportion. Diana Vreeland said it right, 'Never fear being vulgar, just boring' & 'Too much good taste can be boring' I completely agree."

So here's a snapshot interlude of whats to follow. Santi clarifies why placing recent roots as Menswear Fashion Editor @ Metal Magazine presented a refreshing and timely team effort. Furthermore he reveals which direction he hopes to take his section of the publication and perhaps most importantly he explains how he aims to consistently avoid his work becoming 'editorial anodyne.' I highly recommend that any budding-stylist dissect this appetizing Q&A.

  • elysium.editorial: Greetings Santi, how are you enjoying your time in Spain?

    Santi.Rodriguez: Hi there, It´s great here. At the moment I'm in my hometown, Vigo which is in the North West of Spain, enjoying the summer.

    e.e: So you relocated from Barcelona to the UK in order to assist editor and stylist Edward Enninful. We assume existing as an ‘assistant’ in such a financially demanding city as London was somewhat testing. For the budding stylists within our readership, could you cover the logistics of this bold venture?

    S.R: Well, I think that if you really want something, there is always a way of achieving it. In my case I had to get a part-time job to combine with assisting Edward. It was pretty tiring, and I was always terribly skint, but working with Edward and his team was so amazing, it certainly payed off for all of the struggle.

    e.e: As an individual used to the freedom of unaffiliated fashion styling it seems you only recently decided to become involved with platforms in a more permanent context. What ignited this shift from solely freelance to menswear fashion editor @ Metal Magazine and style consultant @

    S.R: Working on a regular basis with someone is quite rewarding. You feel more of your creative input affects the whole product, whether this is a magazine, brand etc. I do love consulting, it involves a lot of researching, which I always find fun. Also working long-term with people you like and respect always helps in establishing lots of interesting dialog, which ultimately affects your creative vision further.
  • e.e: Metal magazine endears legions of fans as a space able to consistently strike the right button with their editorials. Do you find there to be some pressure when working for an audience used to the very best?

    S.R: I'm always very hard on myself with my own work, so the pressure starts there. Exposing your own vision to the public is always going to be a bit nerve-wracking.

    e.e: Though you’re celebrated as a menswear editor I must say the female editorial ‘164’ with photographer Ronald Dick was a complete treat. A set of imagery cleverly conjoined via the use of apparel and staged diagonal angles. Would you kindly shine some light upon the wardrobe concept for this story?

    S.R: Thank you, funnily enough thats the editorial which has had the most mixed reviews. People seem to love it or hate it. The starting point for the styling was 70´s Yves Saint Laurent and his entourage of LouLou de la Falaise, Paloma Picasso etc. Translated into a more current silhouette constructed of relevant proportions. I always try to mix concepts and references that don't necessarily go together, ideally coming up with something that feels somehow fresh.

    e.e: In regards to your 'love it or hate it' comment, would you rather such a strong reaction to your work over a nonchalant nod of appreciation?

    S.R: Definitely. I'd rather someone hating it than saying "it´s nice" or "it´s sweet." At least its triggering some sort of feeling and doesn't come across as anodyne.

SantiRodriguez40sbyrochas SantiRodriguezKarl&Sam3 SantiRodriguez170 SantiRodriguez40sbyrochas2 SantiRodriguezKarl&Sam3
  • e.e: It certainly seems you are unafraid of embracing boisterous colour-palettes, varying fabric finishes and playful proportions. In your own mind, when does brave investigation cross the boundary into aesthetically undesirable – where do you draw the line?

    S.R: In a way I feel its more interesting when things go a bit wrong, whether its by color clashing, or some kind of strange proportion. Diana Vreeland said it right, "Never fear being vulgar, just boring" & "Too much good taste can be boring" I completely agree.

    e.e: Speaking of the contemporary, Is your personal style quite so novel?

    S.R: I think so, yes. My work reflects somehow my personal style. I tend to play with proportions, prints and layering in my everyday dressing.

    e.e: Sounds interesting, it seems the adventurous proportions upon the recent menswear catwalks are yet to fully filter onto the street. What accessible labels are we talking here?

    S.R: I tend to wear lots of vintage and second hand. In terms of designer stuff, Sibling, Raf Simons, Dries Van Noten, Junya Watanabe, Comme des Garçons, Acne, Opening Ceremony & B-Store. I actually just discovered this amazing Italian brand called 10A, they do great suspender trousers.

    e.e: Designer Christopher Shannon featured rather heavily in one of your recent ‘Metal’ editorials. A fledgling fashion mind financially coddled by the NEWGEN MEN sponsorship in A/W ’10, are you aware of any exciting under-the-radar designers we should know about?

    S.R: I recently visited the studio of jewellery designers Yunus and Eliza, that was such a visual treat, their work is so beautiful. Also, designer Johanna O´Hagan´s body of work is really fascinating. Course the current bunch of London menswear designers, Sibling, Matthew Miller, Shaun Samson, Martine Rose etc approach to menswear is so fresh, definitely worth keeping an eye on to see how their signature develops.

    e.e: The earlier mentioned editorial and your Metal set starring model Dan Felton dressed in head-to-toe Lucas Ossendrijver @ Lanvin, featured wardrobes exclusively compounded of a single label. Is there an ease when aiming to realise a cohesive editorial in this way or is this blinkered approach with limited options somewhat dull?
  • S.R: I always find it challenging working on features with just one brand. Adding your point of view on a total look from a collection is not that easy. When I do mix and match it all comes together in a more natural way, and it's easier to show my personal point of view on whichever trend or story I'm working on.

    e.e: As the relatively newly appointed Menswear Fashion Editor of Metal, how exactly are you looking to develop this section of the platform?

    S.R: Well, the aim is to show a current point of view, trying to be directional, and moving away from the classical perception of menswear. I think at this particular moment the male industry happens to be quite exciting, there's so much to play around with. At the end of the day fashion, for me, is about having fun.

    e.e: Speaking of cheerful positivity, how do you chose to occupy your time and cleanse your mind away from any studio based dressing dilemmas?

    S.R: I'm pretty average in this department, I visit expos, watch films, go to gigs, generally make sure I'm out and abut, clubbing is fun if there's something good happening. I enjoy the more mundane domestic stuff also, cooking and gardening helps me to clear my mind, as does exercising. Although I haven't been very good at the latter over the last couple of months.

    e.e: Sounds like a fledgling New Years resolution. So, finally, elysium.e: a place or state of perfect bliss. When are you at your happiest?

    S.R: Well, obviously I just came back from a month break back home, which was perfect, so relaxing. In terms of work, there is a moment during shoots when everything starts coming together and you realize the result will appear as expected, skillfully moulding the direction by connecting with the team. This doesn't always happen, but when it does its brilliant...

    Final final word, big thanks to Santi for taking the time out during his break to answer these questions. I highly recommend checking the linked site below to marvel at his portfolio in its entirety.

    Santi Rodriguez Website