Interview with Jason Salzenstein – Editor Trunk Show
Trunk Show is your second book, can you tell us a little about this one?
Of course! After finishing Brief Encounters – the first book – I took a little time off, then moved into the library, where I buried myself in research for months… OK, I’m totally kidding- actually I just wanted another excuse to spend a few months looking at almost-naked guys!
In all honesty, although I don’t try to take take these books too seriously, I did spend a lot of time looking at the history of men’s swimwear. Not just how styles have changed over the years, but how society has both affected and reflected those changes. I think it’s interesting to look at how things have changed in greater society, alongside the more “European” styles of swimwear have become more accepted – and fashionable – in in the U.S. Of course I know that most people who pick up the book are just going to look at the guys; my hope is that if they buy it, they look at it a dozen times and finally decide to read some of it!
What made you write Trunk Show and Brief Encounters?
As a style editor in the gay media world, I reviewed a lot of beautiful coffee table books, and have written introductions and forewords for a few. Someone at Bruno Gmunder – the publishers – had read some of these and asked if I would be interested in doing an anthology. I realized that putting a book like this together is a lot like putting together a fashion editorial or runway show- which I’ve done a lot.
Pictures above are by Allan Spiers (left) and ES Collection (Right). Both are in Trunk Show.
What brands do you think are doing a great job with their advertising and imagery?
In general, I have a lot of respect for brands that understand and recognize the value of their image, especially in the long-term. There’s been a lot of brand erosion over the past 10-years, even among major names that have been around for decades. Part of this was due to the rise of the web and social media, and of course the economic conditions over the past years. There are still a few labels who’ve managed to weather the storm; whose brand identity hasn’t suffered. Louis Vuitton is the perfect example; they don’t compromise and everything that bears their logo has been carefully considered to ensure it fits the brand and the target customer.
In the world of underwear and swimwear, all of the brands that I included in the book are my favorites. I know this may sound like a cop-out, and it might seem like “too many” favorites, but given that I looked at almost 100 different brands when I began working on Trunk Show, the handful that I chose really stand out.
If I had to narrow that down further, in terms of imagery my personal favorites are aussieBum, Teamm8 and Skmpeez. The photography, the composure, the styling… all three brands just do a really good job of bringing everything together. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the guys they use are scorching hot!
What made you write both books? I have Brief Encounters and think it’s a great book.
Thanks! Unfortunately, after underwear and swimwear, there’s not a lot of places to move on to for a third volume, that let’s me stick with my favorite philosophy of as-little-clothing-as-possible! (Although I’ve been working on that one, so don’t count it out…)
Where can people buy this book?
I’d love it if everyone could but it at their local independent bookstore, but it’s also available at gay book and gift shops, most Barnes & Noble stores, and of course online at Amazon etc.
Any other plans for the future?
Hopefully more books! I’m also working on expanding my blog and focusing more on my creative consulting. I work with a few brands and local stores, on everything from window design and displays to broadening their brand and improving the customer experience. I’m also in talks for a possible radio or web show focused on eco-friendly and easy DIY home decor and gifts, so we’ll see!
Stay tuned we will have Jason on a podcast soon!
I’d love it!