Leveling up with Brad Wong
two twenty one afternoon. just around the time the heat picks up, but luckily for me, i was indoors. sitting at 'joe coffee' off lankershim (north hollywood), i was enjoying the calm ambience. an iced coffee was made here and there and the very few locals, who were lucky enough to find a quiet spot around the cafe, were spending their afternoon buried in books and computer screens. it was chill.
tuned to the peaceful sounds of the coffee shop, i looked over at the line when business picked up. from no line, to a million plus, in seconds, i noticed everyone in line had a story to share. noise levels rose and laughs took over. with a line of flailing arms and reenactments, the zen was gone. looking away, i realized i missed something in that line. taking a second look, i spotted a guy way in the back of the line, hidden, behind all the obnoxiousness. he wasn't like the others. he was serene, majestic, tranquil. he brought the zen back. it was bradleydubbs.
you're a filmmaker, a storyteller, a creator, an artist. it's easy to box you in as one of these, but i'd love to hear from the man himself. who is bradleydubbs?
hard question. sometimes, i don’t even know who i am. honestly, just cause, everything i do is meant for me to grow as a person, so i feel like a charmander that hasn’t evolved into a charizard (pokémon characters). i’m still trying to level up. everything i do has a purpose and i don’t think i can define myself as one thing.
even after many years of leveling up, we all still have quirks that make us who we are. care to share?
after watching the movie signs, when i was ten, i was super scared of aliens, and so i started sleeping with the covers over my head, because i thought that if an alien was looking through my window from up in the sky, they’d see an empty bed cause i’d be covered. i didn’t think that when i was ten, aliens probably had infrared technology and x-ray. because of signs, i still sleep with the covers over my head. not necessarily because i’m afraid of aliens, but because i adopted that habit. it was all because of signs.
it's a good thing you're not using those covers to hide your style! with the many looks in your closet, do you have a signature?
yeah! i don’t really think i can say that i invented it. it’s also like filmmaking, where you see someone else’s movie and you’re like “oh, i like that aspect of it. i’m gonna take some of it”. i’d say a lot of my style is influenced by zen and minimalism and even a little bit of futurism, cause i like sci-fi movies. so, i like those clean lines, solid colors and a lot of monochrome, more like neutral colors.
you have your signature now, but what was your style like before you found your zen inspired look?
growing up, my mom instilled in me that how you present yourself is how people will judge you. you can never make another first impression. she always beat into me, that i can’t look like a slob, that i have to look presentable, even if it’s just going out. and i guess in college, after i got away from my mom, and going to college in arizona, i sort of bro’d out and wore tank tops, just cause it was really really practical. once i came out to la [los angeles] and saw everyone dressing up again, i was like “man… la is about impressions”. people give it (la) crap for being so superficial, but there is truth to people judging you on the first meeting, and sometimes in la, especially for me as a creator and a filmmaker, the first meeting is all you’re going to get, so you need to be on your a-game and look presentable. so, i guess in short, moving out to la was a catalyst to me paying more attention to how i looked, how i dressed, how i carried myself. and really just not giving anyone any unintended reasons to not have a meeting with me again.
well, we'd love to definitely meet with you again! too soon? okay... on another note, you mentioned how you've always looked presentable growing up, and that means having to go shopping! what kind of a shopper would you say describes you the most?
recently, i’ve gone through sort of a lifestyle change. before, i’d shop sales and buy as many pieces as i could. this happened when i moved. so, now that l have a job and that i’ve moved for the first time within la, i was like “man, I really need to adopt a more minimal lifestyle”, so i’ve been trying to embrace a philosophy of quality not quantity- instead of buying a bunch of really cheap, small pieces, from 'h&m' or 'forever 21', or just discount clothing stores, i’ll save up my money and buy like a really nice quality piece. something that’s universal, that really won’t go out of style.
as cool as you look going shopping, i'm pretty sure you look even cooler when you're going somewhere even more important... like the bar. want to let us in on your look?
i think it’s a balance between dressed up and not so dressed up. whenever you go to a bar, you’ll see people who are totally trying too hard- overdress. they stick out like a sore thumb and i’m guilty of doing that too, when i first started to dress up. i’ve adopted a more, go with the flow zen approach. and i always default to certain outfits. i’ll usually do all black. usually skinny or tapered pants, dark colors, and maybe like an accenting bomber jacket with a splash of color or maybe it’s all black. i usually use jackets to accent an all black underneath. i’ll usually do all black and then maybe a dark denim jacket or a dark bomber jacket.
you certainly have some good tips for guys, but you can't leave the ladies hanging. what is bradleydubbs' must have for every woman?
i’m quoting my girlfriend on this. she says one really nice leather jacket. it’s cool, it’s badass, it’s dark, it’s mysterious, it’s sexy, and leather jackets are classic. if you’re going to invest in a piece, whether it’s a statement piece or an everyday piece, leather jackets are the way to go. they never go out of style and they’re leather, so they’re durable. you might spend a lot on it, but you’ll keep it for a long time and you’ll wear it a lot.
so true. especially how they won't go out of style, but trends change so much and so fast. what do you think your style will look like ten years from now?
honestly, i think it’s going to be pretty much the same for two reasons: one, because of that sort of philosophy, where it’s quality over quantity, buying really classic, nice, basic pieces that are timeless, that have history of being timeless and hopefully stay timeless, i think i’ll be wearing a lot of those similar styles, like a leather jacket. two, usually when i find something that i like in a store, and i know i’m going to wear it a lot, i usually buy two of it. just in case.
two of everything? smart. any final advice to the guy that wants to improve their style?
start with finding something clean and modern to wear. usually it’s either a basic black t-shirt that’s either long cut or fits really well, pair of black jeans, a nice pair of shoes. so much can be done with that. from there, you can build, because the palette you have is so versatile and so neutral. if you get an accenting jacket or accenting shoes, or any accent piece, it’ll look pretty cool and sleek and modern.
you can level up with brad on instagram.