30 Minutes With: Jeff Carvalho

First impressions go a long way in this world, and Jeff Carvalho knows it. The 39-year-old cofounder of the men’s style and lifestyle site Selectism presents himself like a real-life version of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark: intelligent, well-dressed, confident.

Eric Yang

First impressions go a long way in this world, and Jeff Carvalho knows it. The 39-year-old presents himself like a real-life version of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark: intelligent, well-dressed, confident. He’s got killer handshake and congenial smile. As a result, people listen when he talks. Or maybe they listen because he tells great stories. Or because he’s the kind of guy that can go out for a night of karaoke and wind up sitting in Big Boi’s living room.

In 2005, Carvalho was working at an internet content delivery company when he met Rob Heppler (credited by Nike for designing the Lobster and Coraline Dunks). The two decided to fuel their passion for streetwear and art by founding a podcast called Weekly Drop. Not long after, Carvalho met Dave Fischer, founder of Titel Media, and the two launched Selectism, a design-focused men’s lifestyle website. Today, Carvalho also edits HighSnobiety, Selectism‘s brother site, which focuses on streetwear and fashion. It’s an interesting life for a man who started his career at pharmacy school. We caught up with the menswear influencer to talk about manners, music and pineapple soda.

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Q. What’s one thing every man should know?
A. Salutations. Never underestimate the power of a strong handshake and conversational greeting. First impressions go a long, long way.

Q. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
A. Quitting my day job, leaving a relationship and moving out of my house all in the same week. Resets in life are a refreshing way to cleanse and begin again — just don’t do three resets in a week. I do not recommend it.

Q. What are you working on right now?
A. Various projects for Highsnobiety and Selectism. Fashion and market weeks are about to kick off in Europe and we’re preparing for coverage. The ninth issue of Highsnobiety magazine is coming soon; we have a ton of work around that. But my favorite project is a new on-going mix series on Selectism that brings together not just DJs but curators from our favorite brands and shops. So far, so good.

Never underestimate the power of a strong handshake and conversational greeting. First impressions go a long, long way.

Q. Name one thing you can’t live without.
A. My Surly Steamroller bicycle. It’s turning 10 years old in 2015. Nothing has been a more consistent part of my daily life than this old grey bicycle.

Q: Who or what influences you?
A: Music, including one hit wonders, techno, ambient, folk, rock, and compositional work; artwork, especially pieces from the turn of the 20th century, and from Matisse, Picasso, the Bauhaus, and German Expressionist woodcuts; modular homes as well as large, open-room structures like night clubs, town halls and airplane hangers; photography; the grid lines on cutting mats; packaging, especially that made from cardboard and paper; all forms of vegetation — particularly flowers with the color yellow; and yoyos.

Q. What are you reading right now?
A. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s a book that breaks the mind down into two systems: the snap judgment response-ready System 1 and the fact checking, slow to pull the trigger System 2. The book’s about how they compete against one another and how we can work have them compliment one another.

Q. Name one thing no one knows about you.
A. When I was 16 I went to a Mighty Mighty Bosstones show in New Haven, CT. Dickey Barrett, their lead singer, stage dove into the crowd and dropped the mic, which landed in front of me. The evil-looking bouncer on the side of stage shoved the mic in my hand, pulled me up by my t-shirt and instructed me to start singing. Trust me: I did as he said. That was my first time on a stage; it was also my first time singing.

Q. It’s your last drink and meal on earth. What’ll it be?
A. Big, fat slabs of yellowtail, toro, and pike mackerel sashimi with two Sumol Ananas Pineapple Sodas, Portugal’s original sugary soft drink, in green glass bottles. It kills Fanta hands down.

Q. If you could go back and tell your 16 year old self something, what would you say?
A. Dance, skank, mosh, and stage dive much, much more.

Q. How do you want to be remembered?
A. Loudly, whenever Joe Jackson’s “Steppin Out” is played on the radio.

Q. Three albums. One desert island. Go.
A. Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, Revolver by The Beatles and Energy by Operation Ivy.

Q. We know you’re a huge fan of house music. Where is the genre headed?
A. House music is the rhythm of life. The tempo of house music is very similar to one’s active heart rate when on a treadmill or jogging. For this reason, we are in tune with house music more so than almost any other genre. Just dance and move. You’ll feel good about it. The genre continues to evolve and revolve around positive sounds that put smiles on people’s faces.

It is not EDM. Please do not class it as such.

Q. You had several jobs before your present occupation as partner in Titel Media. What did you learn in previous careers that helped you get where you are today?
A. Be one of the nice guys and work with people in the manner you want them to work with you.

Q. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
A. Not leveraging myself enough during my 20s. Regardless of the outcome, you can bounce back quickly in your youth.

Q. You’re known to dress very well for the occasion. What are your rules?
A. Regardless of what you wear, be sure you feel comfortable in your selection. If you happen to mismatch an item, UNIQLO will probably have a cheap and fast solution to solve your issue, temporarily.

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Check out High Snobiety and Selectism.

KETEL ONE® Vodka. Distilled from Wheat. 40% Alc/Vol. ©2014 Imported by Ketel One USA, Aliso Viejo, CA.

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