By Hannah Yakobi
Photography by Kareen Mallon
Chris Howson has a great sense of humour, a warm personality and a love for broadcast and fashion.
Howson is well-known in Toronto and many would easily recognize his voice, as he is the host and producer of Your Morning with Richard and Chris show that airs on Proud FM. He is also making his mark in the fashion world as the North American correspondent of Men’s Fashion Insider, a television show that can be watched across North America and Europe.
“It’s a very interesting market, because not a lot of people cover men’s fashion,” says Howson. “We are really hoping to get more spotlight on Canadian fashion designers and get more exposure for them.”
On a given day, Howson can be on radio and on television, hosting a show or reporting live from a fashion event.
“It’s kind of a funny job because, if you break it down, you will realize that I talk for a living!” he laughs.
It all started when he was only 16 and was asked to host a music showcase at his high school. He says he had a very deep voice and, after the show, people came up to him and said that he was very good at talking and was very engaging.
A few years later, Howson decided to study broadcast at the Niagara College and then worked as a news reporter in Peterborough, before making the leap to Toronto. He joined Proud FM as a receptionist and, “following series of very fortunate events,” became one of the hosts at the morning show.
He often tries to combine his love for broadcast with his love for fashion.
“I’ve always been a huge admirer of fashion and designers,” says Howson. “I’m so impressed by how designers can take these pictures in their minds and actually turn them into artwork. And they make it an accessible artwork because people live their lives in these pieces of art.”
He adds that his most interesting assignment so far was interviewing Shawn Hewson and Ruth Promislow of Bustle Clothing at the LG Fashion Week in Toronto.
“Talking to them was great, and their show was amazing,” he says. “They are Canadian and they do men’s clothing – designers like this are the reason why I love my job. I want to see people like that and I want to make sure that others see them too!”
And since he is surrounded by many creative and fashionable people on a regular basis, how would Howson describe his own style?
“My personal style is a lazy hipster. I like American Apparel, but I also try my hardest to find clothes that are made locally. I’m really against child labour, so if I’m buying Canadian clothing I don’t mind paying more money, because I know that this is how much the fabric costs, and the employees were paid at least a minimum wage. I’m also a huge fan of bespoke suits.”
Although his wardrobe is quite stylish, it also includes some of the outfits from his teen years that he doesn’t wear anymore and that he thinks are quite outrageous. For example, he still has the Dolce & Gabbana jeans that he bought at the age of 15. Howson calls them “the ugliest jeans in the entire world!”
He says they are light blue, acid-washed, with a grayish green colour. The front of them is completely torn, from the top of the thigh all the way to the ankle. Under the shredded pieces of jean there is jibberish white lettering on bright green background.
“They are just the worst jeans,” says Howson, laughing.
“But whenever I wore them in my hometown, people just assumed that since it looked expensive it was high fashion.”
And apart from all the crazy relics and stylish pieces, there is also a lucky item that he cherishes the most. It’s the yarn, hand-knitted socks that make him feel like his feet are “slipping into two clouds.” His mother bought them for him when he was just about to move to Toronto.
“I was terrified to be moving to a big city. I felt like an impostor, like I’m not supposed to be here. And so my Mom said: ‘When you put these socks on, your feet will be comfortable. And then you can just take that feeling everywhere else, wherever you go.’ Even when I didn’t have a place to go to, because my home was far away, I would always have these socks that came from my Mom, directly from her heart. I could just slip them on and think ‘I’m home!’”