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Beyond the Runway: Ty McBride and Lookbook Producing

Ty McBride is not only the name and brains behind Ty McBride Industries (TMI), he’s also a Shoe Guru and self-declared: 1. Power-gay-in-the-making, 2. Cliffs Notes to pop culture iconism, and 3. Lover of gin-based products. Recently, one of TMI’s clients, the excellent shoe retailer, Solestruck, commissioned Ty for their summer essentials lookbook for summer 2011. We got to talk to Ty about the shoot, what really goes on to make it happen, what he does in the fashion industry, and what’s next.

M.I.S.S.: What was your role for this lookbook?


M.I.S.S.: What do you do beyond putting lookbooks together?

I currently own my own branding company, focusing my work primarily on the footwear industry. My services range from buying, branding, direction, styling, lookbook production, trending, blogging, media contact, PR/BR platforms—in short, everything that can combine to create the feeling behind a brand, be that a retailer or a collection.

Did I mention I am big into networking?

M.I.S.S.:  How did you come to doing lookbooks?

I used to work for a company that had never produced a lookbook; one day I was like, “I wanna do a spring lookbook,” and they said yes. The lookbook went on to drive great response, increased sales, and was a focal point for my work with that company. We then started producing them several times a year, both printed versions and otherwise.

M.I.S.S.: What went on leading up to this shoot?

Well, luckily on this shoot I had a great assistant, Stefan Svan— he is an Icelandic dream-come-true to work with. We start from zero. I develop the theme, concept, budget, direction, styling boards, cast models, pull clothes, stress out, read the weather report, style, arrange, hire a photographer, scout venues, make a back-up-plan, order food for the day, steam, style, assist, cheer, then undo it all—topped off with thank you notes! I pride myself on creating GREAT work for my clients—on  a realistic budget. Also, for most of my life I have lived in this mid-tier fashion world—I am not working for some giant fashion house, so I know what I can work with, pull off, and go for. I always say I provide something accessible, but amplified enough that it reads editorial or edgy.

M.I.S.S.: What did you aim to do with this lookbook?

My goal is when the girl is browsing this lookbook, she can see herself, then she can shop the look. For example, I cast one of the girls for this shoot, Vanessa, off of my client Solestruck’s twitter account. Using real girls who may/may not have tons of experience is tricky, but it also brings to life this “slice of life” feeling that I feel is important. I want to reach out directly to the consumer— I want her to hear me say,”You can live this brand!” I got lucky with Vanessa. Not only is she gorgeous, she was fun, and I was able to keep her going through the shoot. By the end of the day she was throwing up Tyra moves for the camera—I was happy.




Working the lookbook shoot set


M.I.S.S.: What was unexpected about this shoot?

The weather! It rained and poured all day. I had planned to shoot this outside— like glimpses of three Brooklyn girls on a normal summer day, then. . . rainstorm! Sometimes you just have to work with what you have and react to what you are given.

M.I.S.S.: What went perfectly?

The photographer was a real surprise. It was our first time working together and we had just met a week before. He is from Spain and while his English is good, I wasn’t sure if he was getting everything I said or understanding all of the concept. And, when you are working, everything is fast and about getting the shot—so when I saw the images, I truly knew that he and I had a good synergy, and that it really worked despite small language barriers. I would love to work with Jose again; we are in talks already.

M.I.S.S.: What’s your favorite part of your job?

No two days are the same! I like the freedom to try new things and explore new concepts.

Shots from the finished lookbook

M.I.S.S.: What are you most proud of to date?

Workwise, I am just proud that I have a vision and I stick to it. I have a very straightforward way of working—and the shoe industry is small—so I am happy that my vision is understood in the realm that I work in. Granted, my approach is not for everyone, but those who get it, usually really get it.

M.I.S.S.: What would you ideally like to work on next?

I have a dream project I want to do for a lookbook/campaign. It’s part reality show, part crowd-sourcing. No more details until I pull it off.

M.I.S.S.: What does it take to put together a lookbook?

Charisma. Uniqueness. Nerve and Talent. HA!

Check out the completed product from Ty’s shoot, the Solestruck Summer ’11 lookbook here: The CheckList· SOLESTRUCK summer 2011 lookbook

Love it? See more of Ty’s projects and other Solestruck lookbooks!

Image Layout: C-Rocka

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