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Mark McNairy's Good Taste

The designer shares his latest collaboration, a preference for Parker pens and the biggest misconception about him.

Mark McNairy

Mark McNairy

Photo By Courtesy of Keds

Call him the king of collaborations. In addition to heading up his own label, Mark McNairy likes to partner with classic brands. A previous collaborator with Bass, The Bathing Ape and others, the designer is now gearing up for releases with Timberland, Eastland and Keds. "I get approached by quite a few people at this point, but I only do the ones that fit with my aesthetic," said the designer. His latest shoe with Keds, a reinvention of the classic Triumph style, has been a long time in the making. "When Footwear News interviewed me [in 2009], I said the Keds Triumph was my favorite sneaker, and someone from Keds read that and approached me about the collaboration," McNairy recalled. "But there were issues with the factories, the molds and not being able to produce that shoe at the moment. So I transferred the design into the [Pro-Keds] Royal CVO, and then [Keds] did the Booster. That was really cool and successful, and then they decided, 'Let's do the Triumph.'" McNairy's favorite sneaker drops on Aug. 1.

I never leave home without...
"A Parker jotter pen. It's my favorite pen. I always carry a pen and paper with me for ideas. Some of the best ideas come at random times, and if you don't write them down, they might disappear."

Celebrity I'd like to play me in a movie:
"Billy Bob Thornton."

My go-to drink:
"Pink wine — rosé."

Favorite slogan from my T-shirts:
"'Manifest Destiny.' [The slogans] are all things from my life. I learned about Manifest Destiny not from a history lesson at school but from the title of a punk-rock album in high school."

Earliest fashion memory:
"It was a turquoise alpaca sweater that I made my mother buy for me, and at the time it was very expensive. She tried to make me wear it, and I refused. She chased me around the backyard, trying to make me put it on."

Biggest misconception about me: "That I'm an asshole. People get that impression because I'm an introvert, and they take that shyness as rudeness. But I'm actually a pretty nice guy.