Document spotlights seven individuals who encapsulate the spirit of New York creativity

Dressed in Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna, we hear the stories of the New Yorkers who bring the City to life

Through the past six months, let it be said of us New Yorkers that we kept the faith. That same faith—and hope—is explored in the piercing photographs of Justin von Oldershausen, who lenses New York’s iconic cultural figures in the latest collaboration between Fear of God and Ermenegildo Zegna. The latest collection is, in many respects, the perfect New York uniform—an amalgamation that combines Fear of God founder Jerry Lorenzo’s street style sensibilities with Zegna’s urbane silhouettes and sharp cuts. Pair athletic movability and elevated wearability and you have, contained in a single collection, the democratic spirits, on-the-go, ready-for-anything ethos of New Yorkers.

In von Oldershausen’s photographs there are no lithe models, no made-for-perfection jawlines—these are real New Yorkers in all of their glorious entrepreneurial spirit and hustle. Here, photographer Justin von Oldershausen and stylist Diana Choi celebrate some of the folks who make New York, New York.

Jean-Andre wears t-shirt, jacket, pants, and sneakers by Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna. Hat and socks Jean-Andre’s own.

Jean-Andre Antoine, Photographer

Jean-Andre Antoine is one of the great downtown photographers in New York City folklore. Known for his humanizing polaroids and analog processes, the Harlem native has lensed some of the most important New Yorkers—A$AP Rocky, Spike Lee, among many others. His “office,” he jokes, is the corner of Prince Street and Broadway where he captures passersby with his oversized polaroid camera or large-format field camera. For Antoine, this time has allowed for reflection and organization. “My work is social in nature. That aspect not being in the forefront has allowed me to take a step back,” he says. New York City has changed throughout the last few months, he admits. “It’s definitely changed forever. New York is already a bubble. But it was due for change and change is coming. As New Yorkers, we just have to adapt and reevaluate how we’ll proceed—moving forward together versus as individuals.” He has a brand new daughter. He’s been laying low. But he still thinks about his corner office. “How could I work without the people? I’m always paying attention to people and their energies,” he says. A pause. “It’s my city,” he says, with a chuckle.

Miwa wears top, jacket, and pants by Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna. Shoes Miwa’s own. David wears t-shirt, sweater, coat, pants, and sneakers by Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna. Socks David’s own.

David Strettell and Miwa Susuda, Dashwood Books 

Dashwood Books, tucked away at the basement level of 33 Bond Street, is the preeminent photography bookstore in New York City. Since 2005, it has hosted signings and events for some of the most prolific photographers in the world—something Mr. Strettell has sorely missed in the past year. “Much of the effectiveness of our business was about hosting book launches and getting people to cram into our small store to meet artists face-to-face,” he says. Adapting to the new normal, they grew their social media presence and expanded their business as a publishing house for artists. Mr. Strettell seems more proud of New York than ever. “There’s such a sense of solidarity that really gelled after the Black Lives Matters protests. New York is such a diverse city—and that’s something we can all cherish.”

Mohammed wears top, jacket, coat, pants, and shoes by Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna.

Mohammed Ahmed, Owner, Casa Magazines

Mohammed Ahmed is the owner of Casa Magazines, who’s made a name as the ultimate chronicler of magazines, building up his shop since 1995 as a safe-haven for fashion and culture hungry readers. Centered on the 8th Avenue artery that connects Greenwich Village to Chelsea, Mohammed holds to the key to publishing in New York—a city that he will always maintain a love affair for. “The Empire State Building! Times Square! The World Trade Center! New York City is great,” he says. “It’s great because you cannot feel lonely in it.”

Boshir wears turtleneck, jacket, pants, and shoes by Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna.

Boshir Khan, owner Panna II

“What’s Panna I?” I ask Boshir, owner of famed East Village Indian hideaway Panna Garden II. He laughs and tells me there were once many restaurants. But Panna II is a special downtown haunt known for its ceiling, smothered in neon pink lights. The Queens native opened the restaurant in 1989 and added Christmas lights for the holidays. Each year he adds more and more. “You don’t see these kinds of decorations anywhere. It was my idea to do something different,” he says. For Khan, there is no city on earth that compares to New York City. “It’s different here. It’s 24 hours. You can go to the gym at 2am!” Will he ever leave? “I grew up here. I don’t want to ever move. This is my place. I’ve been to different cities before but I always come back.”

Joe and Henry wear hoodies, coats, pants, and sneakers by Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna.

Joe Apollonio, Actor

Joe Apollonio defies categorization, but let’s try: skater, actor, model, and downtown cool kid. The multi-hyphenate creative has had time for reflection throughout the past few months. “[This time] made me reevaluate my ego and my attachment to ‘what I do’ as my identity.” Apollonio isn’t sure what a New Normal is, or how the protests and pandemic will re-shape New York. But his favorite thing about the city: “The Empire State Building.” Some things never change.

Shannon wears top, jacket, pants, and shoes by Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna.

Shannon Hoey, New York Vintage

“Like so many industries, everything came to a screeching halt as we braced ourselves for the pandemic,” says Shannon Hoey, informally known as the “queen of vintage couture.” For Hoey, the pandemic has been a reminder of the shared connection with her customers. “We are very fortunate and grateful for the strong relations with our loyal client base, which allowed us to continue to work on some level.” And like so many New Yorkers, she believes New York still maintains its wonder. “There’s a vibe and energy that’s almost addictive. You can feel the heartbeat of the City. The arts and diverse culture—New York is an incubator for innovation with endless opportunities to pursue and create.”

Carl wears t-shirt, sweater, pants, and sneakers by Fear of God Exclusively for Ermenegildo Zegna.

Carl Saytor, owner Luxlab

“There’s been time to think,” says Carl Saytor, of Luxlab—a darkroom and photographic services lab frequented by the industry’s top photographers. “Although I’ve had less direct contact with people. I have had many long, deep phone conversations with photographers about their careers and aesthetics. It’s easy to forget that slowing down is vital to growth,” Saytor says. “I run into friends on the street and we can’t hug. I miss seeing my client’s smile. I work harder to understand the emotion behind the mask,” he says, adding: “This is a temporary new normal. I look forward to a return to what we once called normal.”

Talent Jean-Andre Antoine, David Strettell, Miwa Susuda, Carl Saytor, Shannon Hoey, Nuruzzaman Ali, Mohammed Ahmed, Boshir Khan, Henry Barco, and Joe Apollonio at New Pandemics.