Chris Cushingham, Founder, Cush Design Studio
We've heard many model-turned-designer stories, but Chris Cushingham's path led from fashion to furniture. As the founder of Cush Design Studio, the Williamsburg resident is now in the business of creating custom, industrial-style home pieces. He still, however, proves to be fodder for the camera.
And who could help it? Cushingham is a man who doesn't take himself too seriously — opting for lazy-day comfort, kitschy-cool tees, and sweaters inspired by sweets (yes, like Funfetti cake). Put them all together, and they articulate his approach to summer style. More sartorially cool than silly, this Brooklyn boy calls his style "sporadic and impulsive," but we argue that flawless instincts are behind his unique getups. Read ahead for more, and don't be surprised when the cake cravings kick in.
My style in six words or less:
"In the summertime? Pool-side."
The greatest style lesson I've ever learned:
"If the buttons are on the left-side, that grandpa sweater you bought at the vintage store is actually a grandma sweater. I forget who enlightened me to this, but it was a valuable lesson."
My first major, big-ticket style purchase:
"A pair of classic, brown-leather boots from J. Lindeberg. I wore them for years and years until there were holes in the soles, and puddle water would seep into my socks every time I left the house."
My most surprising, out-of-left-field fashion find:
"My friends in New York call me Sweet Tooth, because I love all things dessert. Last year, I was visiting my parents in California, looking at all the weird, new stores that have opened up at the local mall there when I found this creamy-colored sweater with little colorful flecks all over it that looked just like Funfetti cake. I, Sweet Tooth, lover of Funfetti cake, had to have this masterpiece. Now, I wear my Funfetti mall sweater all the time, and it makes me happy and hungry."
My three favorite places to shop:
"Years ago I used to do some modeling, and sometimes I would get clothes as part of the job, which really helped my wardrobe situation. But, now that I gave all that up to make furniture, my fashion connections are running thin, and I’m starting to look like a homeless person. I love the clothes they have at Assembly New York in LES. If I could afford to, I would revamp my wardrobe there. Nowadays, I find myself perusing the vintage-clothing shops in my neighborhood (Williamsburg). I don’t really know what they are formally called other than ‘that vintage shop out by the White Castle on Grand,' and ‘the vintage shop over by the BQE and N. 6th,’ etc. I just bought this really great super-soft, bright-orange T-shirt with sailboats on it from the Vans store, of all places, that I will probably wear every day this summer. My clothing purchases tend to be sporadic and impulsive."
My definitive summer go-to outfit:
"This new orange T-shirt with the sailboats; some lightweight, roundish sunglasses; some comfy cutoffs; and my old, black Vans. Funfetti sweater can come, too."
If I were 80 years old today:
"I look forward to embracing old manhood and dressing the part. I will probably wear a lot of tucked-in, button-up shirts with fuzzy sweaters, mismatched blazers and slacks — with my belt up around my belly button — and maaaybe some funny socks to give the kids something to laugh about."
Styled by Laura Pritchard, Hair by Bethany Brill, Makeup by Tiffany Patton
Look 1: Vans orange sailboat shirt; Freemont chino shorts; Vans Canvas Authentic Lo Pro Sneaker, $45, available at Vans.
Look 2: Topman short-sleeve bird shirt; American Apparel Tri Blend Tank, $20, available at American Apparel; G-Star Raw denim shorts; Pointer Brand gray-suede sneaker.
Photographed by Geordy Pearson