By Hannah Yakobi
Photography by Kareen Mallon
What started out as an experimental website has led to a well-known blog. Jack Harding is the founder of Oh Wow You Wore That and with a background in the industry he has gotten his feet wet in many different aspects of fashion – ranging from marketing and PR to writing and blogging. He chats with FAJO Magazine about the growth of his business since April and its expansion around the world.
When and how did you get started in the industry?
I’ve been in fashion since I was about 14. I started my first job in retail like most people and moved up relatively quickly through some mid-level and senior level positions. I’ve also done some marketing internships, including my work at Tilley Endurables, that really helped me build my knowledge.
Six months ago, I think as a joke, I decided to start a blog and I can’t believe how much it has grown. I really want to maintain it and do a minimum of one post per day. I also want to make it really interactive and involve other people with the site. I found that a lot of publications I was looking at have built up fantastic names for themselves, but when you look at who they cater to it’s only Toronto. So I wanted to try something a bit different, and pop up in different countries. I started getting writers in Mexico City, London, Paris and Greece – and the places where you wouldn’t really expect fashion bloggers to write from. I try to feature guest blogs – so they can do daily posts or weekly ones. A lot of them have their own blogs or write for newspapers or magazines in their own countries and just want more online exposure.
How did you come up with a name for your blog?
My forte is in marketing, I really enjoy it and try to focus on experimental marketing more than anything else. So I thought, what is the best way to cause a really negative stink? Why don’t I do an anti-sartorial, with bad street fashion, just as a joke? But within the first few weeks of it being up, the numbers were very high, so I decided I really wanted to move past that and make it a business. I turned it into a real site and expanded with social media.
Does the name have a negative connotation? Oh wow, you wore that? As in: you really went there?
Originally, yes, it came across as somewhat of a negative connotation. But as it evolved, it became more of: “Oh wow, you wore that.” It has a positive meaning: as in, really wouldn’t have thought of wearing it that way, but you did it in a creative way.
How much time do you spend on your blog?
I want to make the site a little less about me and more about fashion in general. Between writing, keeping up with social media and connecting with everyone, I’d say it’s at least five to six hours a day.
How else are you involved in the fashion industry?
I do media relations for Pixie Mood which is a leather hand bag company, and also work with a Canadian lip balm brand. I do freelance writing and marketing and I’m also studying Fashion Management at George Brown College.
Where do you go to find stylish clothing?
I try not to shop in one place, because then things start to get too regular. I stick to Canadian clothing. Since I started this site, I realized that it’s important to keep the fashion at home and to really support local industries. A lot of my jewelry comes from different designers, including Emily Woudenberg. I’ve also worked with Breeyn McCarney and have Fluevog shoes.
Is there a person who has really impressed you recently?
One of my main inspirations is a designer out of Mexico City whose name is Melania. I featured her collection called Mexico City 11000, named after the postal code of where she is. Everything she has created is so uniquely her and so opposed to what the industry is about. It’s really fresh and different.
What aspects of fashion do you most believe in?
Shopping locally. I think it’s so important to give the attention, respect and business to those around you, because Canadian fashion is overlooked a lot and I think there are many fantastic designers and companies that could really use the promotion and the business.
Describe your closet.
It’s full! (laughs) Really, there is no flow to it. There are a lot of pieces that individually may not be that great or too out there. What I always tried to do was build a style that is uniquely my own. I build around a piece. So instead of buying 10 statement pieces, I would buy one and build around it.
If you had to name one person that you would really like to meet, who would it be?
I’d really like to meet Kelly Cutrone. I’ve read both of her books and they are very inspiring. I’m more intrigued in her as a person, as opposed to her career. I think she is a very polarizing person but that is what the best people are.