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Spotlight On: Jake McCabe

Every Sunday 'Spotlight On' showcases someone doing deadly work that you might not have heard of yet.

Credit: Instagram @abeneihum

Dapper dude Jake McCabe has our spotlight this week and it’s not hard to see why! He’s one half of the brains behind Cüpl Creative, which he runs with his girlfriend Niamh O’Donoghue. The content creating power couple can teach us a fair bit about fashion too. Their outfits at Pitti Uomo last year were papped and splashed across major publications including The New York Times, Glamour Italia and Fashionista.com. Impressive.

We chatted to him about his seriously slick suits, creatively curated Instagram feed and who he looks to for style inspiration.

Credit: Instagram @jake_cupl

How would you describe your personal style?
My style ebbs and flows depending entirely on my mood. It typically fluctuates between streetwear with sneakers, bold colours and more freedom to more considered and classic tailored wear and a healthy dose of old-world America and some Cuban inspiration for good measure.

Credit: Instagram @abeneihum

You’re putting Irish fellas to shame with your suit game! Do you have any style advice or rules you follow that might help them up their game?
Most people see my suits and say, “I don’t know how you pull that off!”. My usual response is that you need to not be afraid to push the boundaries. Dressing well is an exercise of creativity, confidence and motivation for me. I’m 5’5 on a good day so I like to create a presence with bright colours and statement pieces.

I don’t like rules. They hinder creativity too much and mean we fall into a norm. Why do you think 98% of Irish men own a navy suit, blue shirts, striped tie and brown shoes? This construct of normality can make people hate the idea of dressing well and with suits being so synonymous with family events, occasions or the corporate world, we grow to resent them a lot.

If I was to distill everything I know about menswear and fashion into one piece of advice it would be to get to know your measurements (all of them), invest in a tailor and always tip your barber.

Credit: Instagram @abeneihum

Who do you turn to when you’re upgrading your wardrobe?
Like I said, my style is pretty varied so when I go to upgrade my wardrobe I lean on a few different people. Usually, an idea starts with seeing new pieces dropping during Fashion Weeks throughout the year or directly from brands I follow/work with. Afterwards, I try to see how that piece might play with what I currently own and how many outfit combinations I can make from it.

If it’s related to suits I go straight to Emmet and Dave in Louis Copeland on Wicklow Street. I’ve had all my suits made by them and they keep a record of fabrics, fits and details for every order. We try to match new suits to what I already own and create something new and amazing.

Finally, Facebook groups are a great way to link in with like-minded people worldwide and can offer great resources, feedback and advice when making a purchase. I’m part of a few for streetwear, sneakers, workwear and bespoke tailoring.

The creativity on your Instagram feed is on another level. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Thank you, it’s been a work in progress for a few years now so I always appreciate when people take notice. I didn’t really have any inspiration or direction with it when I started. I just wanted to break the idea of the border slightly and allow my content to meander from one post to the next. It became really tedious for a while and I lost a lot of followers but since I’ve refined my style more I’m seeing a great response to my work.

I like to look towards typography, collage, mixed media and photography to create content that is different from others in Dublin and catches the eye when scrolling. It seems to be working well right now but I’d love more time to really up my game.

Credit: Instagram @jake_cupl

Who are your style icons?
There are a lot to name but I’ll keep it brief. Instagram is by far the most ideal platform for me to view the breadth of the menswear and design industry. I follow people from all over but if I was to pick my top 5 they’d be:

– Jared Acquaro
– Roberto Malizia
– Justin O’Shea
– Denny Balmaceda
– Ethan Wong

All varied, all different and all bring something new to the table. Other notable celebrities would be John Mayer, Jared Leto, Daniel Craig and Joshua Kane.

Credit: Instagram @jake_cupl

What are your favourite apps and software that you use for content creation?
I’m a photoshop guy through and though (shock and horror). I photoshop literally every single photo you see on my feed. I add the frame, see how I can animate or illustrate or introduce new elements and I do all that from my desk on an iMac. I rely on Google Drive to transfer content and shoot primarily on my OnePlus 5 phone or my Sony 6300.

If I’m on the run and I need to get a post up I’ll use Snapseed or Lightroom CC to get me through it.

Credit: Instagram @jake_cupl

Have you had any pinch me moments/career highs thanks to your creativity and style?
A pinch me moment for me has been without a doubt going to Pitti Uomo last year to shoot streetstyle photography last June in Florence. While we were there busting our asses shooting models, designers and creators from all over and whilst leaving the show space on the first day, totally wrecked, myself and Niamh got snapped by Lee Oliveria for the New York Times Fashion account wearing our matching pink suits.

As far as my career, I always love public speaking and presentations and recently I’ve been giving more and more of these talks. Lately I’ve worked with Igersdublin to showcase how I do what I do and this week I’m speaking at Retro Live with the new MD of the agency I work for, Leading Social.

What’s your least favourite thing about creating content?
I love every part of creating but the most tedious aspect can be playing in photoshop if I don’t have a clear vision for what I’m trying to create. I try to offset this by setting myself new challenges every week and it seems to work and help.

What’s next for you?
A LOT. I’m gearing up to go back to Florence in June and hopefully attending a few more fashion weeks this year with my partner Niamh and our company Cupl. My immediate goal is to work on more creative projects with creators in Dublin and abroad and upskill massively where I can.

Credit: Instagram @abeneihum

Where can people find you? 
Mostly on Instagram @jake_cupl. I’d love to connect with more people and if you have an idea in mind let’s create.

‘Spotlight On’ is a new segment on Goss.ie every Sunday, where we focus in on someone doing deadly work that you might not have come across yet. If you would like to be considered for the feature or know someone you think deserves some recognition email [email protected]