10 Things Moose Knuckles Artistic Director Carlos Nazario Can’t Live Without
When Carlos Nazario joined Moose Knuckles as global artistic director, he set out to make the Canadian brand about more than just cold-weather outerwear. After many years working in the fashion industry as an editor, celebrity stylist and creative consultant, the native New Yorker has a modern outlook on the retail landscape: Brands can’t simply provide products and services anymore, he says. “A brand needs to be aligned with the cultural and social values of the people it’s trying to speak to,” he says. “You can’t just have nice coats, it has to be about more than that.” And his vision for the brand encapsulates this idea: taking Moose Knuckles’s core values in Canadiana and the outdoors and exaggerating the relationship between those and the urban dwellers who make up a large part of its audience. “Being from New York, I really spend a lot of time outdoors,” he says. “New York is a very socially active city—you’re always going somewhere or doing something and you are wearing your winter coat at least five months of the year. It’s kind of the only thing most people will see of your outfit.”
Last fall, Nazario was also part of a panel that awarded a grant to three recording artists in the Canadian rap and hip-hop community through the Moose Knuckles Heatmakers program in collaboration with Prism Prize, which is administered by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. The grant offered these artists up to $35,000 in funding to support the production of high-quality music-video content. In helping to decide the winning recipients, Nazario says it was important to choose artists who perhaps wouldn’t get to make their art otherwise. “There’s a lot of really talented people across all mediums—whether it’s music, fashion or art—who just need a little bit of resourcing or exposure, but the talent is there; the vision is there.”
As for his own vision, we asked Nazario about 10 things that he can’t live without, whether they help keep him inspired or help get him through his often busy, jet-setting schedule.
What’s Contemporary Now
Nazario says his favourite episode of this podcast is when host Christopher Michael interviewed Canadian-New Zealander fashion journalist Tim Blanks. “I think his involvement in fashion history is underrated,” Nazario says. “And I really like learning about those unsung heroes and people who make things happen behind the bolder face name.”
The Little Prince
Nazario’s go-to reread is The Little Prince, the novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which he’s read about 20 times since first picking it up as a child. He says that as he gets older, he gains a new perspective of the story each time. “It’s really powerful,” he says. “The simplicity of the message is something that has always been helpful for me in my life.”
As someone with a perpetually packed schedule, Nazario can’t do what he does without his phone. “The amount that I check Google Calendar each hour is insane,” he says.
Aside from Google Calendar, Nazario’s must-have app is Time Buddy, which is simple but does its job super well: Showing you what time it is around the world. “It’s hard to explain,” he says. “It’s so useful when you’re like, ‘Oh, someone’s asking me for a meeting at 9 p.m. Japan time. What time is that going to be in New York? But also what time is it going to be in L.A.?'”
Despite travelling all over the globe, Nazario says he always feels best when he’s travelling somewhere with really beautiful beaches. “My family’s from Puerto Rico, so the Caribbean always feels good.” He says he especially loves Jamaica—which he frequents a lot—but wouldn’t spill on his favourite beach to visit: “Then everyone will go!”
His Element hoodie
When it comes to clothing, the one piece Nazario can’t live without is a black Element hoodie he bought back when he was a teenager. Despite the fact it now has tattered cuffs and paint splatters (from when he painted his first apartment), he says it grounds him and feels like home. “I lose a lot of things—I’ve lost shoes and clothes, even whole suits,” he says. “This is the one item of clothing that has really followed me throughout my journey.”
Sugar-free Red Bull
Being well-travelled and chronically over-scheduled, Nazario turns to energy drinks to stay on his A-game, whether he’s directing a photoshoot or stuck in a meeting that’s gone over time. “When you need that little jolt, Red Bull just kicks in faster than coffee.”
Nazario says he’s really drawn to art that either mirrors or comments on contemporary life. He and his partner collect mostly contemporary Black art, and their most recent acquisition—and his current favourite—is a print (not shown here) from photographer Deana Lawson. “The simplicity of her practice and the complexity of the emotion each picture portrays with very small gestures—her work is at once really soothing and unsettling,” he says.
To Nazario, Beyoncé is everything. He says seeing the Renaissance World Tour blew him away—not just for the sheer spectacle of the show, but also all the hard work, passion and sacrifice that went into putting it together. “That level of excellence is so inspiring to me at this stage of my life,” he says. “Witnessing the culmination of someone’s passion in this really incredible piece of art was amazing.”
A good dopp kit
A toiletry bag is essential for avid travellers like Nazario, but he says he’s still on the hunt for one that’s the perfect size. Currently, he uses two nylon ones, but finds carrying two to be a hassle. “A good dopp kit is one that’s big enough to carry everything, but not so big that your things are like floating around in the bag,” he says. “It should also be something that’s easily laundered.” Perhaps a Moose Knuckles dopp kit is in our future?