Antoni Porowski is tired of wearing formless sweat shorts and oversized tees. "They served their purpose," the Queer Eye food and wine expert tells L'OFFICIEL, "but now I'm excited to make a little more effort." After a six-month quarantine in Austin, Texas, the Netflix personality and New York Times Best-Selling author is finally back in New York with rescue dog Neon and beau Kevin Harrington in tow, and now he finally has something new to wear: his brand-new capsule collection with J Brand. Releasing today, the 10-piece, staple-based assortment draws inspiration from Porowski's wardrobe off the red carpet as well from those in his inner circle. There are the updated leather pants that Justin Theroux originally inspired Porowski to wear. The leather trucker jacket for Tan. The bomber for Karamo, of course. The trousers for Bobby. And as for Jonathan Van Ness? Denim. "JVN demanded every color and style," says Porowski. "So of course I obliged." Here, the Canada-born, Polish actor-turned-chef-turned-book-writer-and-now-designer speaks with L'OFFICIEL exclusively about the details of the collaboration, the importance of sustainability, and his past men's fashion faux pas.
L'OFFICIEL: How was co-creating a fashion capsule with J Brand different from writing a book or opening up a restaurant?
ANTONI POROWSKI: It's been a damn lot of fun! Like everything else I pursue, I tried to make the collection personal. I [remember] being in elementary school and noticing if one of the other kids didn't have a lunch with them. I was too embarrassed to share mine at the time because I was worried about not being "cool." I think about that a lot as a grown man now—so much so that I wanted to have an embroidered or printed paper lunch bag with the letter "A" on every piece of my collection. It serves as a reminder and maybe a bit of vanity, too. [Laughs.] Another fun detail is that my Polish family crest is displayed on the top buttons of the pleated trousers.
L'O: Why was it important that the line be sustainable?
A: Sustainability should be a non-negotiable in this current climate. We all have a responsibility to do our part, especially if we're putting a collection of clothing out into the world. As such, all of the denim in the collection is sustainably made using J Brand's eco-wash process, which uses an average of 90 percent less water. Recycled thread and premium organic cotton are also used throughout the collection.
L'O: Other than using less water and reusing materials, how else can we live more ecologically friendly?
A: I am by no means a shining example of practicing sustainability, but I certainly am cognizant. I try to implement certain practices like using a reusable water bottle, trying to use all of the ingredients when possible with produce and meat, limiting beef consumption to special occasions, and reducing water usage overall. Everyone can take part in meaningful ways. Not only is it good for the environment, but it also makes you feel good knowing you're doing your part in helping make sure we don't end up on Mars in 30 years.
L'O: What are some of the best and worst things you've learned about fashion?
A: I'm so wary of trends. Sure, I've worn boxy, oversized double-breasted suits (Dior) and technicolor silk two-pieces (Sies Marjan), but at the end of the day I'm a tee shirt and jeans kind of guy. It's what I am drawn to the most not only in regards to my personal style but also in other people. Nothing is sexier than someone in the perfect, slightly wrinkled tee and denim that fits just right. It's effortless, timeless, and just simply cool.
L'O: Why is it important to continue to buy new clothes and keep getting dressed, etc?
A: While I strive to practice minimalism in terms of clothing, I think staples are important. We all need the perfect pair of jeans, tee, fall trucker, and bomber. I love having go-tos front and center in my closet that I rely on whether I am going out to dinner for a long walk or even a work-related Zoom meeting. The other day my boyfriend and I were getting dressed to go on a date to one of our favorite restaurants providing distanced outdoor seating, and we both complimented each other on how we looked. As Tan France has taught me: It's important to make the effort not only for yourself but also for the person who has to look at you.