Fashion As Art

In December 2021/January 2022, Stuff by Raleigh MagazineLeave a Comment

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For creative Bryan Costello, style is just as much an art form as his interior design projects.

Kernersville-bred, Raleigh-based freelance interiors and art director Bryan Costello’s creative chops extend far beyond his day job. Beyond helping people create meaningful spaces—painting, curating art collections and working with all kinds of makers—he says, “I obsess over furniture; I stay up too late; I treat clothing like art; I watch feel-good television; I have anxiety; I eat pasta; and, more than anything, I love talking with people about what makes them feel happy and free.” Pretty much #goals. He also really digs his sweetheart Donna and their beagle, Noche. … And on that “clothing like art thing” note: hence why he’s the quintessential subject for our latest Signature Style. His wardrobe and vision are but its own exercise in creative freedom and artistic expression. Here, we scoop his style. @c_o_s_t_e_l_l_o

Hometown: I grew up in Kernersville and have spent most of my adult years in Raleigh and Austin. I live in Mordecai now.

What do you love most about Raleigh: The people, without a doubt. From the moment I landed here in the summer of 2006, my community has grown into an unbelievable number of kind, creative, quirky humans who make this city what it is.

Currently listening to: Music and podcasts are a huge part of every day for me, so this list changes constantly. This week in music it’s Westerman, The Lounge Lizards, Dante High, Frank Ocean and Aero Flynn, and podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.

Style influencers: This is a really tough question because, to be honest, I don’t look to anyone to influence what I wear. Don’t get me wrong—I see people out in the world who blow me away with their sense of style, but it’s always because they’re in tune with themselves and reflect it beautifully through their looks. The best style is always personal and impossible to replicate. Deana Nguyen (Feature Flora founder); Jamil Rashad (aka Boulevards); my partner, Donna Orr (Dear Hearts co-founder )—all great local examples of personal style I admire. You can tell when someone has it, they glow a little.

Favorite clothing labels: Bode, KidSuper, Raleigh Denim. There are also so many kids you can find online who are sewing, painting, embroidering and creating one-of-a-kind art clothes. I love discovering their work and their stories.

Boxers or briefs: Always trunk briefs. Men’s underwear is a tough game; it took me years to find a near-perfect pair. I wear CDLP.

Local go-to shop: Raleigh Denim after closing time. (Big thanks to Victor Lytvinenko and my art family for collaborating on a couple of custom pieces for this shoot!)

Last great meal: Donna and I like to host little dinners on our side porch where we can eat well; listen to music; and have the deepest, weirdest conversations with all of the interesting characters in our lives. Lately it’s been hot dogs with every topping you can dream of. If I’m going out though, you’ll find me eating at Stanbury and Garland.

Go-to piece in your closet: 1983 Supersole No. 404 Red Wing boots. I wear them to walk the dog; I wear them to meetings; and last week, I wore them to a wedding.

Current dream destinations: Sweden, Italy, Japan. I’ll go anywhere to eat thoughtful food and stay in a beautiful hotel.

Style secret: Enjoyment and connection! If you don’t look at personal style as a creative outlet, as something fun to play around with, no sweat—it’s not for everyone. But there’s real joy to be found with clothing; you interact with it constantly; it keeps you cool; it warms you up; it holds your stuff; it protects you; it’s got your back. With my interior design work, I’m always searching for that spark of connection in the objects we surround ourselves with. What do we surround ourselves with more than the clothes we wear?

Moment in your life that inspired your style: I didn’t care much about style when I was young. What I did care about was soccer. And, every season, I’d get a new pair of boots, always a different brand, always a different color. There was a magic around stepping into that new pair of cleats. I would even wear them in the shower so the leather would form to my feet as they dried. In return, they’d make me feel powerful on the field. Years later, the equipment has changed, but the feeling is the same.

To view a previous Signature Style, visit here.

Currently wearing, from left: Look one: Hat: Eddie Chacon merch; long coat: 1/1 handpainted Raleigh Denim; shirt: vintage Marcello, Cheshire Cat; pants: vintage wool navy trousers. Father & Son Antiques socks: Reebok; shoes: Weejuns lug penny loafers. Look two: Suede fringe jacket: my late grandfather’s collection; sweater: Selected Homme; collared shirt: vintage find, Father & Son Antiques; pants: 1/1 handpainted Raleigh Denim; socks: Pair of Thieves; boots: H by Hudson; necklace: Donna’s late mother’s collection; ring: We Are Ancients. 

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