Jacob Burton: Industry Insider, male model

Jacob Burton: Industry Insider, male model

Jacob Burton

How were you discovered?

I had a major accident in college that left me debilitated for a while actually. I broke my spine and more of my body, so I had plenty of time to lay and think. I was bored and unhappy in college. The injury changed my perspective on life and I always enjoyed acting so I was looking at ways I could seriously get into the industry from Knoxville (where I went to school in Tennessee) and still finish up my bachelors. My mom had always supported it and I had seen a lot of big name actors/actresses got their start in modeling because it really helps get comfortable in front of the camera and to perform. I submitted digitals to an agency in Atlanta called Chosen Model Management because it was a close enough drive from school for quick trips and a decent enough market to begin in a field I knew nothing about! From there I got scouted by D’management in Milan and voila!

Jacob Burton

What does it feel like to be on the runway?

I get the same nervous energy, adrenaline pump I would get from stepping on the mat to wrestle people. All eyes on you…it can be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time because I don’t think there’s anything particularly great about my walk!

Jacob Burton

What do you prefer commercial or runway work and why?

Commercial.  The atmosphere around fashion week can be exciting but its pretty basic, commercials or editorials allow you to move more freely and be expressive.

Jacob Burton

Who have you worked for, do you have a favorite client, why? 

I’ve done Maxim Italia, GQ, Esquire, Paper Magazine, Suit Supply, Nautica, Gant, Espirit, Gildan, Hugo Boss, a couple department stores etc. to name a few. The magazines are always so fun to shoot for…GQ shot in the World Trade Center which was an amazing experience…But Kohl’s always treats me so well and it’s like a reunion to team back up with all their stylists and creatives.

Jacob Burton

What is the most interesting shoot you have done?

I did an editorial in upstate NY after that “blizzard” last year and with the wind chill it was -11 that day. We were out in a barn for several hours that was not insulated and I was shooting outside with this incredibly beautiful horse. I remember hopping off him at one point and thinking my ankles were going to snap, the cold was unreal but we got some incredibly beautiful shots! Or, in Miami I was shooting for a German client during the season and we had a 6 am call time. The whole crew got together and rode early to the Everglades where we switched to airboats and took a long tour to an old cabin on a little island where we shot hiking gear for the first half of the day. Cruising along and seeing the alligators was really cool and that was my first airboat experience! Or one of my clients is a designer from Nicaragua, Jorge Vega Umana. He asked me to walk in his show in his country and flew me out to Menagua where I opened and closed in front of a massive audience, and was interviewed on TV. But after that we had 3 days to see his home country. We explored Grenada, hiked a volcano, swam in a lagoon in the mountains, and met some incredible incredible people. It was one of the best weeks of my life!

Jacob Burton

Favorite brands?

Right now I’m on a denim kick, I love 3×1. John Varvatos makes some of my favorite shirts though.

Jacob Burton

To see more images or book Jacob, visit D’management.

Luis Francisco, creator of VALVOELITE

VALVOELITE, luxurious, durable menswear.

How did you get your start in the industry?

As a kid I became completely infatuated with the design and construction of clothing. My brother use to paint on Tee shirts. I remember seeing that and going “wow I can make my own clothes”. I went from graphic designing to sewing my own samples. I started painting on tee shirts but it wasn’t enough. It drove me to heat pressing tee shirts. When I got my heat press is when I started doing custom tee shirts for people. Eventually I got bored of it and took some time to learn graphic design and got into screen-printing. I went and got an internship at a screen printing shop in Brooklyn. When I first started graphic designing tee shirts it was horrible. I remember trying to sell my designs to people and getting that, I don’t want to break your heart, face lol. But after years of doing random graphic design jobs and buying books and self-teaching myself, I developed my own style. I started paying attention to design composition which made me fall in love even more. I was a kid just hustling Tee shirts in NYC. Someone saw my Tee shirts on a band that played at SxSW and I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I’ve never been to Texas but my clothes have. I picked up sewing and started selling my own cut and trim pieces. By this time I established my own clientele base.I was a teen becoming and adult, not knowing what I wanted to do in life I took some time off and went to school for engineering. After I got my A.S in engineering I didn’t continues school because I wasn’t passionate about it. I started working on fashion here and there. Through some networks I got the opportunity to design for a few brands. Many of them were used at their fashion shows. After that I decided that this is my life’s journey.


