Hope you’re all feeling stellar and enjoying the opportunity to layer your threads with the cooler climate creeping upon us. Yeah the jacket and boots weather is here, making it the perfect week to focus on John aka @vintage_engineer_boots.
John is a US Marine Corp (loved typing that) who has a passion for raw selvedge denim but most importantly old-school, hardcore, engineered boots. His style is synonymous to what an all-american hero should look like and that’s why I love his feed.
He’s not scared to post pictures from his personal life and also update us on his daily workouts but it’s done in such a manner that the focus is the threads. At the same time it carries a certain personality that almost anybody can relate to. It’s good stuff!
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: John Villanueva aka @vintage_engineer_boots
LOCATION: New Orleans, Louisiana
OCCUPATION: Active Duty U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sergeant
1. So Why Instagram?
While I absolutely enjoy updating my blog (www.vintageengineerboots.com) and being able to reference its archived information (I always find myself referencing information I forgot was even posted when someone asks me for my opinion on boots), I find that Instagram offers an easier platform to share my interests in tiny snippets with a thumbnail overview — sort of a mini blog if you will.
2. Why Denim, Boots, Workwear, Ruggedness?
In the late 1980’s / early 1990’s, as a die-hard fan of classic flicks, I became fascinated with the iconic jeans, t-shirt and boots look mainly as a result of watching “The Wild One” and “Rebel Without a Cause.” This led to a desperate pursuit of locating a pair of “motorcycle boots” as seen on Brando and Dean. A pursuit, that without the luxury of the world wide web, proved to be incredibly challenging. At the first opportunity, I purchased my first of pair of Engineer Boots in April of 1991 from a small shop in San Jose, California.
When I began hanging out at the local Rockabilly clubs; however (1992-1994), this new world of 1940’s/1950’s gabardine slacks, Ricky / Hollywood jackets and Snap Jacks caught my attention. While still reaching back to denim and tee basics, I was determined to build a collection of “Cat Clothes.” This lasted for the better part of fifteen years until realizing being in work uniform took up most of my time and I didn’t go out as much. It just wasn’t practical for daily wear, and so I decided to let most of it go and transitioned exclusively to rugged wear.
3. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of “Instafashion” and the community it is creating?
I really enjoy it! Whenever I peruse my popular feed I often find myself absorbed into this interesting and ever-changing world of fashion. So good!
Gone are the days when someone was looked at as being different for wearing certain things not consistent with the social norm — My friends and I definitely stood out for wearing cuffed jeans, a flannel and leather jacket in high school; a style that, today, represents a large population. I feel that “Instafashion” helped to broaden the scope of what society deems as “acceptable” and people are more willing to embrace the idea of experimenting with their own personal style.
4. Top 3 brands to shop and why?
As much as I’d like to purchase everything the below three brands offer, my reality is being in uniform or physical fitness attire eighty percent of the time with very little to dedicate to towards my passion for quality goods. That being said, I have to choose my items very wisely rather than purchase things to have them hang in the closet.
– Mister Freedom: Christophe Loiron is notable for applying unique and thoughtful twists on traditional (and his own original) designs. His high level of attention-to-detail and creativity have earned him a solid reputation and is the breath of fresh air my wardrobe has desperately needed.
– Levi’s Vintage Clothing: I purchased my first pair of Levi’s Selvedge (Buckleback 702XX) from a shop in Iwakuni, Japan called The Dan in mid-1990’s which served as a catalyst for what was to become my fascination with LVC.
– Rising Sun: Based on my Instagram feed, one could probably deduce that the Lot. 64s are my favorites. True. But, my next favorite is the Rising Sun Blacksmith Jean. One of my biggest regrets is not having the wherewithal to pick up their A.V. Elfelt & Company 1870’s reproduction jeans when I had the chance. Something tells me Mike Hodis may put out something similar through his new venture, @runaboutgoods (fingers crossed).
5. Where’s your favourite place to shop these brands?
I always try to visit brick and mortar retailers during my travels; however, New Orleans (NOLA) doesn’t offer much in the way of denim, boots or workwear, so e-commerce is my only option.
6. When did you decide to voice and share your love for your clobber on social media?
I consider the very first VEB blog entry in May 2009 that showcased my newly purchased Horsehide Toys McCoy Beck Engineer Boots as my initial entry into the social media sphere.
7. What’s the secret behind your great images; Who takes them? When are they taken? How do you capture the magic your followers enjoy so much?
My wife Jillian (@jvonv) captures most of the photos (the good ones). She has a Canon Rebel T5I that is useless outdoors in NOLA from June through November due to the intense humidity and its effect on the lenses. I can be credited for the not-so-good ones using my iPhone, but I’m slowly working on improving my skills…at a snails pace. I plan on upgrading her camera, so I can take the Rebel.
8. What feeds do you like to follow and check in on? Who should we check out?
– @inn8chiro: I have a secret obsession with Alden Shell Cordovan boots and every time I’m compelled to pull the trigger I end up ordering a pair of Role Clubs, because my obsession for Engineer Boots is that much greater. I satiate my Alden appetite by looking through Andrew’s feed.
– @1lrg: Mark’s RRL collection is insane. I own only a few RRL pieces and his feed serves as an inspiration for things I want, but wouldn’t be able to wear, because I’m in my work uniform the majority of my days.
– @tksmithguitar: His guitar building and playing skills are phenomenal!
9. What tips would you give new starters on Instagram to help them get there feed off the ground and successful?
Start putting what you truly really love out there. Do it for yourself; don’t do it for anyone else. Just be you. The reason people follow you is for sharing who you really are. That’s what draws people to your feed.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) Only with you.
What would they be? And Why?
– @brianthebootmaker: Latest order of Role Club Engineer Boots. I’m letting Brian do his thing with this third build and I’m really excited to see what he comes up with. What better way to break them in than by climbing for coconuts?
– @misterfreedomstore: Mister Freedom Lot. 64 Okinawa Issue. They age so well with little effort and would look great by the time I’m rescued.
– Mister Freedom Stanley Tee: I wear these shirts every day in uniform and I’ve taken them with me on ship during my six-month deployment to the South Pacific. They have proven to take a beating while still standing strong wear after wear, wash after wash.
– @johnbull_private_labo: Light hooded denim parka. Perfect to keep me warm at night while still light enough to wear during the day. I’d fill the large pockets with a lot of gedunk before capsizing or crash landing onto the island.
Thanks John. Awesome shout on the Mister Freedom survival kit! If you have enjoyed his feature, as much as we have, make sure you head over to his blog (www.vintageengineerboots.com) for more denim and boot fixes!
So next week. Here what we have…
Enjoy the last step into the weekend men. Live life, love your family and enjoy them threads! See you all Monday.