Social Media Star: Jay Strut on Google+ hangouts, luxury shopping and Toronto’s signature style

Jay Strut Social Media Star
Jay Strut Social Media Star

Each Friday, we’ll be profiling one of our favourite movers and shakers on social media. From the pop-up power of Pinterest to the beautifully crafted images on Instagram, we’re learning the tricks of the trade from the ladies that do it best (and most stylishly, of course).

For Torontonians interested in fashion, Jay Strut is a name you come across fairly often. Blogger by day, DJ by night, the jet-setting trendsetter developed his now-recognizable Jay Strut brand name in high school. Since then, Strut has been documenting his outfits, projects and adventures on Twitter, Instagram and his well-known blog A self-professed workaholic who hates weekends, Strut says that a typical day for him consists of “emails, emails [and more] emails.” So it’s no surprise that his dedication to various social media accounts (he’s been running his Twitter for 6 years) has not gone unnoticed.

A Toronto Fashion Week front row fixture, Strut’s been featured in The Globe & Mail, New York Magazine, Toronto Life and more. His projects have seen him crossing paths with Riccardo Tisci, Elie Saab and Michael Kors. The collaboration he’s enjoyed the most so far, however, was a recent two-day Google+ hangout with Donatella Versace and her team. The experience was facilitated by Strut’s rising popularity on Google+, on which he has over 627,000 followers. Some would consider an interview with Donatella slightly intimidating (cue heart palpitations from just thinking about it!) but Strut was quick to shake the “interview” label away saying, “It’s fashion talk and I love fashion!”

So how does a local blogger end up on Google+ with an international icon? We got to know the man behind the brand for our Social Media Star feature.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day is emails, emails, emails, it never stops but I love it. In between I am shooting new pieces I’ve acquired for social media and my blog, running around to meetings, dinners with friends and an event or two, depending on the day!

What is your favourite part about interviewing fashion industry figures?

It’s funny because I never really feel like I’ve interviewed a fashion industry figure! I think of it more like a conversation between people who just really love fashion! I think that’s what makes it less tense or nerve-racking, it’s fashion talk and I love fashion!

Discuss your personal style and your favourite fashion designers.
My personal style is very urban-chic.. I actually like to call it ghetto-chic. It’s very loose and very fitted at the same time with designer adornments. I normally wear a skinny Balmain motto jean or leather pant with a oversized t-shirt, tank top or button down with my fine jewelry and accessories. It’s super simple but luxe at the same time… I never wear logos anymore.. I am far beyond that phase, if you know then you know! My favorite designer is currently Olivier Rousteing for Balmain.

With the blog world being as saturated as it is, do you find it easier being a blogger in Canada than in the States or Europe for example?

Toronto is very small and the circle of fashion, I find, is even smaller, it’s almost like there isn’t room for anymore. Sometimes that’s how the people in this industry make you feel so it is a little bit tougher. For example, the first brand showroom and office I ever got invited to and had a full experience with was Marc Jacobs in New York, before any Toronto designer. It’s definitely it’s own challenge trying to branch out in a smaller market with limited content.

Do you think that Toronto has a signature street style?

I am not sure Toronto has a signature street style but from what I’ve put together, some of Toronto seems to have a standard liking to the very basic, erm.. boring? It’s why I feel like I have to show up in extravagant Balmain jackets or hot red En Noir pants, I want to spice it up a little bit for the city but do it with taste.

What do you think separates your blog from other fashion blogs?

I still don’t really know. I am always finding myself and growing all the time. I know that I have a very androgynous approach to style, which allows me to work with the womenswear brands that I do and wear a lot of women’s clothes. I also know that my blog is more of a diary right now because of the natural progression I am continuously going through. I am getting to experience newer and cooler things compared to when I first started to I think that getting to share my unique perspective is what separates me.

How important is social media for your personal brand and which social media platform is your favourite?

Social media is the soul of what I do, without it the body of my work wouldn’t function. I love them all equally! It’s like picking a preferred child haha.

How do you explain your impressive number of Twitter and Google+ followers?

Twitter, I have been using for over six years now with the Jay Strut brand. I have been conversing with influencers, designers, editors, celebrities and taste-makers through twitter and working with brands through it as well for over four years now so it’s been slowly but surely growing. Google+ on the other hand, has me on their suggested user list, I do a lot of fashion concentrated work with Google+ and have an amazing relationship with them so they put me on their lists!

What do you think of Google+ as a networking tool?

I think it’s great and has a lot of potential. Nowhere else has the effective resource to do a hangout! Google+ hangouts are becoming a powerful social media aspect. For example, the one I hosted with Donatella Versace had over 1.1+ million users in the middle of the day! There are so many active users, it’s just still growing and growing!

With all of the opportunities coming your way, how do you decide which ones are worth your while? 

A lot of the time, I get offered opportunities and end up altering them to fit just a little bit better! If it doesn’t fit I don’t do it and I have grown a strong enough backbone that I can refuse with or alter with ease. I think it also has to do with just the overall ‘is this me’ philosophy.. It has to be realistic and something my audience and I can relate to.

What’s your favourite collaboration that you’ve worked on?

My Google+ experience with Donatella Versace! It was such an amazing experience producing two days of amazing content with the Versace and Google team and obviously getting to hang out with Donatella Versace herself, meet her amazing team, Allegra (her daughter), J.W. Anderson and everyone else a part of this experience!

Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
Right now I have things going on with Hugo Boss for TIFF, I just did an exclusive video with the two leading men of TIFF I can’t wait to share, I also have a lot of things going on in New York which I am not allowed to talk about yet but am so excited to share once the time is right!