Tim Chan is a big part of my little LA family. He moved here just three months before Paul and I arrived here and we’ve all been figuring out this mysterious place together. We knew each other from Toronto, but now he’s part of a growing circle of people that I hang out with regularly in LA. If there’s anything tough about moving to a new city, it’s meeting new people. Luckily for me, Tim and I connected easily and I really admire his hard-work, ambition and drive. Besides being the community manager for the uber hip company WILL Leather Goods, he’s also the co-founder and editor of Corduroy Magazine and eyewear blog, The Spectacled. Meet Tim!
What inspired you to launch Corduroy Magazine?
I have loved magazines ever since I was old enough to save up money to buy copies of Nylon and GQ (and Teen People back in the day!) As a writer, it was always a dream of mine to one day publish my own magazine and I always had these big ideas of how it would turn out. I wanted something that would combine my love of pop culture and fashion, with an artistic sensibility. A lot of people find pop culture annoying, and others find art publications to be pretentious; I wanted something that would combine the two in an accessible, engaging manner.
I love printed matter and the tactile experience that you get from reading a magazine. There’s something special about flipping through the pages that you can’t get from reading something on your iPad on laptop. I also love the nostalgia of magazines – that feeling you get from curling up in bed reading an article, or tearing out pages to put on your inspiration board.
What were the biggest lessons you learned from such a big undertaking?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to just go for it! So many people talk about their big ideas but very few actually go through with them. I’ve also learned to stick to your gut – it sounds cliche, but it definitely holds true in the publishing industry. You’ll never be happy if you’re constantly chasing trends or trying to please other people. At the end of the day, even if I’m stuck with 500 copies of Corduroy that didn’t sell, at least it’s 500 copies of something that I can stand behind.
You recently moved to LA from Toronto! What spurred such a big change?
I love Toronto and it’s my hometown, but I was feeling complacent and wanted to challenge myself both personally and professionally. I had spent four years living and working in New York, so I decided to give the West Coast a try. L.A. has surprised me with how diverse and exciting it is; there’s an energy here that’s demanding yet laidback at the same time, and I think it’ll really push me to dream bigger and work harder. Also, the #PolarVortex doesn’t exist here.
Why did you decide to start a new blog (The Spectacled) that is dedicated strictly to fashionable eyewear?
When I first started going to events, people would recognize me as “that guy with the glasses.” At first, it kind of stung: I mean, I was an editor, I was a television producer, and to them I was just some guy with nerdy prescription frames. But slowly, I realized how lucky I was to have my glasses as my calling card. So many people want to be remembered for something – for anything. If people were going to remember me by my glasses, I would incorporate that into my personal brand. Part of that brand extension has been starting an eyewear blog – inspired by my love of street style, and the fact that I’m always looking for cool glasses.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is pretty simple: a collared shirt under a chunky sweater or cardigan, and a pair of dark jeans. It hasn’t changed much since I moved to LA, except maybe I’ll sub a vintage sweatshirt for the sweater and roll up my jeans just a little bit more.
I used to wear fancier shoes, like brogues and boots, but since moving to LA my footwear game consists of a pair of well-worn Converse Chucks that I’ve had since 2010 and a pair of leather huaraches from Will Leather Goods.
Which menswear labels and lines do you swear by?
My go-to brands are APC and Steven Alan. I just bought a great jacket from Patrik Ervell recently, and I also have some great pieces from Swedish label, Our Legacy. The rest of my closet consists of pieces from Club Monaco, Uniqlo and J. Crew.
What’s a typical day for you like?
My Corduroy partner lives in New York, and the friend I run The Spectacled with, lives in Toronto, so my day consists of a lot of Skype calls and WhatsApp messages. Typically, I’ll wake up early to call my Corduroy partner in New York and we’ll go over business emails we need to respond to, and plan for any interviews or meetings that day. I’ll touch base with him again at night to go over more creative things, like editing photos and finalizing layouts for the next issue. The evening is also when I settle in to blog for The Spectacled. I try to actually do some research on the frames we photograph, as opposed to just describing how the glasses looked with someone’s outfit. I’m interested in how the frames were constructed, what materials were used and the story behind the design.
What is the single most important non-negotiable thing for you when designing your lifestyle and career?
Never settle or feel like you can’t get better. I’m constantly experiencing new things and meeting new people and I always want to look for ways to grow – whether it’s in the way I interact with others, or the way I shape my personal brand. The moment I feel like I’ve “made it” is the moment where it’s time to move on to the next project.
What do you do to de-stress?
I live 20 blocks from the ocean, so whenever I have free time, I’ll grab a blanket and magazine and sit on the beach for a couple of hours. I also like road trips, so I can get away from the city and unwind. A friend of mine has a place in Palm Springs, so it’s been my go-to for a quick weekend away.
Best piece of life advice to share?
There’s a difference between schmoozing and networking. Also: Be genuine.