How old were you when you start attaching importance to your appearance?
Dad : I remember, in grade school, must have been around 6th grade. Some kid came to school one day, all dressed in black. Head to toe, with a big black biker watchband. Strange gear to wear on the playground, quite the sight to behold. Of course this caught my eye and got me thinking about my look. In Jr. High, I started noticing what the other kids were wearing (girls too). My thinking was that I wanted to be accepted as one of my peers, friends, etc, but did not want to dress like everyone else. I was far from a rebel and painfully shy at this point too. At my school, people had uniforms they wore (i.e. Jocks, Stoners, Gangbanger’s etc.) and I did not want to be part of that cattle call. That was the point I noticed stuff other people wore that I liked too, like desert boots instead of tennis shoes, and different style button shirts instead of T-shirts etc. I wanted to be a little more of what I thought was hip and express that with what I thought I looked good in. Key for me was being comfortable in my own skin. The right clothes gave me confidence to do that, to be myself and have one less thing to worry about!
Son : I started wearing band shirts that I liked in middle school, but I didn’t really get into fashion until my freshman year of high school. I’d always been interested in it; I’d flirt with sites like Style.com, but found the fashion world very intimidating. I bought an issue of Vogue at the airport before my family and I went on a trip to Mexico when I was 14, and it was through that magazine that I began to familiarize myself with the names of designers and the world of fashion.
What fashion item was your very first purchase? Is it still in your closet?
Dad : Wow, it sounds silly but, it would actually have to be a pair of Levi’s jeans! For whatever reason, my parents would not ever buy them for me! They either didn’t like them, or couldn’t afford them, so that was my first piece of ‘fashion’ clothing I bought on my own! And when I finally got them, I wore them all the time, everyday, with different T-shirts, button shirts, jackets etc. I would have slept in them if I could. I thought they went with everything of course. I did at least, wash them once a week! The obsession continues to this very day, but I have more than one pair now, thank you very much.
Son : The first thing that I remember buying thinking that it was “fashionable”, was probably a v-neck from American Apparel. I wore nothing but v-necks during my freshman year. It’s probably shoved in a drawer somewhere…
What is your major consideration when you buy a garment?
Dad : The fit first! Then, is it practical? I used to buy “stage clothes” like a big black Salvation Army coat with embroidered sleeves, (turn of the century style), sharkskin suits from the 60’s, Mariachi jackets, Western wear, different hats, but when could I were them? I loved the coats, hats etc, and I played in a band but could only wear them sometimes. If you are up there, playing drums or guitar, it’s too hot for a coat, a suit, or even a hat sometimes! I used to fall in love with a piece of clothing for it’s color, design, etc. and would buy it (whether it fit or not) and wait till I could wear the damn thing somewhere. I still play music, and will buy stuff sometimes thinking “I could wear it on stage.” But now it’s all about “when would I wear it?” and “how does it fit?” It seems like the two have melded now and I buy stuff that must work for both.
Son : I’m always looking for clothes that are unique and inspiring. Rarely if I can wear them on a daily basis (or if they’re machine washable… my dry cleaning list is a mile high). I never pay very much for something that won’t continue to inspire me, getting myself to buy basics is like pulling teeth. Lately I’ve been paying a lot more attention to the quality as well.
Have you got any great stuff from your father? What’s it?
Dad : He had a beautiful pair of very dark brown, almost black (Dark Gray?) wing tip dress shoes that I wore all the time. They were in his closet and he never wore them so I hijacked them. They fit perfect, were comfortable, and the coolest color to boot! I played in loud Punk/New Wave rock bands and they fit my style as well as the ‘band’ thing. They were not your off the rack shoes, these were old, from the fifties and looked one of a kind because of the color. I have never seen another pair this color. My dad also gave me an old bathrobe from the fifties. A terrycloth, multi colored Navy blue, yellow gold, and gray, woven plaid design with the coolest tag that says “SHOWEROBE” (TRADE MARK) “HOLLYWOOD CALFORNIA” the colors in the weave are sublime, with purple like sharkskin threading where the colors intersect, almost like an old multi colored Mexican blanket, but soft terrycloth. Cruz hijacked it!
Son : Countless things! Shirts, pins, bracelets, necklaces, and my first pair of boots was an old pair of his.
How would you describe your style?
