Simon Foxton, stylist, on his Red Wing boots
GB Tell me why you’ve chosen your boots?
SF For me they are just the most beautiful footwear I’ve ever seen. As soon as I came across them I knew that they were for me and to be honest they haven’t left my feet since and that was probably twenty odd years ago. Occasionally I’ll wear a pair of trainers around the house. But currently I have about ten pairs of these. They’re the sort of boot that gets better as they get older. I wear them in and I have newer ones for smarter occasions, but they’re a constant gift.
GB And you like them more for the function or the look?
SF It’s both. For me the proportions are absolutely correct for a boot. But also once they’re worn in, you don’t notice they’re on, they’re so comfortable.
GB That’s a very masculine choice for an ideal of beauty.
SF I live in the world of masculine beauty as a menswear stylist so I don’t see the two things being in opposition to each other.
GB Do you see them as making a fashion statement?
SF I think they’re the opposite. I see them as a statement about me. It’s become a uniform for me, rolled up trousers, Red Wing boots, polo shirts. Because I’m involved with clothing and having to think about what other people wear, it’s one less decision for me to have to make in a day.
GB And supposing Jeremy Clarkson started wearing them every day? Would you still like them?
SF (Laughs) Ooh that’s a tricky one! No, I don’t think he would but I don’t think even then it would spoil them for me. They have been ‘fashionable’ lately amongst certain hipsters. At first I was a bit annoyed thinking ‘they’re wearing my boots,’ but I rode it out and now they’re not so popular any more.
GB Do you think the men in your world are looking for beauty, looking to beautify themselves?
SF I always look for beautiful men to photograph. I think most guys are aware of their own beauty even if it’s not talked about too overtly. However disheveled they look, it’s quite carefully orchestrated. It’s a different sort of beauty to women’s beauty.
GB Is that beauty though, or do they look sexy in a different way?
SF They’re two different things. I think it’s the same with women. There are beautiful men and women who aren’t necessarily sexy. Take catwalk models for instance. I try to find guys to shoot who are both.
GB What makes something worthy of the word Beauty to you?
SF It’s an overused word but I think honesty. Honesty of design and function in the case of my boots. Honesty and simplicity. Although lots of thing I find beautiful aren’t simple, they’re quite over the top, thinking of certain photographs I like, that are complicated and brightly coloured. But you can’t beat the North Sea, on any day, which is very simple. It’s almost impossible to sum up as it changes with my mood and situation.