For this week’s Uniform Project, photographer Sarah Blais got hyped up on her new favorite espresso drink, the Cortado (made by Gillian at Sam James’ coffee bar), and blitzed around the city for coffee dates with some cool barista dudes, finding out what was in their wardrobe… and on their minds.
Nicholas Free of Belljar Café is a 29-year-old barista/writer that is really into D’Angelo’s Voodoo (2000) right now. He makes a mean cappuccino and rocks a Brixton chapeau like no other. Nic’s been at Belljar for the past 6-months, and makes sure his daily uniform is clean and comfy. His shoes are Vans, jeans are Levis, sweatshirt is Our Legacy, and the bracelets are straight friendship. Generally he shops at his friends stores including Philistine, Francis Watson, and the Drake General Store — but, really, anything vintage works for him. Nic likes serendipity; he once had this craving for a shark-tooth necklace, and the next day his friend gave him one. It was one of those “ask the universe” moments.
The next stop was Dark Horse Espresso Bar at Queen & Euclid where Chris Vaandering made Sarah a classic Americano and chatted about his workwear along with philosophy. Chris started at Dark Horse in October after living in Australia for four years, where he opened a café with some friends in Sydney and earned his coffee skills. His head-to-toe is usually on the dark side, like his boots from Topman with his black Nudies from General Pants in Australia. Online Chris frequents ASOS and Urban Outfitters. When he isn’t making coffee, he’s watching indie films, and reading books at local pubs. Right now he’s reading Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be), a study on how society’s return to absolute truth.
At Sam James’ little pocket of a coffee bar, Sarah enjoyed her first ever Cortado espresso and chatted with Mr. James himself. The way he puts it is, he has two uniforms: one for work, and one for home. His work clothes are from “Kensington’s best kept secret” (until now, sike!), a little shop called Shoneys. They’ve got great vintage clothes in prime condition and at price points you can’t argue with ($10-20). One time, one of his customers noticed the tattoo of a pocket that he has on his hand and was so stoked he gave Sam a bunch of Levi’s swag. Sam describes Levi’s as sturdy, well-fitting, staple pants that go a long way.
For his other uniform, he frequents Robber on Queen (there is a dope dude section in the back with Filippa K, Wood Wood, and Brooklyn Tailors). When Sarah met him, he was rocking an APC jacket he got in New York, a Wood Wood sweater, Levi’s pants, and Red Wing boots he got at Model Citizen; his girlfriend picked up his scarf in Italy. His favorite tune right now is Big Sean’s “Ass,” but normally he listens to “real ra,” and occasionally some Neil Young.