Hailing from a small village near Zürich, Elay Neal Moses spent most of his time cooped up at home, seeking creative inspiration outside of his humble surroundings. Through his smartly-posed pictures and sleek fashion sense, Moses has amassed a following of nearly 50K on Instagram alone, and has made a strong start in carving a place for himself in the fashion world. He is perhaps best known for bringing the ‘man bun’ to the mainstream, with a picture of him rocking the now-infamous hairdo going viral.
We caught up with Moses through email while he’s traveling around Europe to ask him about his dreams, his fashion ambitions, his style and, of course, the hairstyle that’s still adorning the head of every wannabe hipster in Bushwick; he didn’t talk too much about the latter, but maybe it’s best to leave some things in the past.
ELAY NEAL MOSES INTERVIEW
Q 1 || Your pictures are always very carefully posed; did you fall in love with photography before fashion?
I think fashion was first, since I remember dressing up all the time. Whether it was for carnival, for school, or even kindergarten. I definitely got my passion from my mum, since she always loved asking me as a what she should wear or what outfit out of 2 I liked more as a kid. So fashion was keeping me company from an early age. I also remember myself photographing my cat when I was like 5, so I guess both things have been with me for as long as I can remember. Q 2 || Do you have any favorite designers working today?
It’s hard to choose; I’m evolving everyday, and have been going through so many changes, both mentally and style-wise, so my views on fashion have changed a lot, and my current taste reflects that. I must admit, I can’t really say any one designer is my favorite. I’m really open to loving everyone’s work, because when I watch a show I can imagine what the designer had to put up with to to release their collection.
I love watching as many fashion shows as possible, just to get inspired; I especially love finding out what the designers thought of when creating a collection. To me, these aren’t clothes I look at to eventually wear myself—I mostly wear oversized white shirts and jeans. To me, those collections are creations that tell me something about our time, world, problems or someone’s emotions. It’s crazy how you can make fabric so powerful.
Q 3 || You’ve experimented with your hair in the past, inadvertently prompting the ‘man bun’ phenomenon, which you later decried on your blog. What do you think of the on-going phenomenon and would you credit yourself with it?
Yes, I have! Lucky me has a brother that is a hair and make-up stylist, so I literally went to him two years ago and said “I want white hair,” and that was that. Without crediting myself too much, Lucky B took that specific look to another level, but after Benjamin Jarvis.
Anyway, the man bun. I would never credit myself with that, but I guess I might had an influence.
Q 4 || At first glance, what’s in your closet?
A lot of greens, browns. Black and white shirts. Mostly basic colors, no prints or special cuts. I’m really really, really simple.
Q 5 || Your style is deeply urban despite you being from a small village near Zurich—what are your influences?
The Internet, mostly. I always loved scrolling through Tumblr and finding inspiration! I definitely got most things from there when I was younger. Now, I think I’ve gotten a much better sense of my own taste. I don’t really look after trends, I don’t buy too much. I really slowed down and found myself, style-wise. More and more, I find the streets to be my source of inspiration. Emotions can be very good too— I often dress the way I feel.
Q 6 || What got you interested in fashion?
I think its the power to be someone different every day. Different fabrics can make you feel so many different ways, make you feel powerful, strong or anything else. It gives you a certain power, to be whoever you wanna be, make people think of you a certain way. To me, fashion is a canvas or an escape. There are days where I’m more casual and days where I’m more edgy. I could never choose only one direction; with fashion, I don’t have to.
Q 7 || Where do you shop? Any recommendations?
Really depends on what i’m looking for. Since I’m a student I don’t own any big designer things. Topman, Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters… these kind of stores are places I always look for when I wanna go shopping. I mostly go to thrift shops, since they’re way cheaper, but also have better things, things not everyone will wear because they’re mostly unique. I always find my favorite pieces there.
Q 8 || What do you hope to do in the future? Would you want to end up in a fashion capital like New York or Milano?
I’m on a gap year at the moment, and I really wanna spend it finding out more about myself, growing, etc. I will also travel a lot, which will be the source of all this. I’m really excited, since traveling is my big, big love. I really would love to live in such big cities, and hope that once I get there I can work in fashion, photography or wherever life takes me. When I’m older, I definitely wanna go back to the country side. I love nature as much as my passion for creativity or traveling, so whenever I have a family, if I decide to have one, I’d want my kids to grow up like me: surrounded by nature.