Back in the 1940s and 50s, there was such a thing as movie stars. They populated places like Saint-Tropez, Milan, Paris, and Venice, and it didn’t matter if they were wearing a tuxedo, a leather jacket, or a bathing suit; they had style, glamor, and an aura. We’re talking about Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, and others.
For the most part, in a world where we see pictures of actors with bed heads or their thongs showing as they get their morning coffee in Los Feliz, that type of cultivated enchantment (save maybe George Clooney) has disappeared.
Or has it? He may not be gracing the big screen anytime soon, but if you catch a glimpse of him on the small screen of your phone or tablet or better yet, in person, Steve Gonzalez conveys that same charm and panache – and it doesn’t matter if he is wearing one of our puffy coats and hiking boots or a beret with a checked sport coat, wide-leg-yet-tailored trousers, and bright yellow socks.
Yeah, it helps that a lot of his photos are taken in Old World cities like Lisbon, Rome, Guadalajara, and Florence, which he has dubbed his home away from home. And, sure, some of the photos have a sepia tone to them, adding to their classic allure. But it’s more than that. When you look at Gonzalez, the words that keep coming to mind are class and timeless.
It’s not only Gonzalez’s look that conveys this archetypal dash. Look at his photography for No Chaser magazine or the visual artistry and chic styling he’s created for countless brands, and you can’t help but be whisked away to another time and place where you can picture yourself a part of the world that Gonzalez has captured, and this is just how he wants it.
“I'm big on telling stories, so I want people to correlate where I draw my inspiration from or to understand the story I'm trying to tell with what I'm wearing on that day, depending on my mood,” he says.
Told through clothes, architecture, colors, landscapes, and people, these are well-crafted tales that have depth and meaning. “I don't know if people really know how obsessed I am about learning every day, whether it is styling, photography, or fashion history,” Gonzalez explains. “I am a student of the game, and I am always obsessing over something new that interests me.”
What interests him is absorbing everything he can about something and putting his own spin on it. “For me, what drives my outlook on style is always innovating, understanding the history behind the designer, inspiration from what and who I'm wearing,” he explains. This type of deep-diving doesn’t just go for the fashion world but also for the world at large.
For instance, ask him what has made the biggest impact on his work and life, and he’ll say his trips to Europe. “I have always been exposed to big cities and lived in them; discovering Italy and traveling there as often as four times a year has really allowed me to rediscover my personal style,” he says. “It has allowed me to immerse myself in the culture and learn many things, like disconnecting from work and being able to carry a conversation over a glass of coffee in the morning and truly appreciate the little slower moments in life.”
Maybe the reason he has such an innate ability to build stories in such a manner can be found in his youth. “My father wanted me to become an architect like him, my mother did too,” Gonzalez remembers . “However, my mother always allowed me to be myself, and when I was curious about something, she always encouraged me and exposed me to a lot of different things, like music, languages, and so on.”
It would be easy to say it was his mother who inspired his career in fashion, but, despite his father telling his son he wanted him to follow his career path, his father inadvertently motivated Gonzalez to take another path. “As a child, I was fascinated by my father’s wardrobe – he had such a diverse closet, suiting, loungewear, athleisure, a lot of footwear, you name it,” he recalls.
Growing up in Los Angeles and Mexico City, Gonzalez got a taste of two vibrant cultures that only further enthralled him. “In my teenage years, I was fascinated with style, clothing, footwear, and all the different subcultures that I was surrounded by,” he explains. “I truly believe that being exposed to all of those things made me appreciate and want to pursue fashion, menswear, and style.”
Living in New York City. Traveling the world. Working with legendary brands. Cultivating a following online. Gonzalez is someone who is at the top of the game when it comes to being a digital creator and savant of style. But with all that success comes a lot of juggling of responsibilities, work, and travel. In fact, he’s so busy that, like many creatives, he toils round the clock, which is actually the opposite of what he thought being his own boss would be.
“I left the regular 9-5, believing freedom was something that would come with freelancing, but I am constantly working,” he explains. “However, loving what you do and truly enjoying the process allows you to understand the type of lifestyle you’re getting yourself into. But I do allow myself to always have fun and enjoy myself with the amazing people I meet along the way.” Realizing how much he is working and how important that work is to his happiness has made Gonzalez take a step back and truly evaluate his creative process.
“For now, I really try to take on work I truly find a connection to and really enjoy. I also learned to prioritize what's going to take more focus and time,” Gonzalez says. But even if he loves a project, that doesn’t mean he can coast on his passion. He also likes to finish a job while his fire for it is still hot. “If I know I have a deadline and it requires hours of focused work, I love to put on some classical music or jazz and finish that project the same day,” Gonzalez explains. “I can't always go back to a project once I start and put the same energy and creative mind behind it.”
Another way that Gonzalez stays on top of his creative process is not waiting for inspiration to strike or relying on some sort of muse. Instead, he relies on a repetitive routine.
“For me, consistency in my everyday life is what has helped me the most. I try to get up at 6:00 am daily, read for at least 15 minutes or more, plan my day, revisit my calendar, hit the gym, have coffee, and skip breakfast or a meal until at least noon or later,” he says. “Given the nature of my work, being in different time zones or places, I'm not always following these rules; however, consistency, as stated earlier, is my setup definition for success.”
But, as most creative people have learned the hard way, success doesn’t come easy, and sometimes it doesn’t come at all. Gonzalez knows this firsthand, but it has never stopped him. In fact, it has aided him. “Failure has helped me find success in anything I do,” he discloses. “I learn so much from my failures or other people's failure journeys. Failure helps you build character and understand what needs to be readjusted to succeed.”
Just as he learns from his setbacks, Gonzalez, ever the student, learns from his shortcomings. Right now, he’s got so much going on that it is not surprising that he is excited about every new project and every new partnership. He can hardly wait to finish what he is working on and get started on the next thing, but he knows waiting is worth it. As he says, “Patience is truly a virtue, and when we want instant gratification, we tend to lose sight of what really matters, the value we care to give or provide, and we lose sight of the why and for whom.”
And what really matters to Gonzalez is his family, which is why if you ask him if he could do anything, he doesn’t talk about the brands he wants to work with or the places he wants to go, but instead muses about connecting with his roots and the people that are important to him. “I want to take more time off with my family and my grandmother; I wish I had more time to spend and continue to create memories with them,” he says.
Along with family time, another of Gonzalez’s favorite pastimes is hiking in the winter, though he adds, he loves the clothes his adventures allow him to wear even more. His dressy outdoorsy vibe is the perfect combo for Triple F.A.T. Goose outerwear, as these pictures attest. “I love the mix of technical gear with stylish, premium quality crafting, and I tend to enjoy neutral colors,” he says of his fresh air fashion.
“I always prefer a timeless design with modern features, like insulation, premium fabrics, innovative designs for both the outdoors and city living,” he adds. And wouldn't you know it, so do we.