In Jawnz We Trust: A Conversation With Jackson Ray of Fashion Moves Forward
Jackson, we'll start with some basic stuff - how old are you? Where do you live currently? What do you do for a living? And explain more about what you do on the side.
My name is Jackson Ray - I am 21 years old currently residing in New York City. I am founder of the menswear blog 'Fashion Moves Forward', I also work sales at a local boutique 'Patron of the New' and I photograph for Grailed and Arbitrage NYC.
Let's get into how the incarnation of Fashion Moves Forward came about? How did you see the gap in the market and what encouraged you to dive head first into starting the blog?
I started FMF (Fashion Moves Forward) as a platform for me to share creative individuals that I admired. It was a way for me to share other people’s knowledge and style with others. It was very minimal in its early stages, but since has turned into a place for people to share their style in a genuine way. I saw an empty slot where guys could go online and get inspiration through others. I started it not knowing it would become anything more, but here we are - still growing.
Did the death of Four Pins have any effect on your decision to start a purely mens focussed blog?
Four Pins was a huge inspiration for me. When I moved to New York, I was street styled by the legend George Elder and met Lawrence Schlossman (founder of Four Pins) at my first fashion week. It was a big deal for me considering these guys paved the way for me and a lot of other menswear enthusiasts. I have tried to incorporate some of their essence into FMF for sure.
Now I work closely with Lawrence at Grailed, and have a good relationship with all those OG Four Pins Gods (s/o Jian Deleon, Skylar Bergl, George Elder, and Jon Moy). Other than Four Pins, FMF was inspired by other creative people that I have followed for a while. It was built for the guys that weren’t getting featured on Hypebeast, but still deserved the recognition.
How experienced were you with writing?
So when I first started the blog, I was 17. I had no experience in writing, and I still don’t consider myself that great. My writing style comes from how I would joke around with my friends about fashion. It has seriousness, but can also make fun of something in a way that is easy to read. Fashion is intimidating enough for those not entirely in it, so I try to relate everything in a voice that is relevant to everyone. I can write a serious opinionated article, but I can also joke around and throw around adjectives like “it’s fire as fuck.” I think it’s good to have a voice that is relatable to everyone.
I personally think the best aspect of the blog is that great photographic content meets excellent writing - was photography always a big element of the process? Now that you are covering street style for Grailed and going to NYFW shows has that changed the process of content?
Street style was always a focal point for me when I looked at menswear blogs on Tumblr etc. I just started shooting and featuring my work on FMF. I improved a lot by just going out and shooting and now I shoot street style for Grailed weekly, and then when NYFW came about they asked me to cover it.
Fashion Week is my favorite time of year because it is just a big family reunion with all the menswear homies and photographers. I love the fact that I can make content through videos and photos that otherwise wouldn’t have existed. I love the fact that I can capture moments in time through the lens of my camera. Photography has become a big part of the identity of FMF. All I need is my camera and my laptop.
Speaking of Grailed what is your relationship with them?
I became homies with the guys at Grailed just through mutual friends and such, and then of course we made a short documentary on them for FMF. They asked me to shoot street style for them, as well as product photography for their influencer sales. The most recent work I shot for them was Nick Wooster’s product that they sold for him. I love everyone on the Grailed team, and I am very excited that I will be working an internship with them this Summer.
Where do you see Fashion Moves Forward in 5 years time?
FMF has grown a lot in the past three years, and I don’t see it slowing down. We have just started doing more YouTube content and will be opening a store section on the site very soon. We will be selling archive pieces as well as young & talented designers such as Rye Decker. We are hoping to present hand selective brands and pieces to give people only the best garments. We are excited to branch into e-commerce, as well as provide new media outlets for content.
FMF is something I really care about, and will always put effort into it to help others. You will never find anything of FMF that isn’t genuine. Everything on the site is hand selected by me and my amazing team of individuals who really just love fashion. I am very excited for the future of the site. I don’t know where it will be in 5 years exactly, but I know we will still be here talking about jawnz and the people in them.