gnosssh is an enigma. The world of preppy-style artists on Instagram isn’t huge, so it wasn’t long after I started exploring that area that @gnosssh made its way into my recommended accounts to follow. However, the account lists no name, bio or website, follows zero other accounts, and shares no images of who might be behind it. Nevertheless, the 29-year-old Korean artist offered a sneak peek behind the curtain in this exclusive interview with Ivy-Style, and their passion for Ivy and preppy styles couldn’t be more clear. — BRAD EWIN
Brad Ewin is an Australian-born and London-based writer who, despite his best efforts, can’t help but keep coming back to everything preppy.
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IS: Tell us about yourself.
G: I’ve always been interested in drawing, but started properly picking up illustration as a hobby 1-2 years ago. I moved into doing preppy-style illustrations at the beginning of this year, but two months ago I suffered an injury in my right hand, so I’ve had to start working with my left hand. I am not familiar with Instagram etiquette, so I’ve stuck to following zero accounts so far, but I do appreciate those who enjoy my work.
IS: Where did your interest in preppy style come from?
G: I’ve always been interested in fashion. Discovering the works of Kazuo Hozumi and Hiroshi Watatani is what exposed me to Ivy and related styles. Then I encountered Take Ivy and it only bolstered my interest in that area of fashion, which led me to find more books like The Official Preppy Handbook, True Style, and more. All this helped me formulate my own view of Ivy style.
IS: Your early Instagram posts explore a few different illustration styles. Tell me about the development of your style.
G: At first I started with line drawings based on commemorative photos of acquaintances. Then, I worked with the lookbook of my favorite brand. At the same time, I gradually created my own drawing style by pastiching illustrations of Mr. Kazuo Hozumi, whom I was most affected by, and parodying cartoons such as Tintin, The Simpsons, and Peanuts. In the future, I would like to develop it in a direction that can show my color more.
IS: Where do you get your inspiration from?
G: I am primarily inspired by images from Instagram, Pinterest, and Google. I also get it from magazines like POPEYE and FUDGE. But I think I was most inspired by Take Ivy. There are still images from it that I want to draw.
IS: Which current brands are producing your favorite clothes?
G: I mainly enjoy vintage products such as Sierra Design’s 60/40 parkas, vintage Levi’s, and vintage Brooks Brothers. Among current brands, Rowing Blazers is the most eye-catching. They are showing off the feeling of preppy with their own colors, so I’m watching them with interest.
IS: Which historic brands do you love most?
G: Brooks Brothers and J. Press. I really like the items of old Brooks Brothers. They have details that cannot be seen in the current lineup. I go on eBay several times a day to see if I can find an item that fits my size. I also have my eye on a few J. Press pieces – they seem to try new things while keeping that Ivy feeling.
IS: What are your favourite preppy clothes in your wardrobe right now?
G: 6-button OCBD shirts of various colors. 6-button is the detail seen in the 60s-80s Brooks Brothers shirts. They have a more generous silhouette and curved hem than the current one. I think the OCBD shirt is the most essential item in Ivy style.
IS: What’s your least favourite aspect of preppy style?
G: If I dare to say, there is a more clearly standardized pattern compared to other styles. It’s not a problem to me, but it seems like there are rules that need to be met, certain pieces that need to be matched with certain other pieces. I would like to explore Ivy style in a more contemporary manner, mixing in modern pieces with the traditional, rather than trying to accurately match true Ivy style.
IS: What’s your ideal preppy outfit for winter?
G: The first thing that comes to mind is a Shaggy Dog sweater over an OCBD shirt, a jacket over it, and a balmacaan coat made of a warm fabric. But I also think of an L.L.Bean birdseye sweater.
IS: How are you handling the coronavirus situation? What is your routine like?
G: With my hand injury I’m spending a lot of time at home, focusing on rehabilitation. I also want to observe social distancing as much as possible. But ultimately, I want to keep uploading to Instagram regularly.
IS: Other than your regular posting on Instagram, what other art projects are you working on right now?
G: I’m working with some vintage shops and tailors that I have visited to create illustrations and logos. Also, in summer and autumn I make tees and sweatshirts based on Lightning magazine. It’s also very nice to receive messages from fans who request commissions, but I’m not taking any on right now.