Photography by, Xavier Duah
Styling by, Andrew Peterson
Introducing a familiar face from the Kiel James Patrick entourage, Andrew Jessup Peterson is a native of Maine, who enjoys the company of influential people, and the simple joys of life. From the outside looking in through social media, most would categorize Andrew as the ideal man; Good-looking, well dressed, popular, loved by others, and successful, but, above that, is his genuine passion for wanting to inspire others, and give back in every way possible.
When I stepped into Andrew's apartment in Chelsea for our meet up, I was greeted with loads of enthusiasm; thanks to the company of warm smiles, and an outgoing personality. For about thirty minutes before we started our interview, we stood in his kitchen, and went into raptures about our career paths, and his experiences living in New York City. One of which included the reason he is now friends with actress, Kelly Rutherford. In a world where it is extremely easy to get carried away by resumes, and, followers, it was incredibly refreshing to experience someone who did not seem at all phased by the hype.
In this interview, we discuss New York, the pressures of social media, the Kiel James Patrick brand, menswear, and future goals. An enlightening read, indeed.
My name is Andrew Jessup Peterson. I am 21 years old, and I create digital content for clothing companies.
Growing up in Maine, moving to New York must have been a huge step for you. Talk about your New York experience. What you thought it was going to be versus what it actually is.
I am someone easily enamored so, I was very excited to move to New York City because of how magical it is. Everyone in the entire world is infatuated with this city in particular. Honestly, I thought I would love it a lot more than I did. It was definitely a roller coaster and it took a lot of getting used to. The best part of this experience has been the challenges. I’ve seen so much personal growth in myself so, it’s been less about what I’ve actually done in New York, and more about what I’ve done with my self. That has been the best game changer of it all.
At this point, I am sad to be leaving. If you would’ve asked me about a month and a half ago, I would have been like, “Yo! Get me out of here.” [laughs] I am from Maine. I like my trees, my spaces, and my mountains. The buildings don’t do a lot for me. I have a problem with people not being content with the moment, and what they have. I think a lot of New York is so excited about the next building, the next fashion trend, and the next place to eat. I just think especially here, there is so much rad stuff that you can be appreciative of, and people aren’t or weren’t. So, that sort of irked me. I feel like that was sort of what I was letting impact me the most, and now I’m not. Now, I see people who are appreciating the things that they do have, appreciating where they are, and what they do. So, I think it’s all about how you look at the situations. I think I was choosing to look at it negatively, because it was so different from what I was used to. That was the biggest thing that stood out to me, but I am excited to come back.
You seem to be a very positive person with the way you prioritize on encouraging words via social media. Where does this positivity and enthusiasm stem from?
I have always wanted to help people. Instagram is an easy place to make your life look really cool, and I knew that. I knew that I was trying to brand myself so, I am particular about the things that I post. The fact is, if you were to look at my life from the outside looking in, it would be a lot different from where I am, looking out. It was sort of through this personal growth, and challenges in New York, that I really just looked inside myself, and said, you know, what’s your story? What’s your message? And so, one day, I just decided that I was really going to talk about the things that were on my mind. When I did that, I got about fifteen direct messages that were all like, “Wow! That really changed my perspective, that really changed my day, that really clarified this for me.” Whatever the case is. It’s actually funny for me because I actually get less likes on my instagram posts when I write the inspiring captions but, I think the important thing is you know, I’ll take 200 less likes and 15 people being positively impacted any day. That’s sort of where I have continued with it. Anytime I get a positive message after I write something meaningful, it’s like okay, that’s what it is about right there.
Do you feel pressure to uphold the identity of always being so enthusiastic and positive?
