Let’s talk to the guy that enraged Ivy-Style.com who happens to be one of the best friends I’ve made in menswear. Through the internet, that is.
You know how I talked about making menswear friends online? Jason Sandagon is one great example of that in action. Jason works in the menswear industry as a shop manager and buyer, but he’s so much more than that! We first “met” by literally sliding into each other’s DMs, cracking jokes about photography, Star Wars, and menswear, until I eventually invited him to my first ever menswear group chat (the first inklings of the Patreon Discord). Now we’re great friends who thankfully have a lot in common than just sharing a passion for menswear. It was only natural that I’d bring him on to talk about his style, similar to how the pod started by us talking to the Gooch Brothers.
That passion for menswear comes across very openly, especially if you’ve been an ardent viewer of our weekly Twitch streams (where he makes regular appearances) or made the jump to being in our Discord (where he is very active). Jason has a love for classic tailoring (taking inspiration from Ivy, vintage, and contemporary menswear), but he wears it with his trademarked “punk rock” approach. This doesn’t mean inherently dressing like a punk all the time- instead, he’s able to glean off the attitude and spirit of music and niche subcultures and tie them into how he creates an outfit. Jason states often that he doesn’t want to look corporate, though tailoring is still his mode of choice. I’m into that.
This is why I wanted to do an interview episode with him, which is quite rare for our podcast (due to a myriad of logistical reasons). We just have so much in common and it’s proof that there are other guys out there! I’m sure some of you already know a bit about Jason’s background from our streams, but it’s nice to have a dedicated platform for Jason to talk, whether it’s his familial background of bikers to his love of Taylor Swift- it all has formed his personal style.
I’m sure that Jason’s creative background has also played a part into his irreverent perspective of menswear (which sometimes triggers people). In the podcast, you’ll hear him talk about his major in Film & TV as well as a brief stint into stand up comedy; long time readers and listeners of the pod/stream will know that Spencer and I also have a similar background. Jason is also fantastic photographer, shooting lookbooks for our mutual friends at Atelier Fugue and having framed prints and books of his film photography scattered around his eclectic apartment. I definitely think that having creative hobbies and a previous career is formative in personal style that aims to be, well, personal rather than one dictated by dress codes and formality rules. White socks, lug-sole penny loafers, and slightly cropped trousers may be difficult for a finance bro, but an improv guy? I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Even if his attire isn’t exactly what I’m into, I definitely appreciate his fervor and confidence. There’s just so much to enjoy when gleaning over his fits. After all, he was one of the first people in my circles to rock a boldly colored corduroy suit; Jason later copped an orange double breasted velvet suit from Belvest, which honestly seems quite appropriate for him. His Nutter-meets-Punk Rock ideology is a unique one that results in such a fun take on the classics we all know and love. Like my approach to vintage, it’s not necessarily about replicating the exact pieces or silhouettes, but applying the vibe across his personal approach.
Of course this ultimately lead to him planting the seeds of his own brand, Mad King George. In the pod, Jason explains his vision, transitioning from ordering custom suits from Atelier Fugue to ultimately being inspired to design his own design from a new factory. The brand comes from a polymerization of everything that Jason has done in his life. DIY aesthetic and splashes of pink and black are found all across MKG’s instagram, almost echoing the plethora of tattoos that Jason has come to commission.
A white dad cap with “punk rock” in plain lettering was one of his first official pieces (he’s previously only sold photography prints), which quite a few of our mutual friends have purchased. His first suit from his factory is a soft shouldered “blazer” suit, named so not only because of its vibrant blue color, but because both the jacket and the trousers have the brass buttons; it might have been a mistake, but he loves it. The cut follows his own preference for tailoring- soft jacketing with lapels and a pleated-yet-cropped trouser. He also is planning on making an OCBD with a rolling contrast collar, a bit of a fuck-you to ivy purists. Honestly, the outpouring of personal style into a personal brand begs a Ralph Lauren-esque question: where does Jason Sandagon end and Mad King George begin?
I hope you do enjoy this episode with Jason, as he really is one of the best guys I know, being quite…unabashedly himself (we do address his uncanny doppelganger in the pod). He’s been such a positive force in our friend group and Patreon Discord and I’m glad that we’ve been able to connect not just over menswear, but in art, movies, and music. I can’t wait to be able to meet him in person and photograph him the way I’ve done all the stylish people I’ve met (over a boba of course).
He’s not a menswear friend, but a friend friend. And like my friends, Jason has great style with a unique approach that continually inspires how I approach my hobbies of menswear, writing, and photography. Now listen to the interview and try glean some of his punk rock attitude. I think we could all use it.
- 1:40 – Intro
- 3:25 – “They have to tie me to a dock, and unload all the goods that I’m carrying. I’m Spencer the Cargo Ship, toot toot.”
- 6:20 – Jason Sandagon
- 7:15 – “We should go full shock jock and interview our guests but they’re riding a sybian. We could be the Opie and Anthony of menswear.”
- 10:00 – “What Do You Want To Know?”
