Brian Whittaker at IMG Models. You may recognise him from that virtual-world of possibility, commonly known as the internet. At 17-years-old, he represents a cohort of influencers turning content into a business. Selfies are gold-dust within this paradigm; one where a name can travel like wild-fire, sticking to the minds of followers across the world. Photographed by Jade Danielle Smith, soft-shades merge with the natural background behind; in homage to pre-internet times, where none of Brian’s success would be possible. During the shoot, a crowd of ecstatic teenage girls appeared from seemingly nowhere. Imagine Beatlemania without the music – instead, Brian is the star of a perfectly-lit and curated Instagram feed.
Placed into the limelight, without a guide-book; he stands on a line defined by intuition. Despite the perceived falsity of the digital, and everything it entails – Brian is surprisingly humble, kind and fixated on the idea of authenticity. “Embracing yourself and accepting yourself, you know, just being yourself online. If you can fully be comfortable with yourself and feel like you don’t have anything to hide, you can post away or whatever, I feel like that’s a lot better because I used to have to think about certain angles or if I had a spot I would remove it using apps - now I don’t care about those things.”
Stylist Lewis Evans-Martin combines elements of workwear, in minimalist tones and dusted chinos. The noted retro-cool of Autumn/Winter ‘17 menswear filters into a 60s polo-neck and gym socks with Americana striping. It’s the poster-boy of a generation wired to technology; paired-back, nostalgic and carefree. After all, behind the personas and mirages – he’s still a young man, growing into invisible shoes. “My end goal is always to give people some perspective and maybe if they’re either people who are insecure or on the flip-side, people who don’t treat people very nicely, I just want to give out a positive vibe. Just be nice.”
For more words of wisdom, check out Brian’s full interview and feature in Issue 13, 'Tales of a new Generation, which is available to buy in shops now.