The Q&A; Blogging Sessions: John-Michael O’Sullivan of ‘1972 Projects’

For the inaugural post of The Style Examiner’s ‘The Q&A Blogging Sessions’, a series of interviews with bloggers that I admire, I have interviewed John-Michael O’Sullivan, the author of the blog 1972 Projects.

Q. Why and when did you start your blog?
A. I started it in January 2009. I actually can’t pinpoint exactly why, but there were probably quite a few different reasons. I’d taken a career break, and after a few months of relaxing I was missing having a project to work on – and I think I’d probably just been noticing other people were doing it, and thought it might be interesting?

Q. What are the topics that you cover the most?
A. Mainly fashion – with regular detours into film, literature and architecture. Though they tend to bleed into each other, one way or another, most of the time.

Q. How do you find stories and ideas for your posts?
A. They’re generally things I’ve been stewing over for a while, or that I’ve been interested long ago but never pursued. For the first four years, I had a monthly theme to organise the blog around, which kept it pretty simple and structured: so I was always dealing with things that related to or intersected with a particular word or idea.

Q. How often do you publish posts?
A. It used to be weekly, which was pretty difficult to manage! Now that those first four years are done, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of things out of my system. So I’m slowing it down – switching to a single, specific piece a month, which hopefully gives more time for background research, and working harder at writing.

Q. How many people work with you in your blog and what do they do?
A. Party of one. Never been good at sharing…

Q. How would you describe your average reader?
A. No idea!!!! I think there’s such a high volume of information out there generally that there aren’t necessarily the same steady blocks of readership that there used to be? I leapfrog around all over the place with my reading, mainly driven by Twitter recommendations. More often than not it’s just someone who Googles a particular brand, or name, and comes across something I’ve written – and hopefully sticks around a bit! I also link to a lot of images on Twitter and Tumblr, so a lot of people come via that route.

Q. Do you write for other publications?
A. I’ve written for Fashion156 pretty much from when I started, which has been great in terms of learning to work at speed, and seeing far more of the runway side of fashion than I’d ever had access to before. Through the blog I’ve contributed to print magazines like Vaga in New York, and Fiasco, Fiasco Hommes and Notion in London. And I’ve been working on some longer pieces for a new British magazine, Article, which will launch later this spring.

Q. Have you developed any partnerships with brands because of your blog?
A. No. I think most of what I’ve focused on up till now has been subjects which are quite isolated, and relatively historic in fashion terms – so while I’ve had lovely feedback on occasion, it’s not something that really lends itself to building up into a regular dialogue.

Q. Do you consider yourself a blogger, a journalist or a publisher?
A. Writer. Keeps it simple!

Q. What do you think of the comments by people who regard blogging as a form of communication that is not to be taken seriously?
A. I think the whole point is that a blog is something personal. That’s where it all started – the idea that you have a space and a mechanism to put out whatever you like, however you want to say it. So in that sense I don’t think everything that’s put out there is meant to be taken ‘seriously’ in the traditional sense – which doesn’t mean it’s not valid, or useful, or interesting. Hopefully as things evolve – which they are doing at incredible speed – we’ll figure out a way to talk about blogging that makes sense of it in its own right, rather than as a poor relation to something else.

Q. What are your future professional plans?
A. Still haven’t quite decided what I want to be when I grow up! The two worlds – architecture and writing – couldn’t be more different, day to day. But I’ll probably have to toss a coin and pick one, at some point…

Q. What was the nicest thing that anyone has ever said about your blog?
A. I’ve had lots of nice comments, luckily – I think generally where a particular piece connects with a particular reader, and they’ve been interested enough to say something back. I’m incredibly lazy about commenting on the things that I read, so I do appreciate it when someone makes the effort. The best one? When @IncrediblyRich said the layout made him “happy in his pants.”