- 11:05 – “I work in menswear in the greatest city on the planet New York City, I manage operations for the store I work for, I do the buying, I get to influence people’s taste in clothing – I’m an influencer at heart.”
- 12:20 – “I don’t have to do any forecasting or trendwatching, the clients of the store tend to be in their late 30’s plus, so most don’t care about the trends. They’re starting to go through their mid-life crisis, they get the normal stuff or liberty print, the fun dinner shirt.”
- 19:50 – “I studied Film and TV production in college, and hated every minute of it. Which is a shame, everyone around me was having a great time. They loved it.”
- 20:15 – Menswear Journey
- 21:25 – “Throughout highschool I always liked tailoring, wanted to wear suits, even though they looked bad because I was poor. There wasn’t money to just buy suits, I had the paper route and saved up to go to Kohls.”
- 28:30 – “My look has come out of growing up in biker culture, that rebellion attitude. Most rebel with leather jackets and piercings or tattoos head to toe, but I didn’t want to be that person, now the rebellion is within my own menswear community. Bold colors, orange velvets, lack of navy suits, goes against the conformist mindset in menswear, particularly in New York City people and finance bros.”
- 31:30 – Influences
- 31:40 – “I moved to New York in 2016 a month out of college, Thom Browne had reached the common folk, it was no longer high-fashion. I got a job at Bloomingdales and you had to wear a suit, I didn’t like any of their stuff. But I liked Thom Browne, it looked different than what I had typically seen in tailoring. My girlfriend was doing a project on Tommy Nutter and after looking into him I realized that this was what I had been looking for. Figures like Elton John and Mickjagger, Edward Sexton. It had this boldness and romance that I had towards tailoring, but in this modular look that’s pulled from the 70’s. So now I’m not so much trying to copy those styles, but their attitudes and frame it for today.”
- 36:30 – Classic Entrepreneur
- 36:50 – “I have this vision in my head of what I want to look like, and no one is going to give me that. So fuck it, I’m doing it myself. I’ll do it live.”
- 43:30 – Punk Rock
- 44:05 – “My whole life I’ve been a huge fan of punk, emo, pop punk because I was an angry little boy. At the time, that whole look was very taboo. Now you see people that want that look, they get the leather jacket, but its popularity makes it less punk. So now, wearing a suit outside of a finance job is very taboo, so it’s redefining punk counterculture.”
- 49:15 – Music
- 49:30 – “I listen to a lot, not jazz. Or new country. And I’m not the biggest fan of trap, but everything else I’m cool with. The Mad King George playlist does span many genres. It’s also 4 hours because I hate short playlists, especially when they have the same songs. My family listened to a lot of hair bands, Bon Jovi’s, and new metal like Limp Bizkit stuff.
- 53:50 – Musical Talk
- 57:30 – “Don’t fuck God, learn about him. And then the rocks teach me about Christ.”
- 59:10 – The F. Elephant Castleberry in the Room
- 1:01:35 – “In 2017 I’d been piecing together this idea of what I wanted to be, and he was another piece of it. I’m not a huge Wes Anderson fan, they’re fun movies but that’s about it. Our inspiration is where we fork off. My photography’s inspired by the 60’s, and Andy Warhol, I didn’t take that from him.”
- 1:05:20 – Photography
- 1:05:30 – “I shoot on medium format now pretty much exclusively, and in clothing – when you approach making a garment, you have to take it slow and think about everything, because there’s no returns or re-do’s. It works the same with medium format film, I only have 16 shots to a roll, and that roll ends up being $15. And if I botch a roll, I won’t know until it comes out blank. It’s the same with garments, if I mess up a suit, I have to pay to have it remade, and now I’m out of that cost.”
- 1:09:20 – Mad King George
- 1:12:25 – “I don’t want to be a famous person or the brand to be the next Ralph Lauren, if I have a shop I don’t want someone coming in off the street because they need a suit, you want this specific suit and what we do. The house style is what you get and what you’re looking for. It is made to measure and we can do a lot of cool stuff, but at the end of the day you’re buying into not just the look of the brand, but the execution of the garments.”
- 1:19:00 – “There is no difference between myself and the brand, the same shit I make is the exact same stuff I want to wear. Is there a market for this, who knows and who cares, I just want to make cool clothing and if other people want to buy it that’s great, if they don’t then I’m gonna have cool clothing for myself. In that way I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not in this for the millions of dollars. I’m probably the worst entrepreneur.”
- 1:25:00 – “There is something about a strong shoulder that always comes off as weird to me, you just don’t look relaxed. The suit has to look relaxed for me, otherwise it’s too much of a power suit look.”
Thanks for listening and reading along! Don’t forget to support us on Patreon to get some extra content and access to our exclusive Discord. We also stream on Twitch and upload the highlights to Youtube.
The Podcast is produced by MJ and Matthew.
Always a pleasure,
Big thank you to our top tier Patrons (the SaDCast Fanatics): Seth Peterson, Austin Malott, Eric Hall, Philip Gregard, Audrey Jessica, Shane Curry, and Jeremy Osztreicher.