Dad : Very Southern California, West Coast, late sixties, early seventies Mexican Cowboy in LA vibe with boots, denim, leather tones, suede, light fabrics and shadow plaids. Earth tone colors, lots of color, but subdued. Classic styles for the occasion like a nice wool suit when needed. It never gets too cold around here so, my every day would be jeans, ankle boots or tennis shoes, T-shirts, vintage button shirts (at every chance!) I love the colors. I love a good faded boot or leather belt, with cool details, subtle multi layered colors blending in, or unusual etched designs work well for me too. I have one black western belt with big silver roses painted on it. And my name is painted on it too! I found it in a thrift store and it fit, it was meant to be. I always have a Vintage watch (not expensive) with an unusual color or face. I know no one needs a watch these days, but I love having one. They can be a great accent of texture and color too. Thrift Store shopping in So. Cal. really got me honed in on my style, it started me thinking about a fashion life outside of the malls, no boundaries. I would see weird shirts and think, “what’s this?” I like it. “Where the hell is this from?” “I guess I can wear this.” It was not intentional, the prices were right and I just wanted something other people were not wearing. I just liked the colors, fabrics, and the little details of vintage clothes. Subtle, yet still a lot going on beneath the surface. It has to suit my style too. I never liked clubbing people over the head with my outfits! No costumes please.
Son : I think this is the hardest question for anybody into fashion and style to answer! It’s really just anything I feel compelled towards all thrown together and projected from my body. I have countless inspirations that I mentally reference on a daily basis. I’m deeply inspired by music in particular - I take endless style tips from my favorite musicians. I love military/marching band inspired jackets, slinky sweaters, tribal accessories, peasant tops, denim, and always ankle boots!
What does style mean to you?
Dad : It’s not a label or a name brand, that’s for sure. Style is an extension of who we are. We all have it, in one form or another without even knowing it! We are all like a traveling, moving example of who we are and what we are into. Some people have a good handle on what and who they are and some show it off better. I love to ‘people watch’ and it’s amazing what people will tell you about themselves by what ‘style’ they wear or throw together. Like the way couples dress, groups of friends, or the skater kids on the street. Most don’t even realize it, but it’s there. A uniform we all wear. I like to show “style” more subversively, in layers, revealing each part in time. I never liked to draw attention to myself, but style is in the details for me. If someone notices, cool. Maybe we have something in common to talk about. For me, it’s the little things that say the most.
Son : I think it has less to do with the clothes and more to do with the person wearing them. Style is an innate quality that can’t be acquired, if it can be acquired it’ll look contrived. It’s a way of life as much as it is a way of dressing.
Q for Son : Why is your blog called “Denim on Denim”?
Son : I wanted a catchy name and something that was related to the tackier side of fashion, because I don’t believe in taking the “rules of fashion” into consideration before getting dressed. I do happen to be a pretty big denim fan, but it’s not purposely the focus of the blog.
Q for Son : Did your father take all the photos in your blog?
Son: Nope, my brother Sam, took most of them. I started with a self-timer, then employed my brother, and then finally teamed up with my dad. It’s not that I didn’t want to team up with my dad in the first place, it’s just that I didn’t even realize we could!
Q for Dad : Apart from being the photographer, did you do the styling for Cruz as well?
Dad: I do advise him when he asks for my opinion, but it’s all him. He has used a lot of my stuff for inspiration because it’s lying around the ‘House of Valdez’, but it’s all his vision. He is a master at recycling parts. I am amazed and delighted when he chooses something old of mine, and puts it together with his stuff to create something totally new! It kind of validates what I liked about the piece in the first place, and then shows me something new about it that I didn’t see before. The way he brings it all together is one of a kind, pure Cruz.
Q for Dad : What do you think about Cruz’s blog?
Dad: I love it! What you see is what you get. It’s 100% him, it’s REAL. It’s fun to read and he is always revealing some level of truth. He has always been a great writer, very literate. I am proud that he is passionate about what he believes in, and he cares about people too. He is a good person, son, and brother. No bullshit from him, but when he gets fired up and into something, get out of the way, and LOOK OUT WORLD!
Last Q: What would you like to say to your father / son?
Dad : Don’t forget to take out the trash!
Son: You’re the best!
Cruz inherited not only his father’s handsomeness and sense of style, but more important – amicability and commitment.
When I first contacted Cruz, I thought he might only want to be interviewed by VOGUE (like others), but not us. And even though he and his dad agreed to be interviewed, I still slightly worried about, “Do they have time for the interview?”, “Will they answer the questions with 1 or 2 words each?” … etc.
Voila! As you can see, dad’s answers are even longer than Cruz’s! I mean, length of the answer does not matter, but that reflects how they care about that. The father and son really embodied the great inheritance, not just style but also a great attitude.
Join our mailing list
- December 30th, 2016
- December 1st, 2016
- October 29th, 2016
- October 1st, 2016
- August 31st, 2016
- July 23rd, 2016