How do you introduce a man who co-founded a bespoke suiting company and once won an award titled (literally) Best Dressed Man in Chicago? You keep it brief. JP (@jpchookaszian) is a friend and a Chicago native who went west to the Bay where he's found a home with tech and art innovator VSCO.
Where are you from?
I spent nearly my entire life in Chicago until moving to the Bay Area about a year and a half ago.
What do you do?
Director of Revenue at VSCO, which is an art and technology company empowering people everywhere to create, discover, and connect. We are most widely known for a mobile photography app called VSCO.
Any upcoming VSCO projects you are excited about?
We just recently started a campaign called This is VSCO telling the stories of several individuals within our diverse community. I love the campaign because in a digital age, with ever-present temptations to posture ourselves in particular ways, each story implicitly tells a narrative that VSCO is a place where all of us can simply be who we are.
What does community mean to you?
Community is where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It's where values unite and culture is formed.
What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?
Asking my wife to marry me. With a close second being some duck blood hot pot I ate in China not long ago.
What is most important to you?
Faith is the nucleus of my identity. It has shaped not only the obvious aspects of my life, but also the lens through which I see my relationships, work, and even leisure. Nothing has given me greater purpose, grounding, and joy.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
“Keep the first things first” and “Don’t be lazy.”
Both from Dad.
Where do you get your inspiration?
It really depends on the season. Recently, I've gotten nice doses of inspiration from hikes in the Marin Headlands, music and poetry from Propaganda, and the energy of NYC.
How would you describe your style?
My style has changed quite a bit moving out to the west coast. I have a closet with over 30 suits that has gone virtually untouched since moving out here. Right now it's mostly basics in my wardrobe – on a typical day you’ll find me in a pair of selvedge jeans and a monochrome t-shirt. And more often than not, my tweed L&C timepiece.
Do you have any style secrets or tips?
My family used to own a custom suiting business so I have a strong appreciation for clothing that fits well. A collection of a few, well-fitting basics can do a lot to carry a wardrobe.
How do you accessorize?
I’m actually pretty simple when it comes to accessories. I’ll wear a watch and a pair of glasses, but that’s about it. Beyond just aesthetics, I love wearing things that carry meaning. I have this pair of vintage frames I got in Shanghai a few years back on a business trip with my father that I love. Wearing them brings back good memories.
When do you wear a watch?
I’ll wear a watch typically on the extremes of my wardrobe – if I’m in a suit or if I’m in a t-shirt and jeans.
What do you like most about watches?
It’s cliché, but it’s nice to have some non-digital tools these days.
What’s your favorite place?
In the mountains of Colorado.
What’s your favorite book?
I love to start my mornings reading the Bible with a cup of coffee. No other literature has been more influential or practical in helping me live life.
I read a pretty wide variety of genres though – recently I’ve listened to (big fan of Audible), “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Creativity Inc.” by Amy Wallace and Ed Catmull, “How Should We Then Live” by Francis Schaeffer, and “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by John Perkins.
What is currently on repeat on your music playlist?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Damien Jurado and Coltrane recently. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that 1989 still makes its way into the rotation every now and then.
What is your favorite thing about the Bay?
I love how much there is to do outside. You can drive an hour in any direction and be in one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen. It is still novel to me just how accessible things are here.