Aimé Leon Dore does it, J.Crew recently did as well. Rowing Blazers has enlisted everybody from comedians to shop employees to, uh, Caroline Calloway to model for the brand. For the latest Perennials campaign, Drake’s just went ahead and got basically everybody in the menswear world, from Brooklyn vintage dealer Sean Crowley to James and Lawrence from Throwing Fits. They got a lot of familiar faces. Some of them match ones you may have seen in those other look books. There is some overlap. Aaron Levine, for instance, looks cool in anything, so ALD and Drake’s have asked him to pose. The guys who run Alfargo’s Marketplace, the reigning kings of the downtown style crews, are J. Press Icons, and they showed up in the aforementioned Drake’s Perennials photos. As for me? You can likely trust that I’ll never be asked to do something like this again.

Since I did get asked this one time, however, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Homie Look Book and why it’s having a moment. One of the things I like is that I can tell the difference between a Drake’s or J.Crew campaign. The creative teams behind these look books spend enough time trying to make sure that, besides some of the recurring faces you’ll see from time to time, the looks are distinct enough. The Drake’s photos tend to have good lighting, while the Aimé Leon Dore look book shots are a little darker and moodier. Arnold, whose photography and personal style I’ve been a fan of even before J. Press bestowed me with Icon status, also has a personal touch that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until I was in front of the camera.

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The team from Drake’s New York outpost, starring in one of the brand’s recent campaigns.

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Throwing Fits hosts Lawrence Schlossman and James Harris, who have appeared in Homie Look Books for several different brands.

“I’m shooting more film these days and personally prefer the tones and colors it produces over digital, but am still supplementing with digital shots. Film is much, much more expensive, so you don’t want to break the bank. I’m currently shooting on a Mamiya RZ67 using the workhorse that is Kodak Portra 400,” Arnold tells me.

When I ask why, Arnold mentions a lot of mid-sized and smaller brands are shooting a mix of film and digital to achieve a soft look these days, “which I think works perfectly in the fashion industry where you want people to feel the clothes through a photo.” The word feel was the key to unlocking why the Homie Look Book seems to be everywhere these days. It’s the same reason we hear people tossing around words like community or vibes. We want to feel connected to something more than ever, and since all of these brands are still in the business of selling clothing that isn’t exactly inexpensive even come end-of-season sale time, making people who see the photos feel like, Hey, I know that guy. I can pull that off, makes it just a little easier for, well, guys who look like me, to pull out the Visa.

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