Can you tell us how you started your own brand?

I started selling custom designs to people, and then eventually decided that I was a part of a culture that was missing in fashion, the perspective of fashion from my background. I came up with the name Valvoelite when I was 14. That was the first name that popped in my head and it was so different and weird. I think that’s when I was my most creative. I use that name to remind myself why I do this. I built a reputation for selling quality goods. Lil by lil, one customer at a time a brand was built.


Where do you draw inspiration?

I go to a lot of trade shows. I like looking at fabrics and I can spend hours looking at fashion shows. But sometimes the most inspiring thing is to live. When you have a story that can relate to people and you express that in your art, people instantly become attracted to it. I designed a shirt that had circles on the lower half of it. The inspiration came from trying to find myself. Comparing the circles to life, everyone is one individual circle but when we all come together there is a bigger picture. We can’t see it until we all come together. It’s kind of like, why do giant circular planets exist? We don’t know why but there is a reason.


Are there any particular trends or designers you absolutely love right now and why?

I’m a big fan of Thom Browne and Tim Coppens. They are both very different but I like the wearable fashion they design. Thom’s style is more a high end professional aesthetic. Tim has this street culture with high fashion elegance style.


What are your plans for the future of the brand?

We care going to start working on collections very soon. By next year I see us doing runway shows.


Who is your ideal customer?

The ideal customer would be someone who takes their time to learn about Valvoelite products. We enjoy customers that take their time to investigate why we do things a certain way. A man who enjoys quality, style, and durability.

Wale Oyerinde: Featured Artist

Los Angeles based fashion stylist, Wale Oyerinde

How did you get interested in fashion?

 Growing up, I wasn’t really exposed to fashion but I loved art and saw things differently, I would literally draw and paint on every blank paper I saw, I hated to see blank pages. I didn’t have fancy clothes but I had my “go-to” favorites. I didn’t discover fashion till I started entering design competitions and got my first internship at a fashion magazine. Finally! It made sense to me, I didn’t waste time at all once I discovered fashion, I worked in the editorial department, which helped me to artistically train my eyes and know what is good design.

I became a sponge and absorbed everything. I further went into retail as a sales associate and visual merchandiser to understand the fashion consumer, what they want and how they want it, I worked in e-commerce as a buyer to understand the business side of things and I still haven’t stopped learning more about the industry.

What are your favorite fall/winter trends for this year?  Fall/Winter for me is a time to hibernate, embrace the cooler weather and doing so in style. My favorite A/W2015 trends are

1.The shearling coat
2.The oversize sweater
3.Long line blazers
4.Winter suede
5.The chunky loafers

Who would be your dream client?

 I have many dream clients, I obsess over different brands season after season, but ultimately I will like to work with Celine, J.W Anderson, Acne Studios, Proenza Schouler, Jacquemus and work on the glossy pages of American Vogue & Dansk Magazine.

Who are some of your professional/personal influences?

 My professional influences come from a whole lot of places, from my environment to people, design and culture. I never try to block myself out of my environment because my next inspiration may come from happenings around me, or a word someone around me just said.

You’ve lived in multiple parts of the world. How does the industry differ from country to country?

Living in different parts of the world and adjusting to the industry standards of different countries can be a little challenging but that is where the fun begins. When I’m working in a particular country, I am able to automatically adjust to the industry standard without loosing my personal aesthetics. One needs to be able to absorb, refine and edit and communicate these ideas without changing what you stand for.