I was sort of messing with it the other day. I had something meaningful to write, and I also had something funny to write. I think the thing about life that people need to sort of control more, is the fact that you can choose to do whatever you want. By me being funny over motivational on one post, it’s like, this is one side of my personality that I want to show off. On the motivational posts, I do feel some sense of responsibility when I’m creating them. Just because people are like, “Wow! I look forward to reading your stuff”. And, I really want somebody, if they’re impacted that strongly to have that constant encouragement. But to tell you the truth, I have a lot on my mind, I have a lot to say, and I find a lot of meaning in things that a lot of people don’t. I am very easily inspired so, it’s not hard to look at something, and say, how does this make me feel? What do I get out of this? And you know, I just start writing, and I go for it. I think at some point, I’m going to be like, “Wow, I have nothing to write about. “ [laughs] but either way, I try not to over think it.
For most people, you would be considered instagram famous. What is your take on that?
It’s funny you say that. I had a company reach out to me saying, “Hi, We are looking for celebrity endorsers, and you fit the bill” and, I said, “Excuse me, what?” [laughs] I think you can probably tell, I’m very normal. It is really funny to sort of have this sense of attention on this sort of scale. I come from a town of 5,000 people. I have almost triple that with the people following me on instagram, but at the same time, it’s nothing. It’s a great amount, it’s enough people to make an impact on but I mean, if you look at people and what they’re doing, it’s like I want to grow this thing if this is where it is at now. I don’t really think about it. Since my stay here, I have had a lot of people who have been like, “Yo! You’re Drew Jessup. I follow you on instagram. How’s it going?” and all of these things, and it’s something I’ll never get used to if this is what I continue to do.
I know that you have worked with Kiel James Patrick. Talk about your relation to the brand.
Just to start, I would be nowhere, in terms of the industry that I am in right now, and the things that I have been able to do, without that opportunity. I think there are a lot of great lessons with me starting there. I saw the internship for Kiel James Patrick, and I applied for it. It took me a month to write my 500 words, and I got it. Although, I sort of really didn’t know why I got it. To be honest, I was semi fashionable. I felt I loved preppy, and classic, and that pretty much engulfed me. I did not have an instagram following, I did not know how to take a photo to save my life. I later on realized the reason I got it was because they really liked who I was. That came across in my writing, that came across in my skype interview, and that’s sort of how I lived my life. Now, I do all these things but I just think, if you can do it from an incredibly kind place, people are drawn to that. “Be so good that they can’t ignore you.” I think that is a great lesson in terms of preparing for something. If you can be really great, and really kind, there’ s nothing that you can’t do because even if you don’t get it, people want to help you. They want to introduce you to somebody else, and that’s exactly how I’ve gotten to the point where I am at now. It’s just through crawling these lines of friendships, and these people being like “Oh, you know what? This might not work out with me, but I know someone amazing for you because I really like who you are”. I got the internship with Kiel, and Sarah, and it was just an amazing two months of learning how to personal brand, and market things from an individual standpoint, because that is really what it is. It’s just a bunch of people personal branding themselves, and sending the attention back to one place. The thing that kind of goes along with kindness too is that, Kiel and Sarah specifically – I mean, you can kind of describe the entire company this way, but they are two of the most wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They’ve been so successful because that has been the root system of their values and their company. So just learning that, being involved with that, being a part of a team, being a part of two individuals that have been in love for the last 12 years and have stuck through as business partners, and best friends, and whatever it is, it was just an amazing thing to experience at 18, as I am sort of trying to identify who I am, what I am, and what it is that I want to do. I think without the experiences of personal branding, the experiences of building something aesthetically pleasing, and the experiences of the right way to do something, I would probably still be in college and hating it.
Let us discuss your aesthetic as it pertains to menswear. I know you thrive on minimal pieces, and traditional prep. What is menswear to you?
It’s always changing, to be honest. I thought for a long time that I was going to be very fashion forward. You know, maybe own a thousand different blazers, a thousand different watches, and one day, I realized that the parts of fashion that make me interesting are the parts that make me feel good. Everything comes back to self esteem. You know, what dressing well, dressing in clothing, dressing in quality, and dressing in things that fit really well do to me. They make me feel really good, they make me feel confident, they make me a better friend, family member, and so on, you know - I feel better about who I am. It’s sort of been a recent discovery that that’s the part of style I really like. It just so happens that my minimalist style has this preppy tie. It’s a little urban too. I also think that is what I have been influenced with. It’s a weird combination of things but I think it is so important to really identify those pieces that is you in all aspects, and that is what sort of creates your style aesthetic. A lot of stuff is very random. A lot of stuff, I have no idea why I like them.
