Meet Randall. He's the Event Manager + Fashion Editor of Good Grit Magazine. He's a good one to get to know. His ambitious personality combined with a flare for the social has made him one of Birmingham's most beloved. You can often find him hanging down in Lakeview, at some of the city's biggest events or in some cases up in his downtown office space working on the next big event of his own.
When I walked up for my shoot with Randall everything was just as I thought it would be, a spontaneous and eventful evening. I got a phone call from him about 30 minutes before the shoot saying, "Don't hate me, but is there anyway that we could shoot downtown? I'm with some friends". Well, I mean of course I was happy to do it, that kind of off-the-wall personality is why I enjoy hanging out with him and so I found Randall surrounded by all his friends at the new Sky Castle in Lakeview sipping on mimosas and soaking up the sun. We later talked about the funny joke behind the Ran"dolls" (Randall and his pretty group of friends)... More on that later.
How the Story Began...
I met Randall at a Young Professionals Birmingham (YPBirmingham) social a couple of years ago when I was on the board for a short time. At that time Randall was working events for his Alma Mater, The University of Montevallo. There Randall received his bachelors in Mass Communication Studies. Two things I noticed about Randall, one was his aptness for the social life and the other was his knack for dreaming big. We got a few minutes between shoots to talk about some awesome opportunities for the fashion industry in Birmingham. I'm always inspired by talks like that. It was incredibly inspirational. Possibly another post on that soon.
Randall has always had an eye for fashion. He started working retail at American eagle before his career took him to Dillard's as a Visual Manager (the professionals who design the merchandising of the store) J.Crew and finally led him to Parson's School of Design in Manhattan for Fashion Marketing, though he left for other passions before finishing the program. It's Randall's approach to being well groomed that I appreciate the most. He shared that he prefers to idea of style over fashion and went on to explain that style is how you dress for yourself while fashion is how you dress for other people.
It's pretty interesting in hearing about his experiences and how it all has played a part in preparing him for his dream job at Good Grit Magazine.
Hangin' Down in Lakeview
We took a trip down to Birmingham's ever growing Lakeview district downtown. I've apparently been out of the loop because it was 3pm and the place was packed out with 20's to 30's everywhere. Lounge style couches and Townies wearing shades were what everyone was about this past weekend. So I, coming off of a busy Sunday, decided to cancel the rest of my plans for the day and just enjoy the scene while me and Randall took some photos.
My decision to go with the flow paid off. We were entertained by a very talented young musician, which I wish I could remember her name. I'm always looking for great musical talent for parties, followed by mimosa's and some funny college students who obviously had been there before we did. I was mostly inspired by the amount of style that I saw on the patio. Guys were wearing Panama hats, sport coats, high fashion sweaters and white pants. Randall of course was decked out in his style as always.
After a good solid couple of hours hanging out it was off to the office for a look behind the scene at Good Grit Magazine and a fun shoot.
Living the Good Grit Life
Randall is now the Event Director and Fashion Editor of Good Grit Magazine located in the beautiful Phoenix building downtown on 2nd Avenue North. This has become a hot spot in Birmingham due to the newly opened Lyric and the older Alabama Theatre. Also, just a block away from Revelator Coffee Company which is probably where our next big brainstorming session will most likely take place.
Event Manager. Randall's role as the Event Manager sounds incredibly exhausting though he makes it look like a breeze. He's the guy with the walky-talky making sure Sh*t gets done. His role has him planning the awesome events by Good Grit, finding the sponsors, driving the attendance, and making sure the event goes without a hitch. I need a cocktail just from hearing about it, but like I said, Randall makes it happen. I'm looking forward to some exciting events this year.
Fashion Editor. The other proverbial hat that Randall wears is the Fashion Editor at the Magazine. It's in this role that he creates the content for the online and print in all things fashion. Here he works closely with the writer, photographer, and advertisers to ensure that you guys get the best of what's hot and trending. (eh-hem... Charlie.. cough cough).
It's more than just coming up with fun ideas though. Randall's role is to create guidelines, almost like a formula, for the magazine so that consistency pays off in content. He also the one behind-the-shoot putting together looks and organizing the models with the photographers.
And he even has time to hit the gym... If you need help creating a couple of extra hours in your day you should probably hit up Randall.
The Style of Randall Porter
Hipster Meets Classic
little Q and A
Charlie: First and foremost, you've got to give us the details on the Ran"dolls"...
Randall: Well, it's actually all kind of a joke. With my name being Randall people you to call me Ran-doll. From there it became kind of a joke, Randall and his Ran"Dolls", (referring to his usual hang-out buddies) but some people took it too seriously. It's really always just been kind of an inside joke.
C: Okay, so what's your family like?
R: Well, My parents had me when they were young so I spent most of my time growing up with my Grandmother and my Aunt. I get a lot of my character that I have now from them.
C: What brought you to Good Grit Magazine?
R: I had just ended my career as the Transfer Admissions Counselor. I learned a lot working for my alma mater; however, I needed a more creative environment. I met with Laura Bento through a mutual friend after learning her need of an Events Manager. I was hired within 2 days after meeting Laura. Throughout my time with the company, Laura learned that I could useful in the fashion and production side of the magazine.
C: Birmingham has so many great places to eat but what's your favorite right now?
R: Bamboo on 2nd at the moment but loving pho dishes.
C: How do you spend most of your downtime in Birmingham?
R: I spend most of my time with friends. I'm a social person, I don't take a lot of vacations but if a group of friends wanted to go somewhere and were like "Hey you should come with"...then I'd be down.
C: Who is your favorite style icon?
R: Pharrell Williams, Jared Leto (editor's note: anyone notice the hair?), Jenna Lyons (President J.Crew) Patricia Field (Costume Designer Sex and the City) ,Brad Goreski, Nico Tortorella, and Rhianna are my mondern favorite icons.
C: Who are some of your local Birmingham Style Icons:
C: How would you define your personal style?
R: I mix the influence of the hipster and classic style. I love a good statement piece, however, I love the classics.
C: Who or what has influenced your style the most?
R: I don't know where it comes from. I pull from street fashion.
C: What is your favorite article of clothing that you can never buy enough of?
R: I am not sure if I have a favorite item that I can't buy. I have always been a fan of getting really nice things at discounted prices. I never pay full price for anything.
C: Tell us something interesting about yourself.
R: Well, Even though I can belt a song out in the shower or in the car I wouldn't be caught dead on the stage. I like being around the spotlight but I don't like being centerstage.
C: Do you have a morning ritual?
R: I try to wake up at 7 am, weekdays. (no matter my call time/ schedule) . I lay in bed. Check social media, the weather, and ponder if should workout (usually no), where to eat/ get coffee (prefer tea). Then- I eventually get up and shower. Since my day to day changes… I don’t plan my outfits until the day of. Then I try to be out and about by 9:30AM.