While juggling numerous professional hats, Ed Nakfoor still makes time to look stylish. Ed shares his locally crafted style and favorite type of art.
By Rachel Schostak
Photography by Viviana Pernot
Ed Nakfoor is a Birmingham-based retail branding and public relations expert, freelance writer and former college professor. He’s also a high school and college writing tutor, and assists recent graduates with their career searches and personal branding. While wearing numerous professional hats, Nakfoor says all his work is bound together by a deep reservoir of creativity and service to others. “I help those I’m working with find solutions and achieve their very best,” he says.
1. Tell us about yourself. I’m a Birmingham-based retail branding and public relations expert, freelance writer, high school and college writing tutor, and, as of earlier this year, career coach.
2. What do you love about your community? The creativity, the urbane sensibilities even in suburban environments and the coffee and baked goods at Birmingham’s Cannelle Patisserie and Svenska Café — great spots for freelancers to get some work done.
3. One word to describe your style? Singular.
4. Is there something in your style that is always consistent? Most everything will have been purchased locally, either from an independently owned shop or a branch of a national chain. I might pick up an item or two when traveling, but only brands or from stores not available here. I can count on less than one hand the number of online purchases I’ve made — that’s no exaggeration. We only have ourselves to support the retailers here, especially the independents.
5. What’s the one item that you can’t leave home without? There’s always more than one: You’ll spot me carrying a well-made notebook and an interesting mechanical pencil, and wearing a hat and watch. They’re conversation starters in an era when such stylish touches have been relegated to museums.
6. Your must-have item for summer? Knit polo shirts — a step up from the preppy summer staple — in solids and block stripes, and a few with pockets. I like the cool, vintage vibe. They’re perfect with shorts and khakis, and especially sharp under a suit for an occasion that’s dressy but not so much.
7. Best style advice? Considering how chilly it was this spring, dress for the weather rather than the season. And in warm weather remember flip-flops aren’t street shoes, and when shorts graze your kneecaps wear pants at that point.
8. Where do you love to shop? My favorites include: 1701 Bespoke in Detroit, OPTIK Birmingham, Today Clothing in Ann Arbor, Caruso Caruso in Birmingham, my neighborhood Kohl’s, Shinola in Midtown, and Fleece & Thank You (I sit on the board of this Novi-based nonprofit) for great hoodies and pocket T-shirts.
9. Since June is our Art Issue, is there an artist love or are inspired by? Do you have a favorite type of art? My go-to will be pieces from the ’60s and early ’70s. There was a wonderful aesthetic shaping design — modern, sharp edged, sexy, optimistic, otherworldly even. I also collect retail memorabilia and vintage typewriters.
10. What’s the large oil painting behind you? The Sea is by Detroit artist Richard Jerzy from the late 1960s. I saw his finished piece years ago — much smaller — at a gallery in Birmingham. I regret not buying it at the time as the gallery is now closed.
11. Favorite quote or words to live by? Because you can doesn’t mean you should.
12. Head-to-toe outfit details: 1701 Bespoke custom shirt and pocket square; Detroit Denim vest; Carhartt pants from Today Clothing in Ann Arbor; Detroit Denim belt; Shinola watch; original vintage frames from OPTIK Birmingham; Clarks Chukka boots (shop similar), Dibi tie from Caruso Caruso (shop similar).