Click here to follow Wale’s latest styling and editorials.

Jeff Tomsik: Featured Artist

Jeff Tomsik is an international model with small town Midwest roots

How were you discovered? What was your first big job? 

I would like to answer this question by adding a link. My discovery… [Viewable on the right] in this video it explains my being discovered by Bruce Weber, as well as being able to shoot Hollister as my first Campaign.

Favorite Modeling Moments?

This is such a great question. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences through this crazy world of modeling. I’ve met amazing people from all over the world. Everyone from the art director mom at Sears in Illinois, top models, designers, and photographers of the world. I think my favorite moments* would have to be the ones I spent with models who became my friends through the years. Getting to hear their stories and watching them grow as individuals in this crazy business. When you run into another model at the airport or on set, and they have amazing news about their life or career. Those are my favorite memories and moments. Getting to hear about other people’s success is always amazing.

What was it like working with top photographers, designers, stylist, and models? 

I always thought it was such an amazing experience to be around such well rounded, cultured, and forward thinking minds. It was such a privilege every time I was hired for a Job. I would be flown to amazing and exotic places to shoot with some of the most wonderful people. Bruce (Weber) was always telling me about his past experiences and educating me on the business, working with Kate Moss was an eye opener in the sense of being taught the lesson that being humble and working hard still pays off. The lessons I learned from the people I worked with the light and sound guys all the way to top models and photographers will serve me through the rest of my career and life.

If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing? 

You guys don’t make it easy do you? Well I started out as a garbage man (boy), but I truly have no idea. My whole life (all 29 years) I was never sure what I wanted to do, and I was so lucky to fall into this crazy industry. I will answer this question by saying what I think I would have been good at if I knew what I know now. My entire life I’ve been an avid sports viewer and player. I love watching sports as well as listening to broadcasts by sportscasters. If I wasn’t modeling I would have gone to school to do broadcast journalism and try to find a way to be a sportscaster. I never saw myself as someone who could stay in an office doing a redundant job. I need a changing story and new people to tell it to me.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Jeff Tomsik on many occasions. Always a pleasure and I guarantee he will make you laugh all day! Jeff is represented by Chosen and has a long list of clients. Click here to see his campaigns and clients.

Featured Artist: Clark Lichty


Clark Lichty: Model/ Professional Beach Bum
Instagram: @clarklichty


Can you tell us when, how, and why you got your start in modeling?

I started in Chicago in 2007. I walked into the agency with a broken hand, cast on and everything. I was signed by David Love with Chosen Models, whom I love and adore to this day. I went on a national audition for a blackberry commercial and print campaign a few days later. I took my cast off to go into the audition and ended up booking the job. It was a huge 1 day job well into the 5 figure range and I guess I never looked back. I was a football player so I had to come down a considerable amount in size. I worked and worked and worked to do so, and it has really paid off.


What type of modeling is your favorite and why? Runway, commercial, editorial? 

A combination is nice because work never gets stale. I always say that commercial pays the bills but editorial is more creative. If I had to choose, I would choose editorial.


What is it like to be a model? Do you think there is a difference male and females in the industry? 

There are many stereotypes in the modeling industry. Many are true, but others are not. The biggest difference in males and females is the money. The top female makes over 50 million a year while the top male makes just over 3 million. It’s very competitive.


If you weren’t a model what do you think you would be doing?

I’d probably be a rodeo clown. 🙂


If you could work with a specific designer who would it be?

Dolce and Gabbana. They have beautiful campaigns and amazing clothes, what could be better?


How would you inspire others to pursue their modeling dreams?

I would tell them to move to one of the major cities and go for it and to not compare themselves to others. Imitation is suicide. Too often people don’t pursue their dreams. They make the “what if” mistake. I would rather ‘try’ and fail than ‘not try’ at all. “The only regrets in life are things that you DON’T do.”