Finding Beauty Everywhere with Mark Olson

When we first met Mark his refreshing, elegant and fun sense of style (and humor) immediately caught our attention and we knew we had found a rare gem in a sea of hoodie clad Silicon Valley males.  He has an extremely creative mind and supports many of the local artistic, cultural talent in the Bay Area at Cross PR.  We caught up with our anointed male muse to get his take on culture, the arts and why men should be more daring and have fun with what they wear!

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You work on so many interesting fashion and art projects.  Tell us what its like to be in fashion PR…

Every project and every day is so different! It’s exciting to delve into and learn about amazing clients and what they are trying to accomplish. When it comes down to it, a big part of what I do is tell stories – it’s all about telling your client’s story to everyone. I love working with incredible brands and people and telling their stories. 

If someone wanted to get into fashion PR, what advice would you give them?

Be ready for everything. You’ll work on so many things you didn’t expect to be dealing with on a daily basis, but it’s all about having fun with it.

Tell us about your style philosophy. What goes into the selection of your clothing?

My style philosophy is just a belief that style is supposed to be fun. I always find one core element to tie an outfit together – whether a color palette or aesthetic like ‘military’ or ‘minimal’ – and try to create a fun and functional outfit. When I have that core idea behind each outfit, it may be a mix of a bunch of prints or types of pieces, but will stay clean and pulled together.

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Do you think fashion is art? 

Absolutely! I think the shows/presentations are the most “artistic” aspect for many designers – they create an entire environment and story when presenting their collections, and I see that as the art work, and the individual pieces of clothing as extensions of that work, which may act as individual artworks on their own as well.

Do you have any fashion advice for men in Silicon Valley who might want to take a more daring or interesting approach to how they dress? 

Honestly, just, why not? Wearing clothes is something you have to do every day. Why not have fun with it and make a statement? This isn’t 2003 anymore, dressing well isn’t looked down upon for men (What a strange time the late 90’s/early 00’s were!). Everyone appreciates well-dressed men.  Also, nice men’s clothes are way more comfortable than your startup’s t-shirt. There’s no excuse at this point.

Do you think San Franciscans are becoming more attune to fashion and culture? 

There’s a huge influx of boutiques and art galleries opening in the city right now and I’m loving all of it. I’m hoping this will open people’s eyes to new incredible artists and designers – many local – who have amazing things to offer. Really, I’m hoping all this fashion & art activity just gets more people into these truly rewarding parts of culture.

Who are your favorite designers?

Lee Alexander McQueen is hands-down my favorite designer.  Every collection he created was so different and interesting and presented a real viewpoint, both on fashion and on various aspects of global culture. His shows told deep stories and his work has had such an impact on me. Just look at his Spring 2001 “Voss” collection. Everything, from the timing and design of the show to the materials used in each piece, continues to blow my mind. He was a true genius.

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What are a couple of your favorite pieces that you can’t live without?

My denim jacket (with my grandfather’s pins from his time in the military) and black leather moto jacket are my wardrobe staples and only get better with age. My Christian Louboutin cap toe shoes are everything! His shoes really make you feel special. And my God Save McQueen scarf makes me so happy. There’s really no piece in my closet I haven’t fallen in love with.

What does luxury mean to you?

Luxury is something unique, it’s something that is special and will last forever. Luxury is an experience, not a product.

Please tell us about jewelry! How did you go about selecting jewelry – you have many interesting pieces. 

 Jewelry all comes down to what speaks to you. I rarely buy jewelry because I refuse to buy anything I don’t plan on keeping for many years. I’m obsessed with my Chanel bracelet my mom gave to me from her collection. Because of the longevity of jewelry, it can carry so much meaning.

What inspires you?  

I know this is like the standard pretentious answer, but, EVERYTHING. There’s beauty everywhere you look, especially the places many people overlook. Once you start looking for beauty everywhere, you can find inspiration in anything.

In terms of my style, I’m mostly inspired by designers themselves, womenswear (I think it’s much more interesting than menswear), music, and anyone’s looks I may see on the street.

Do you have any naughty indulgences?

Jesus, give me a pint of ice cream or a box of macarons and I will finish it without hesitation.

What’s something that most people would be surprised to hear about you?

I look and walk real good in 6-inch heels.

What are some of your favorite Bay Area hangouts?

I’m totally obsessed with Philz and should probably blame them for my caffeine addiction but I’m okay with it. On any weekend night you can probably find me at Cockscomb, Lone Star, Whitechapel, or any of the amazing tiki bars in SF.

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Favorite museum?

The de Young, and probably will be the new SFMOMA

Favorite art gallery? 

The Sorokko Gallery always has amazing works, and I’m really excited about the new B.A.D. Space Gallery in the Dogpatch.

Vintage or new?

Vintage if you can find a good piece, but I never have the patience. New.

Polka dots or stripes?

Stripes. I got shade-tweeted in college buy this guy who hashtagged #losethestripes or something. I wore all my stripes to class the next day.

What would you never, ever wear?

I really, really, really hate those college/gym shower shoes that are strangely trendy now. They’re heinous.

San Francisco or Paris?

Paris to visit, San Francisco to live

Tesla or Ferrari?

Tesla

Instagram or Snapchat?

Instagram, it’s just so pretty

If you have to pick one word to describe yourself what would it be?

Adventurous

If you could have lunch with anyone in fashion, who would you choose and why?

Marc Jacobs. I just love everything about him.

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Valentina & Francesca

Valentina & Francesca is for the millennial individual who sets the direction to her life with optimism and an unwaveringly open mind. A high-impact, laser-focused digital platform generating unique content inspiring connected women to discover their personal style. Valentina & Francesca enhances your brand’s story with bold contemporary narratives celebrating confidence and power in a smart, irreverent way within a highly engaged community.

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