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Lifestyle bloggers, Berlin

Spring has finally broken the lingering grey of Berlin’s long winter, and as we wait to enter the building of Devid Gualandris and Thibaud Guyonnet, locals are enthusiastically shedding their scarves and shrugging off jackets. The change in season couldn't be a more perfect time to meet.

The creative couple are the brains (and faces) behind personal style blog, Starecasers – a rare injection of light and colour into the often moody fashion landscape of the German capital.

In their bright apartment amid countless stacks of fashion magazines, we settled down with the well-groomed duo to talk about the art of dressing well.

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Thibaud: This is actually our first proper interview.

Really? You started Starecasers about five years ago – do you feel you’re just starting to get noticed?

Devid: Yeah, exactly.

T: Only now are brands and agencies starting to see the potential in menswear. It didn’t exist before, they didn’t have the budget for it. But now that they do, they’re starting to seek out male influencers.

Tell us a bit about your background and how
Starecasers came about.

D: Neither of us are born Berliners – I’m originally from Italy and Thibaud from France. We moved to Berlin together in 2010 and as soon as we arrived, we started an online diary. We were using lots of disposable cameras, taking pictures and posting them on the blog. After a few weeks, we noticed that people were starting to engage with it.

Shortly after, we published our first sponsored blog post, and began to approach it more like a business. We never thought we could make money from the blog … and now we have to pay taxes on it! [Laughs]

How would you describe Starecasers?

D: It’s essentially a style blog – a curated selection of things we like, projected with our aesthetic and identity. Currently we focus on fashion and lifestyle but we’re hoping to move into design and travel too.

T: Photography also plays a big role in the project. We only take pictures of each other, so all of the content is created by us – it’s much more fun that way.

What do you do when you’re not working on the blog?

D: I’m currently studying a Masters in English Literatures, and before that I studied Gender Studies.

T: And I’m a buyer for Voo Store, a fashion concept store here in Berlin.

How do you manage to balance your time between the site and work/study?

T: With difficulty! [Laughs] We really have to count the days. We already have all of our vacation planned out until the end of the year.

D: With my course, I’ll often have a little more time to do the editing and day-to-day tasks. Then when we’re together, we’ll shoot and create new material.

We never thought we could make money from the blog … and now we have to pay taxes on it!

‐ Devid Gualandris

How would you describe the Starecasers aesthetic?

T: We used to be very minimal, but I think it’s evolved since then. Our Italian and French roots are still noticeable – we wear more shirts than many other guys for example. Our travels to Milan mean that Italy is always a strong influence.

D: It’s urban, like Berlin, but we try to be a bit more elegant. Although we’d never wear formal suits, we’ll often integrate aspects of them in our own way, usually with a white t-shirt or sneakers.

How often do you update your look?

T: We’ve been honing this style for a year or two now. But when we started the blog it was very different. I used to have red hair and Devid’s was purple. We would wear big fur coats and have huge eyebrows with loads of make-up! Now our style is a little more natural, which my Mum is very happy about. [Laughs]

Sometimes we notice guys who share our niche aesthetic, especially some of our Instagram followers.

It’s interesting you say that. We read recently about how new style subcultures are emerging through social media, especially on Instagram. Do you feel that’s true?

T: It’s very easy to be part of a style community on social media because you can really curate it. Sometimes you can go on someone’s profile and think they look really cool, but then you scroll down and realise that it only happened recently. It can be very staged.

D: We’ve met so many people through Instagram though, especially when we’re traveling.

T: We went to New York recently and this guy wrote to us. He and his friends shared a very similar aesthetic to us, so we started hanging out. That was the first time we’d met someone through social media. It was fun actually; you feel like you know each other, that you’re speaking the same language.

How much does Berlin influence your style?

D: A lot. You can really experiment with styles and colours here. We went through a vintage period at one point, where we’d only buy from flea markets—

T: Mainly because it was cheaper! [Laughs]

We kind of freaked out when we first arrived in Berlin. The fashion scene here is so different compared to Paris or Milan, where people are so curious and stare at you all the time. In Berlin, no-one gives a fuck about you. Needless to say, we went a bit loco with our style.

The fashion scene here is so different compared to Paris or Milan. In Berlin, no-one gives a fuck about you.

‐ Thibaud Guyonnet

Do you think Berlin has a certain style?

T: Definitely. There’s a big boom in Berlin fashion happening right now. Vetements, for example, is a crazy new brand that’s totally inspired by the city. The recent Gucci campaign was shot in Berlin and the Givenchy campaign was set in Alexanderplatz.

However, although Berlin is currently seen as a style hotspot, there’s admittedly not much of a fashion culture here. The rest of Europe seems to be creating this Berlin vibe. Designer brands are making ‘Berlin-inspired’ shirts for €400 that no-one here could afford! It’s a little weird.

When you launched the site in 2011, the internet was already an incredibly crowded space, full of style and fashion bloggers. How did you cut through the noise?

T: We both had very strong personal Facebook accounts back then. There was also a very big gay community on Facebook at the time, so we were very lucky we could capitalise on that.

D: Yeah. It was the gay community on Facebook that really contributed to our success, rather than the gay community in general.

T: We actually have quite a few straight guys who follow us nowadays, some of whom we’ve met along the way. Many said they’d been looking for menswear blogs to follow for some time but couldn’t find a clean and simple aesthetic they could relate to.

Well you know you’ve made it when straight guys start following you!

T: Of course most of our followers are gay but I don’t really think about it anymore. In the same way, we don’t consider ourselves part of a specifically gay community here in Berlin. We go to gay clubs, gay parties and most of our friends are gay but I don’t feel like we belong to a gay community as such.

We were just about to ask what you thought of the gay scene in Berlin, or whether you think there is one at all.

D: It definitely exists and it’s incredibly diverse. There’s an older scene in Schöneberg, a more techno Berghain one, and then there’s the start-up, creative community. Of course there’s a lot of crossover too.

We don’t really identify with one in particular; we probably share certain aspects of them all.

One of your recent posts focused on a unisex fragrance from Calvin Klein. How do you feel about the emerging trend of gender-neutral clothing and products?

D: Zara recently did a unisex line too. Some people were really mad about it, because it was essentially just men’s clothing for women. It’s never the other way around, which creates a strange double-standard. It’s easier for a woman to look tomboyish than for a man to look feminine. ‘Unisex’ is just a term brands are jumping on because gender discourse is so big right now – it brings them some attention.

T: I think their intentions are good, but the communication has to follow. When you see the gay or lesbian couple that Calvin Klein featured in their recent campaign, they’re essentially just two hot guys and two hot girls. I think gay men who see that ad would say: ‘Those guys are not together!’

It’s heading in the right direction, but there’s definitely still a lot of work to do.

D: We’ve been shifting our style between genders for years. It’s not a big deal – you don’t need a unisex line to justify buying the clothes you want.

You don’t need a unisex line to justify buying the clothes you want.

‐ Devid Gualandris

What’s next for Starecasers?

T: We’re currently considering what our next direction will be. We don’t want to be taking pictures of ourselves forever, so we’re thinking of something different. We’ve talked about starting a creative agency together, but that’s way in the future.

D: We recently became the first male – and gay – H&M Everyday Fashion Icons, so check that out for our 2016 style tips!

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