Everton McDougall puts faith in music artists to sell his fashion brand
By Andrew Paul | July 1, 2012
Photography by Curtis Trent; Styled by Jared Tabler; Hair by Lauren Hughes of Mousy Browns; Makeup by Nickol Walkemeyer
Everton McDougall moved to Edmonton from Texas to train for the 1992 Olympic Games, but very quickly the long and triple-jumper got some bad news. “Once I got here I found out that I had knee problems,” he recalls. “So I had surgery, but the doctor told me that my cartilage was damaged and there would be no more jumping.”
So, instead he began his leap to the Canadian fashion podium. After working in a West Edmonton Mall clothing store for a couple of years, the self-taught fashion consultant opened his own boutique on Whyte Avenue, Colour Blind, where he became a sales rep for major ’90s labels Ben Sherman and Emily Strange. While there, McDougall began working with local hip-hop artists to market his clothing and help out the music community by throwing shows for it.
“I prefer to work with smaller artists who appreciate what they’re given and, because I work with so many, I figured why not make a CD? And that’s how The gsus Affair came to be in 2010.”
The compilation album was mixed and mastered by Tony Young, a.k.a. Master T, and 1,500 copies were distributed to clothing stores across Canada. “The artists are my canvas. And the more they are seen out there wearing my clothes the better it is for me, and I also help promote their music.”
How did you get involved in bridging fashion and music?
One thing that inspired me was when I saw Kanye West in Quebec City. I really liked what he was wearing. It wasn’t your typical oversized, big and baggy style. He was dressed smart with a Bill Blass sweater with toned-down pants. That really impressed me. As a result I could see the hip-hop market shifting to a more European style.
In 2001 I flew to London with a friend of mine – she was a beautiful Swedish girl I was trying to hook up with – and she introduced me to a line called gsus. I started carrying them in my store and, in 2002, they offered me a position to go corporate, and I did.
Describe your style in a sentence.
I’m conservative yet fashionable.
Where do you shop in Edmonton?
My closet. I don’t wear anything but my brand. It’s gsus 24/7. If I worked at McDonald’s, why would I promote Burger King? The only time I don’t wear gsus is when I’m working out.
Do you have a piece of clothing you can’t live without?
No I don’t. My closets are filled. I don’t throw anything away. From the denim I used to wear eight years ago from gsus to the T-shirt that’s shrunk to half its size – everything in my closet is my favourite.
What should people keep in mind when putting together an outfit?
Colours must work with your skin tone. When you have blonde hair and light skin, don’t wear black. Blue is a good colour, grey is a good colour on you. It’s important to look at the foundation of what you put together, then add or take away from it.
What trends are you seeing in men’s fashion this year?
Guys are getting bored of jeans, so men are starting to wear a lot of non-denim products. There are a lot of woven shirts, cardigans and colours. I also see a lot of casual shoes.
What fashion trend are you happy to see fade away?
I’m glad that Ed Hardy shit is over, but what I really hate are these artists who fall in love with fashion and decide to create a line and call themselves “designers.” Call yourself a merchandiser. Don’t call yourself a designer. Can you draw a pattern? Do you know what an A-line is?
What do you wear during a night on the town?
It depends on the occasion. If a suit jacket is required … I would take a plain blazer and add some colours through the shirt or pants, but the shoes must be neutral. I won’t go too far out into left field with my shoes. You need that solid foundation to build on the colours.
What do you wear to business meetings?
I don’t wear suits. I’ll wear a blazer and pants that are either slacks or denim. I may be a conservative dresser, but I still try to dress outside of the norm. There are ways you can dress that are different, but still look respectable.
What do you look for in footwear?
I’m very simple. My closet used to be filled with nothing but Adidas, but now I’m wearing a line called Palladium. My feet are very wide, so those shoes are very comfortable.
You travel a lot. What can’t you leave home without?
I cannot travel without two pairs of Adidas shoes in my suitcase, my workout gear and I love to wear a lot of T-shirts because I’m constantly on the move, and they’re easy to pack. I always bring one blazer with me as well, and a bottle of Aramis cologne, of course.
What do you pack in your dopp kit?
Toothpaste, a bottle of Scope, my Andis shaver, a brush and 360 hair-gel for black people’s hair, which has to be oily; it can’t be dry.
Are you into tech gadgets?
I’m so behind the times. I have a BlackBerry, which I’m constantly on, but when it comes to these new gadgets I’m old school, man. I hate texting, “tweetering” and all that shit. If I need to speak to someone I’m going to pick up the phone and call them.
Does your son take after his old man’s fashion sense?
He’s 19, and as a young kid I think fashion was quite foreign to him. But over the last two years he’s become very stylish. He has a style of his own, though he won’t be following me into my line of business, because he’s pursuing sports broadcasting at NAIT. He has an old-school mentality; when he’s out in the field doing interviews, you’ll find him wearing a sports coat, a tie and a fedora.