Lauren Yates is probably one of the most unexpected things in the heritage wear market. From Thai, Chinese and British descents, she was born in Hong Kong and raised in Bangkok and Australia, where she spent most of her life, and currently lives between Paris and Bangkok.
After modeling for a decade she started a blog called Ponytail Journal in July 2013, as a more meaningful way to use her boundless energy and work with labels she genuinely likes.
What’s Ponytail Journal?
Ponytail Journal is a blog that brings together Lauren’s interests: travel, food, music and style. Though these are pretty common themes in the blogging world, Lauren stands out for two reasons. One, she’s not taking herself seriously and that’s refreshing because the blogging scene can be pretty pretentious. Two, her universe is heavily charged with style, which flows through everything she does.
Take food photos for example, somehow she’ll manage to bring some element that any style connoisseur will relate to, be it vintage fabric that she got from Paris’ Puces de Clignancourt or an issue of Lightning Magazine.
Lauren’s interest in menswear goes back to childhood, when she would enjoy doing stuff like fishing or carpentry while wearing boys clothes. This interest in menswear stayed with her and she remembers college when her main source of entertainment was checking men’s style blogs with her roommates. Being based in Australia didn’t help as it’s literally away from everything, but it didn’t stop her either.
Australia’s smaller population meant that a lot of the niche things I was into did not have a big enough following to be supported. I fell in love with heritage brands because of my outdoors-y lifestyle that meant that I was drawn to clothes that wouldn’t let me down. My friend Joseph Au (from RRL) introduced me to vintage workwear and military at this time, and we would spend our spare time talking about it, and natural indigo dyeing in my backyard.
Today, after being around for a little less than 2 years, Ponytail Journal has become more than just a blog. It’s become a character, a style reference or even an inspirational figure that’s branched out to so many different things outside of the blog such as writing for Vogue Australia and Conde Nast Traveler or modeling for Nigel Cabourn and Kapital.
How did Ponytail Journal grow?
We’ve all heard the say: content is key. Lauren constantly puts a lot of work into the blog and that’s reflected in all the stuff she puts out there, just take a look at her videos.
Naturally there were other elements that boosted her visibility on the web. Online shop Mr. Porter named her one of their top 10 favorite Instagram accounts worldwide when she still had just about 4,000 followers.
There was Nylon Thailand, who wrote about her as an IT-Girl, then GQ named her the hottest thing in menswear last March. Add the fact that she writes for Conde Nast Traveler and Vogue Australia, and you get a trans-market profile that can tap into multiple different crowds.
That’s also another reason why people and brands like her: she’s not stuck in one particular creative universe. She’s some sort of connector between worlds that don’t necessarily work together all the time.
Who follows Ponytail Journal?
Lauren told us it’s about a 50/50 gender split, which is interesting because she’s probably the only spot in our small geek niche that’s able to cater to so many ladies.
I get a lot of men buying the garments they see me wearing, or emailing me for advice on what key wardrobe items they should stock up on. I get a few of these emails every week. Ponytail Journal material also gets circulated around the internet and I often see that the guys who are re-posting also comment on how they would wear everything in the pictures themselves. […]
The kinds of girls who are reading my blog are ones that I would probably want to be friends with in real life. I recently did a competition for The Hill-Side through my blog and […] I found this cool gal Boshka (@boshka_grygoriew_alvy) who is a rad tattoo artist from the UK with cool style.
What about denim specifically?
Denim occupies a central place in menswear, and naturally so does it in Ponytail Journal’s universe. You’ll often see names that we’re all very familiar with in her posts: The Real McCoy’s, Nigel Cabourn, Kapital, Carhartt, you name it.
Lauren is also a big vintage denim fan. Whether that’s in Thailand, with flea markets where you’ll find vintage jeans coming from charities based in developed countries or in Paris’ Puces de Clignancourt, she’s always looking for a nice piece.
Lauren’s traveled pretty much everywhere and she’s become a Bible for all things good and stylish. We couldn’t let her go without asking her about some of her favorite addresses.
45rpm – Their stores are my happy places around the world, like in Paris when I need to run away from the fashion scene.
Kapital – Their stores are like stepping into denim fantasy worlds (kinda like their catalogs – which I’m in! the Apocalypse Blue catalog just dropped this month).
The Army Gym (London) – Nigel Cabourn staff are always the friendliest folk who are always great to chat to.
Puces de Clignancourt (Paris) – A great insight into vintage military, there are a few vendors who sell great vintage fabrics, and vintage British military (getting super rare these days).
Puces de Montreuil (Paris) – That’s where you have to roll up your sleeves but you will find some incredible bargains for French workwear and military.
Chatuchak Weekend Market (Bangkok) – You’ll find me there every weekend when I’m in town. At the moment they are the biggest and cheapest archive of great vintage, workwear, and strange things.
Also, Hickorees, Incu (Australia), Real McCoys, Jantiques, Joinery NYC, Brook Farm General Store (NYC), The Shop Next Door (Sydney – they have the best collection of beautifully eclectic surfboards in the world).
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Photos by Yuri Matsuoka.