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Throwing Fits for Men’s Fashion

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It is difficult not to be distracted by James Harris’ pants.

Generously proportioned, they are of the lounge variety, made of shiny cupro — a cousin of rayon — and decorated in a gasoline spill of green, gold and mauve, which has somehow found its way into a leopard print.

Harris was wearing this garment when he greeted me on a humid day last month at his apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This is where he and his podcasting partner, Lawrence Schlossman, record “Throwing Fits,” a weekly show that is about menswear but always manages to veer off into a thousand different directions.

On Friday, Harris, 36, and Schlossman, 35, will unveil a “Throwing Fits” collection to be sold by online retailer Mr Porter. The two podcasters put together 74 items from 13 of their favourite menswear brands, including a $198 button-down shirt from Wythe New York and a $2,960 flight jacket from Stoffa. The collection also includes “Throwing Fits”-branded mesh shorts, caps, T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts.

“It’s actually a long con to fill in the holes in our personal wardrobes,” Harris said.

“Throwing Fits” describes itself with the tag line “two grown dirtbags just tryna navigate the male zeitgeist.” The podcast has had millions of downloads since it appeared on major platforms in 2020. The tone is buoyant, bro-y and often profane. Its listeners are 93% men, with most falling in the 18-to-27 age range, according to Spotify.

Die-hard fans, referred to as the “Throw Gang” by the hosts, pay via the donation platform Patreon for exclusive mini-episodes and access to private sales from menswear brands. The perks are enough for Harris and Schlossman to make nearly $21,000 a month from their supporters, they said.

Each episode begins with a “fit check,” where a guest’s outfit is evaluated by the hosts. Levis with an orange tab on the back pocket are “fire.” Converse sneakers from Japan are “a pull.” What comes next is an hour or two of frenetic discourse in which friends are “homeys” and clothes are “rocked” rather than worn.

“They’re seen as comedians,” said Jeremy Kirkland, who hosts the menswear podcast “Blamo!”

“They will say, ‘No, we’re into fashion,’ ” he added. “In my opinion, that is not true. They’re entertainers.”

Daniel Todd, the buying manager at Mr Porter, said the “Throwing Fits” hosts have created a community of fashion fans that reminds him of the menswear message boards and forums of the Internet’s early years. “They’re not shy in their opinions,” he added, “but they’re also great at trumpeting brands that maybe their listenership hasn’t heard of.”

Schlossman and Harris met in 2011 when they were working at BPMW, a fashion public relations company. Schlossman wrote a menswear blog, Sartorially Inclined, and the two started a video series, “Fashion Bros,” at Complex Media in 2014. Two years later, they debuted the podcast “Failing Upwards,” which got scooped up by digital media company Barstool Sports. They started “Throwing Fits” soon after making their exit from Barstool.

Harris, who grew up in New York City, and Schlossman, who grew up in suburban New Jersey, arguably came into their own as podcasters in 2018, when the actor (and occasional menswear arbiter) Jonah Hill was a guest on “Failing Upwards.” He appeared on the new show in 2020, taking part in a long conversation that touched on self-acceptance, golf clothes and his admiration for the 1993 comedy “Surf Ninjas.”

The podcast is now at the centre of a social-media constellation that includes a Reddit page and Instagram and TikTok accounts. On Discord, a platform popular with crypto enthusiasts and gamers, fans engage in discussions — spurred on by the duo — on topics that lurch from designer Mike Amiri to whether a listener would stay loyal to the pod if Harris slept with their ex.

Ben Lankford, who became a “Throwing Fits” listener while living in Nashville, Tennessee, described the “Throw Gang” as “a cool community of like-minded people who have at least a tangential interest in fashion.” Last summer he bought a ticket ($69) to attend a “Throwing Fits” gathering in New York that he had heard about on Discord. “That’s where I met so many of the good friends I have in the city now,” said Lankford, who ended up moving to Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Harris said the show’s fans tended to be young men seeking advice. “Maybe they’ve moved out of their hometown and they’re looking for an older-brother-type figure to tell them what to wear, what to listen to, what to watch, what to do, where to drink, where to eat,” he said.

The podcasters rail against what they call “Capital F” fashion industry. At the same time, with the new collection, they are working with a large luxury men’s retailer, Mr Porter, to sell clothes to their fans.

“If we’ve lost our bad-boy, rebel, outsider veneer, then I’m fine with that,” Harris said, “because we’re still doing what we’re doing.” -- NYT

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