During fashion week, I had these super ripped tight black skinny jeans, and some blacked out Chelsea boots, and some long scoop neck white tee. It made me feel good. That was the only thing I had to justify it with. It’s like what else do you need besides that. So, I do have those random occasions. Usually, it’s the preppy, classic side of things. It’s funny, I do not like too much attention on me in terms of fashion. I would like someone to look at me and say, “Wow! In general, he’s a well put together person”. It’s not like I have these big polo symbols, or like, the big LV Louis Vuitton. I don’t need that stuff. I don’t want all that attention. I just want to be a good package and that’s what I try to deliver. I think there’s something so important though. If you’re aspiring to something, to completely represent that, I think, clothing and how you physically look is your first impression. If you want to get into something, For example, I’m trying to build a big contact list because I want to do something positive. I want to know people that can help me do those things. If I am dressed like an idiot, or whatever the case is, I am not going to get these opportunities. No matter how nice I am. You have to be respectful, and you have to just represent exactly what you want to become. There are days where I am just answering emails, and taking phone calls. I am in my sweats all day, I have my high top chucks on, running to whole foods for lunch and back, you know? But like in that sort of sense, that makes me feel good too. With menswear/fashion generally, As long as you justify you are feeling good in what you’re wearing wherever you are, then it’s like you don’t really need to think about it, too much more than that.
What would you say is your style signature? What can people point at and say, “That’s so Drew Jessup?”
I mean, I just think I’m your classic, American white boy. I think mostly, that is how people would describe me. It’s probably mostly true. Even though, I do find these interests in other things that people have no idea about, but I think someone would look at me and say, he’s very classic. I wear button downs a lot. These black jeans I’m wearing now (pictured), are my favorite. They’re easy, and simple.
Do you ever mix Menswear, and Womenswear?
No. I don’t have a problem with it though. I know people that absolutely kill that. It’s rad! I don’t accessorize much, or anything at all. A watch is the only thing that I really wear. I wear this necklace (pictured above) everyday too. It says “Author” on it. It’s from myintent.org. The reason I got it is because it’s not as severe as a tattoo. I like to remind myself that my life is a story that I am authoring. These are all my choices. Everything that I do is a reflection of the person that I want to become, and so, it just sort of reminds me that you are in control, and you should do what feels right. This is definitely the most meaningful piece I own, and, I never take it off. I bought it myself. I think you appreciate things more when you buy them yourself. It’s almost like driving to the top of a mountain to see the view.
Do you have any style icons or inspirations? Yes, I do. It’s the Steve McQueens. Guys like Johnny Depp, David Beckham, Marlon Brando. Just guys that are timelessly cool, and ride their giant motorcycles. Those simple, fits great, quality stuff. I can ride my motorcycle, I can go to a bar, I can go to a restaurant, I can take a girl out. It’s like, whatever it is, I embody that style from head to toe, and that’s where I feel most confident.
What is the biggest style mistake that you have ever made? In high school, for some reason, we had this love of L.L Bean Mock Slippers. We would wear them to school everyday, and I would have these disgustingly colored Hollister T shirt. Pair some Abercombie jeans with some rips in the knee maybe, and a pair of mock slippers. That's what I felt confident in, and looking back now, I'm like "Yo! What?". I have made a fool of myself in terms of style. But I’m feeling good right now, you know.
Any style pet peeves?
My only real pet peeve which goes along with style and a lot of other things is, people not celebrating themselves enough. People who constantly want to do something else, not for the reason of doing it for themselves. People try, and embody these figures that don’t relate to them in any way, and I’m like you don’t represent that. Just be you. Another one is wearing shoes that I don’t feel like I could run in. I have my loafers, and I do wear them but its something that is always on my mind which is why I don’t wear them often. I stick with my white converse.
