Since breaking into the public eye as Rachel Zoe’s quick-witted (and incredibly patient) styling assistant, Brad Goreski has built an empire of sorts. The Canadian export has his own Bravo TV series It’s a Brad, Brad World, an A-list clientele including Jessica Alba, and is the exclusive stylist to Kate Spade. Most recently, Goreski wrote a candid, self-effacing memoir called Born to Be Brad, in which he details his progression from a high school outsider in Port Perry, Ontario to a fashion insider warming the front row seats at Fashion Week. We chatted with the stylist when he was at Brooks Brothers in Toronto to promote his new book, Born to be Brad, (with Heather Marks, to boot!) about everything from Bono sunglasses to shaggy fur to Japanese house slippers:
In your book, you talk about Fashion Television being your first introduction to the fashion world. How did you feel when you heard the show had been cancelled?
“All good things must come to an end. I think change is always good, I’ve experienced it in big ways. I think its unexpected cancellation is kind of sad, but I’m excited to see what she does next. And I’ll be avidly following her.”
What was it like growing up as a gay man in 1980s small town Ontario?
“It was tough; I kind of dressed the same as I do now. I didn’t really know any other way. I tried to disguise myself and blend in and it just never worked. I eventually found my tribe with the theatre group I was involved in. It’s not to say that my experience is so unique but I think being able to express to people that if they’re going through something like this and feel super alone like a geek or an outsider—if you believe that, that’s what the problem is.”
Have you ever looked back at any personal fashion faux pas?
“Oh my god, all of my teen years were a fashion faux pas. I used to shop at the Buy the Pound on King Street and there was a long, yarn, ombré shag furry sweater. It was furry. Everywhere. Green velvet bellbottoms were another favourite of mine, with a green sequin T-shirt. I made my own pants out of funny fabrics with vacuums and eggs and bacon [printed] on them. And I would do things like stand in garbage pails and have my friends take photos of me. That’s the kind of teenager I was. It was kind of nice writing the book because I got to look back on all these fond memories. Like I worked in a video store.”
What are five words to describe your style?
“I would call it ‘geek chic with a touch of showgirl.’ That’s too long [Laughs]. Geek Chic Show Girl. And colour. There.”
We’re so used to seeing you in the bowtie and jacket. What do you wear on a Sunday, for example?
“PJ pants and vintage T-shirt and my Japanese house slippers. But, oh god, that stays within the confines of my home. I usually put on a little look—a cashmere sweater and pair of jeans.”