The Insiders: Sam Valenti and Brian Fichtner
There are a lot of self-styled curators out there these days, but Brian Fichtner (above left) and Sam Valenti IV of Ghostly International are the real deal: They run a company that melds the record label and the store. The latter is stocked with, among other things, limited-edition art pieces, sweet-ass headphones, and a winning house T-shirt line. Brian and Sam took some time to chat with us about what they do and why it’s plain easy for dudes to be fashionable these days. —nathalie
Q: Tell me about Ghostly International.
Sam: In 1999, I was going to school in Ann Arbor, and I thought there was a lack of labels in the U.S. that catered to people who wanted cool, interesting electronic music. Most of the labels I was into were coming from Europe. I wanted to create a label with a European feel, but that was distinctly American and Midwestern.
Q: What are your essential blogs for fashion and design?
Brian: I often frequent Cool Hunting. That’s kind of my go-to. I really like to hit up Selectism because I think it has a good approach to fashion—one that speaks to pretty much everyone, not just someone who’s a fashion geek.
Sam: The Fox Is Black is a great one, more on the design side. Brian got me into Dezeen. I like Mr. Porter. A Continuous Lean is probably my favorite— the focus on craftsmanship is most interesting to me.
Q: What’s one item of clothing you really believe in splurging on?
Brian: For me, it has to be shoes. A good pair of shoes that can be resoled multiple times. Living in New York, I feel like our soles are our tires. I’m happy to invest in them.
Sam: I’d say winter coats.
Brian: I spend a little more money on outerwear myself. I have a jacket fetish.
Q: If you guys had soundtracks to your lives, what would be on them?
Sam: I would love to have the original compositions and theme by Bola, one of my favorite producers of all time. As far as what’s playing on my computer today, it’s Little Dragon’s Ritual Union, The Horrors’s Skying, and our new signing, HTRK.
Brian: For some reason, I’m reminded of a summer during college when the first Orbital album accompanied my every late-night drive. As for what I’m listening to today, it’s Pulseprogramming’s Charade is Gold, Washed Out’s Within and Without, and Seams’s Tourist.