Justin Benson Porter James Sports Justin Benson Porter James Sports


(PJS)
Hey Justin, thanks for joining us man. For those who don’t know you, tell us where you’re based and what it is you do (mostly work)?

(JB)
Hey! Thanks for having me - I'm based out of Edmonton, Alberta, and I manage marketing and branding for quite a few companies - mostly restaurants and hospitality focused, with a few outliers.

(PJS)
Now your Instagram bio says ‘Hot Dog Choreographer’, how has this come about? I don’t imagine you left school and said this is exactly where I’m going to end up haha.

(JB)
Haha, the “hot dog choreographer” is one of those half-joke/half-truths. I’ve loved hot dogs since an early age, some of my earliest memories are my parents taking me to ball games and us all enjoying a dog together. Fast forward to travelling to New York in my 20’s to go shopping, check out restaurants/bars. Day one I stumble upon PDT- an incredible cocktail bar that serves these elaborate hot dogs (designed by some of the best chefs in the world). I was enamoured, I probably went 5 times in the 3 days I was there. I spent the next few years working at various bars, coffee shops, and restaurants until finally opening my own hot dog spot.

Justin Benson Porter James Sports

(PJS)
Your line of work looks creative, fun and inspiring to say the least. Share with us a project or two you’re most proud of? 

(JB)
Well, not to beat a dead horse but the hot dog spot (Mayday Dogs) was pretty special. Hip-hop & basketball themes ran throughout the space and menu. Hot Dogs with names like “Danish Rodman” (inspired by the popular dog served in Denmark’s food carts), and the “95/96 Bulls” - a perfect take on the iconic Chicago dog. Inside the restaurant was bleacher style seating (like being at a game) and we we’re always blaring music a little too loud haha.

As far as current projects I’m working on- Sepps Pizza is one I’m the most proud of. The owner Joe, has brought his Italian background and decades in the restaurant industry and applied that to an amazing NYC style slice. Top notch ingredients framed by stellar dough. I’ve been on board doing the marketing and creating the overall aesthetic since day one. Think classic pizzeria branding with that same 90’s hip-hop & sports vibe spiced in.

(PJS)
Let’s go a little more into fashion now. How would you describe your style? 

(JB)
For me fashion started with my first love which was skateboarding. I grew up idolizing guys like Jamie Thomas, Chad Muska, Stevie Williams, etc. All so incredibly talented on the board but it was the way they styled themselves and carried themselves off the board that really drew me in. There is a million dudes that can do every trick in the book on a plank of wood but I would rather see someone like Anthony Poppalardo or AVE ollie down the street than see “so and so” switch kick flip backflip a 20 stair handrail. I apply that to my personal style- have a solid base but throw your twist on it. If you can dial in that mindset you can kind of apply it to whatever “trend” is bubbling up and not look like a cornball hopping from one thing to the next. 

(PJS)
What does Justin Benson’s uniform look like right now?

(JB)
Ok, I’m gonna give you two scenarios- Since day to day my office is in one of the restaurants I’m not trying to have my kit smell like caramelized onions after an hour of being there. That fit is typically vintage 501’s, soft ass vintage tee, Aime cap, and blunnies. If I’m going out with the wifey or the boys for some ravioli and negronis- it’s loafers on the feet, no socks, pleated pants, Uniqlo white tee w/ some loud cardigan on top and a grip of hair product on the dome piece.

(PJS)
You can only wear 3 pairs of shoes for the rest of your life, what are they?

(JB)
Probably won’t come as much of a surprise but- Gucci horsebit loafers, Birkenstock Boston’s, and some type of boot- whether it’s a basic Blunstone, the beefed up Prada version, Our Legacy Camions, or this pair of vintage cowboy boots my dad kicked down to me recently. 

Justin Benson Porter James Sports  

(PJS)
Tell us some of the brands you’re really vibing right now? Big and small.

(JB)
The obvious one is Aime Leon Dore. Teddy and that team constantly inspire me and put out collection after collection of incredible pieces with the best campaigns in the game. 

Stussy is another one, they’ve done such an amazing job adapting and staying relevant over the past 40 years. I was buying graphic tees when I was a 13 year old skater and two decades later I’m hitting refresh on drop day to snap up a new fleece or seersucker pants.

For small guys- Checks downtown & Porter James Sports- no question. I don’t know what’s in y’alls water in NZ but DAMN you guys are cooking!

Honorable mentions- Wythe, Blackstock & Webber, Campari haha

(PJS)
How do you stay sharp / inspired? Hit us with some of your favourite books, podcasts, Instagram pages of late. (take this question whichever way you like)

(JB)
Book wise- I’m typically just peeping the latest cookbooks for photography and design inspo.

Podcasts- SO many. On the fashion tip- Throwing Fits dudes always put a smile on my face. Beyond both of them having great style they’re so quick witted and funny, I feel like I worked out from laughing every time I listen to an episode. Other fashion ones I really dig are “The Selective” and “Beyond the Garment” - loved your episode.

IG- mostly photographers/designers grams are what keeped me hyped. This dude Ian Shiver’s product photography is so next level I refuse to accept he’s from this planet. Also Family Bros design in Atlanta absolutely nail branding that looks like it’s been there for a 50 years but it’s like a sandwich spot that opened last week. 

(PJS)
Lastly, what does a life well-designed look like to you?

(JB)
A life well-designed to me is one that allows me the creative freedom is the ability to get up each day and work on something that stimulates the creative side of my brain and something I can be proud to put out in this world. I understand it can’t be exciting restaurant pop-ups or branding a new bar every single day but as long as I feel like I’m doing the best version of what’s in front of me it keeps a smile on my face.  

Justin Benson Porter James Sports

In Conversation with Justin Benson