Where do you go to shop?
If a clothing line could represent me the most, it would probably be Club Monaco. I am a huge J Crew fan. Even where I’m from, L.L Bean is big. Probably because, they have a lifetime guarantee of returns. You feel like you can change a tire, and you’re not going to rip through your pants. And that’s what I want to feel like. Woolrich, Pendleton, and all these cool, smaller companies that aren’t necessarily as fashion-y are coming out with these really dope lines that also include stuff you can go in a hike in, and feel like the man at the same time without wearing your dads clothes. I’m this weird combination of those two things but, I would only buy a few pieces of Club Monaco, and buy a lot of Woolrich.
What music are you listening to?
I’m weird, dude! I’m totally a chameleon too depending on the time of the year. I love Christmas. I swear, I have been blasting Christmas music. In the Fall, I had this massive indie folk stage, and those sort of things dictate what I wear at the same time, you know? I’m just sort of all over the place. I rock with Sam Smith sometimes, I rock with Drake. The Chainsmokers, “Roses”, it’s one of those songs where you are just walking down the street, and you don’t care about anything that’s going on around you except what you’re listening to. That’s how powerful it is to me. I call them “life” songs because songs like that just make you feel like life is dope. If I’m on the subway, I just smile as I listen to songs like that. Because then people are just like “Alright, this kid is having a good time. He doesn’t care that he looks like a complete idiot.” I’m always full grin doing the Carlton on the subway.
What would you say your end goal in life is?
I was leaning towards the entertainment side of things. I talked to some modeling agencies, I was taking acting classes which is fun but this is when it changed. I asked myself, what do I need to feel fulfilled? When I came back to it, it wasn’t all this clothing. It wasn’t money, it wasn’t fame or anything like that. Even with acting. Acting is a lot of fun, but I don’t want to struggle to be an actor. If I was just an actor, I wouldn’t be fulfilled. That was when I really started to ask myself what my message was, what my story was… Everyday, I just want to feel like I’m stepping closer in the direction of helping as many people as I possibly can. I have a couple of projects I am working on that are MY projects; ways that I feel like I am using my personal gifts to give back. It’s just doing that. I don’t care how financially successful I am through those endeavors. Whatever it is, the fact is if I am helping people, I’ll figure out the rest of it as it comes. I have no idea specifically what I want to do, I just know that I want to impact as many people as I possibly can.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to pursue whatever endeavor they please?
Great question! I learned this in acting class, actually. It’s called your Golden Box. They say everything good happens between your neck, and your stomach. All the emotions, all the fun things. Your golden box is where your passion, your influences, your skills, your assets, your strengths intersect, and it’s really emotional intelligence. It’s really getting a PHD in who you are. What makes you happy? what makes you tick? what gets you fired up? what makes your heart beat uncontrollably? You need to begin identifying these things and really think from that place inside you because that’s sort of like, you have the answers to the questions that no one else has because nobody else has your experiences, nobody else comes from where you come from. It is not even about accepting yourself, it’s about celebrating who you are, what you are, what you look like, everything, all your uniqueness, all your character. I think sometimes, people are self conscious about the things they like, and other things. I think about the crap that I like, and I’m like, “Yo! Why would I ever be self conscious about that?” It’s something that I like. I think that’s dope. Turns me on in the sense of just life. People need to just say screw it! This is me, man. This is who I am, this is what I want to be, this is the thing that I like, and I am going to be confident in that. Just celebrate yourself. And if you have that now, you can do anything you want. And just be ridiculously kind, that’s it.
Andrew Jessup Peterson - Instagram | @drewjessup
Dress Code showcases the personalities of a variety of men whose personal styles I admire. Sharing their personal experiences, aesthetic, and taste level, these men are redefining what it means to be a "real" man in today's society through their manifestations .
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