by John Russel Jones

Harper Lee once said, “Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.” Here at MR, we’ve always taken that to heart, knowing that our stories are always richer and more nuanced when we ask the experts for their opinions on the news and issues that shape our corner of the world. Since the magazine’s founding in 1990, we’ve also had an MR Advisory Board to go to for guidance and direction on some of the bigger picture issues that impact the menswear industry. We have the pleasure of introducing a whole new board to you this year and are starting today with Justin Berkowitz, Men’s Fashion Director for Bloomingdale’s

I began my career in women’s editorial, with positions at Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, and Marie Claire. A fateful dinner at SIHH [Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie] led me to Details magazine where I worked on the fashion team and covered the American and French markets. It was a great opportunity and learning experience for me. About six years ago, I joined the team at Bloomingdale’s as the men’s fashion director and since then, I’ve had the pleasure of working with an excellent merchant team and creative team to bring our vision of the men’s business to life.

The best part of my job is that no two days are the same. I’m never sitting at a desk all day, whether that is at home or in the office. The flip side and one of the challenges is that my responsibilities touch numerous parts of the business, so I may need to quickly re-prioritize where I need to be and what I need to do. This is also an opportunity to make sure I’m efficient with my time.

One lesson I’ve learned, when in doubt, err on the side of classicism – whatever that may mean to you. Inevitably, you’ll feel a little more comfortable, the pictures will look a little better, and you’ll be happier in the end.

Now, this may sound like a contradiction, but I don’t think it necessarily has to be: Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen guys get more comfortable with risk, whether that’s a shift in silhouette, color, or fabric, and I think we’re going to see this behavior continue. Men are having fun with their fashion choices and that’s opening up an entirely new world of possibilities which is fascinating.

I studied art history in school, so I’d probably be working in the art space if I hadn’t ended up in the fashion world. I found that the education I received in that sphere, such as learning how to appreciate the visual arts and developing a vocabulary to speak about them, has been very helpful in my fashion career.