Ben Whatson for F-Word Magazine
"Skating is my life style, so whenever I go abroad, I will always bring my board”
F-Words Fashion Editor Sophie Emmett spent an afternoon at the Victoria Skate Park with our lovely Ben Whatson. A model who has a few more tricks up his sleeve, than just a pretty face. Photography by Iolo Lewis Edwards; Fashion by Sophie Emmett assisted by Aishsa Ijewere & Sam Richardson
Sophie Emmett: Ben, where are you originally from?
Ben Whatson: I came down from Manchester to complete my degree and have been here for the last 4 years.
S.E: How did you get into modeling?
B.W: Well, I was initially scouted in a tube station, however, when that happened I wasn’t really interested in it, as I was studying at Ravensbourne. However, when my degree finished I decided to take it on and give it a shot and it’s kept me busy ever since.
S.E: Do you have a favorite thing about modeling?
B.W: Well I get to see a lot of London, which is always cool. I have also been able to meet and network with a lot of creatives such as photographers and so many interesting people and have had doors to more opportunities open within the fashion circle, which has helped in forming my own projects.
S.E: Can you tell us a little more about these projects?
B.W: Since finishing my degree in Digital Advertising and Design, I have been using the skills, I learned in digital design, to design my own clothing label Solitary. So I value the opportunity that modeling gives me in being able to network and build my connections.
S.E: Tell us more about Solitary.
B.W: I have always been into fashion, specifically streetwear and as a skateboarder, I’ve seen the influences that the culture has brought to that of design. So I put all my passions into one and created Solitary. The name came from my interest into that of animals who most of their lives live in solidarity. My initial collection will have 15 pieces, including, hoodies, bombers, sweat shirts and even socks.
S.E: You also have an online store GARMLAB, right?
B.W: Ah yes, well the store will be launching soon. GARMLAB was formed through my passion for streetwear, so I keep my eye out for daily streetwear updates and that of young upcoming brands, to work with and sell on my platform.
S.E: What brand would you love to model for?
B.W: Well the thing with me is, that I am quite diverse, I do a lot of commercial as well as editorial. If I got a skating commercial, that would be happy days. Supreme would be amazing, whether I’ve got the looks for them, I am not sure. Nonetheless, I’ve grown up loving the brand, so it would be amazing.
S.E: With your background as a skater and street culture inspired brands, what did you think of Supremes’ recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton?
B.W: Having grown up as a skater and seen a brand like Supreme grow, I felt with its roots being skateboarding based, seeing it on the catwalk, was something that I personally didn’t agree with. I know there is a market for it, however, from a skater’s point of view, it’s just not something I believe in.
S.E: What’s your favorite fashion brand?
B.W: Well, most of my clothes are from TOPMAN, as it's always on trend! I only wear low key brands! Although, I do LOVE a GUCCI track jacket!
S.E: Shoe of choice?
B.W: I think you already know, but it has to be a VANS high top, as they are the best to skate in.
S.E: So where are your favorite spots to skate?
B.W: The street spots of London, even though we are in a park today, It’s more sets of stairs and the urban environment. Basically, I love exploring around the city finding new spots to skate. S.E: Is that a Volcom tattoo?
B.W: Ha yes! Well, I have been skating since I was about 10 years old, every day after school I’d be skating. Volcom was even sponsoring me back in the day, so at 16, I thought it was such an honor, I got the tattoo.
S.E: What board do you skate with?
B.W: Difficult one, I always skate 7.7 boards. I like a brand called Plan B which does a great shaped board, the Concave. Currently, I’m skating on a board from my local shop back up in Manchester called NOTE. Interestingly I get a lot of recognition with this board, people stop me saying “That’s Note, you must be from up north” which is great.
S.E: Do you have any modeling aspirations?
B.W: I’ve only been doing it for 6 months, so to continue doing what I enjoy, build a bigger profile, all whilst keeping busy and going with the flow.
S.E: What does your family think of your career in modeling?
B.W: Well' having recently shot something for Boots, my mum is on the lookout for me. So yes they are happy for me and my new career.
S.E: Skater, Model, and Designer, any other talents?
B.W: Watch this – (Goes on to do a back flip )
S.E: What’s your favorite F-Word?
B.W: Well' it begins with F and ends in UCK. Firetrucks! (Laughs) Well actually FEAR is one that springs to mind, as if you don’t fear what’s in front of you, then what’s the point, as it's clearly not big enough of a risk and that really applies to skating as I’ve chucked myself down stairs, but at the same time it’s a challenge and who doesn’t like one of those.
Follow Ben on Instagram: @benwhatson