When I first meet James Kennedy, the fiery instigator known for his role on Bravo's hit reality series "Vanderpump Rules," there are none of the lights or cameras that might typically follow the 27-year-old while he's shooting in California. (For the record, there wasn't any pasta in sight, either.)
Instead, we're in the basement of Union Park, an event space in Manhattan during New York Fashion Week, awaiting a suicide prevention charity fashion event — #TheYoloShow by Supermodels Unlimited — that he was booked to deejay.
Kennedy, who started his illustrious television career while working at Lisa Vanderpump's SUR restaurant as a barback and busser, quickly became a star on the show thanks to his incendiary plotlines, kooky outbursts ("I'm the white Kanye West!") and, eventually, the weekly party he hosts called "See You Next Tuesday" at the West Hollywood restaurant where he got his start.
It's true that the bevy of bartenders, hostesses and servers employed at any one of Vanderpump's stable of restaurants "share a deep affinity for grooming," as Vogue recently put it (some may even be budding beauty moguls in their own right), but we didn't get into the mechanics of his beauty routine — or whether he's dabbled in injectables like many of his castmates so clearly have. Instead, in a rapid fire interview, Kennedy, arguably the most fashion-savvy of the Vanderpump men, and I talk shopping.
Wearing a navy, slim cut blazer, black skinny jeans, a black t-shirt and Gucci Flashtrek sneakers — we did not ask whether he had on the "limited-edition Supreme underwear" that Jax so kindly bought him underneath it all — Fashionista sat down with Kennedy to figure out whether the parallels between the reality star and Mr. West start and end with being brash musicians who live in California. Read on for our full, three-minute-long discussion.
Let's start with the most basic question: How do you typically shop?
I love shopping, but I love fashion as well. I think that my style comes from England originally, that kind of swag. When I moved to America in 2008, I opened and broadened my style — I try to keep it fresh and different.
Are there any brands you gravitate towards currently?
I just wear lots of plain stuff, so if I need a T-shirt I just go to Topman or something. I remember when skinny jeans weren't a "thing," then [I saw] in America, everyone had skinny jeans so I started wearing them, too. And now I'm never not wearing skinny jeans. It's crazy.
Do you set aside time to shop?
Since you've been on 'Vanderpump Rules,' do brands send you things to wear?
Oh yeah, so many brands like to send me stuff and I love that. I like getting free clothes more than doing Instagram deals for money, because honestly, it works out better. If you do deals like that, it's just like you can do one a month, but some brands will send me things four times a week! I've got a whole closet full of shoes, I'm a shoe fanatic. Obviously, I've got my Gucci sneakers on right now; I've got a bunch of Yeezys at home and stuff like that. I like shoes a lot.
Are there any popular shoe trends that you think are awful?
Do you have to wear a different outfit every time you film? Does this mean you have to shop strategically?
We have to sometimes, other times, it's really annoying when I have a t-shirt and I lose it, I have to keep my old clothes just in case. Just for references and photos and stuff. I think that it's pretty cool that I have to keep the looks fresh for events and stuff. I don't want to be caught wearing the same outfit, so I get to shop more.
Does Raquel [Leviss, Kennedy's girlfriend] help you shop?
Yeah, she's got amazing style. She helps me shop, and we also shop together.
Will she ever tell you to not wear a certain thing?
Oh yeah, definitely. She's like, 'Nah James, that's not the look.' Little things, not major things. But if I tell her I really want to wear it, she'll say, 'Ok, I trust you.'
What makes a good DJ outfit?
A good DJ look? A long black tee, black jeans, black shoes.