Barter, Creative Collaboration Pay Off for Photog Mark Mann and Custom Tailor Lord Willy’s
“It’s such a joy to work with an art director who’s also the client,” says Mark Mann, the photographer behind a series of images currently gracing the walls and website of Lord Willy’s, a men’s custom tailor in New York’s Nolita neighborhood.
The client Mann refers to is Alex Wilcox, who owns the Lord Willy’s shop with his wife. Wilcox spent 20 years in advertising before opening Lord Willy’s, he told PDNPulse via email. “I started off as an Art Director and grew to the ‘lofty’ heights of Executive Creative Director at JWT New York before quitting the whole damn charade to build my own brand (with my wife, Mrs. Wilcox).” The Wilcoxes opened the shop in 2006, with Mrs. Wilcox, who studied fashion, overseeing the tailoring.
Mr. Wilcox met Mann when the photographer came into the shop looking for a suit for his wedding. “Mark is a very personable fella and we hit it off pretty quickly,” Wilcox recalls. “He talked about his photography and casually mentioned that if we ever needed anything shot, he’d be more than happy to accommodate.”
The two discussed an old campaign idea Wilcox had, and quickly a “deal was struck, wedding suit for photo campaign,” Wilcox says. The pair have continued to collaborate, recently releasing a second round of photographs on the Lord Willy’s site, and hanging prints in the store. Wilcox says he’d love to run the photographs as print ads “at some point.”
The images depict Lord Willy’s clients in highly stylized scenes that often involve a tongue-in-cheek take on a game or sport. In one recent photo the trophy head of a redneck (played by Wilcox) is mounted on the wall behind a pair of gentlemen in suits posing with a bow and arrow and a fishing net.
Having a long-term collaboration has been “priceless,” Wilcox says. “We have a great time shooting them, the clients are chuffed and then we have a great time congratulating ourselves on how well we shot them.
“Mark and I are addicted to the ‘buzz’ and so far, it just keeps getting better,” Wilcox adds. “So does his wardrobe.”