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Indiana University

IU alumnus blogs about fashion world as 'Grungy Gentleman'

November 17, 2011
Bloomington, Indiana -- Go here to view in Live at IU

Indiana University alumnus Jace Lipstein was working as a paralegal at a big-name Manhattan law firm when he popped into Barney's one afternoon, looking for a new shirt to wear to his birthday party.

Picture of JaceBrowsing in the Rag & Bone collection, he struck up a conversation with a designer for the clothing line. Later, while sharing details of that encounter with friends, they pressured him to snap up the URL for a tagline he'd come up with to describe his own sartorial splendor: "Grungy Gentleman."

Lipstein did -- and he launched his future in fashion just a few days later when he blogged about the opening of a Gant Rugger store in the West Village.

Since then, he's designed a collection for Dickies, become the men's fashion director for Singer22 and contributed to industry heavy-hitters GQ and Esquire, all while maintaining his own distinct presence online at grungygentleman.com.

"As long as you have a voice -- and you do, with a website -- and show who you are, people will recognize it," Lipstein told students during a recent visit to IU's Bloomington campus. "Everyone is an individual, with their own unique qualities, and you need to portray that to your audience."

A 2007 graduate of IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs who majored in management, Lipstein said his time in Bloomington gave him the tools he needed to launch his fashion career while widening his network.

"I learned a lot about myself, people skills and communication, which is so essential," he said. "You also learn a lot about people from different walks of life. There's a real camaraderie, coming here." In fact, such cream-and-crimson solidarity led to an event Lipstein credits with drawing heavy traffic to his website: an interview with The Sartorialist photographer/blogger and fellow IU alum Scott Schuman, whose work has been featured in GQ and Vogue Italia as well as in the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

"He's brilliant at what he does, and he's really selective about who he's involved with," Lipstein said of Schuman. "When I approached him, he knew I'd gone to Indiana and he gave me an interview for the site. That went viral, and we broke our site's traffic record."

Recent posts on Grungy Gentleman detail Lipstein's adventures at the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, his inclusion in a "Men of New York" campaign for Modasuite and a Q&A with menswear designer Thom Browne. He's also branching out into the sports world, including a recent interview with big-name pro players Tony Parker (who professes a weakness for Tissot watches) that ended up getting a mention on ESPN.com.

That's just another day in the life of the Grungy Gentleman, who, as his website says, "erases the stereotype that all gentlemen have to be frumpy and grandpa-like."