As some of you already noticed, Daniel is all over our shop these days and we wanted to share some insights of him. We had a great conversation with him and are happy to introduce a phenomenal photographer and inspiring personality.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Daniel Messana (not Messina, as some say), and I currently live in New York as a Professional Photographer and Menswear Influencer. I have loved style and clothing for as long as I can remember. Like many of us, I started out with a very fashion-based style, loving all the “big brands,” and never understood what a quality garment meant. As social media began to become popular, that opened my eyes up to influences from Southern Italy, England, and even Japan.
Today, I am passionate about educating and inspiring men to dress well, value ethical practices, and create great content on all platforms.
How would you spend a day in New York as a foreigner wih only 24h left in the city?
Wow, great question… If all I had were 24 hours left, as a foreigner, I would have to say to visit all of New York’s most historical buildings and places. Pretty cliché, but if you’re flying around the world to come here, you have to see all of the landmarks in New York. Afterwards, I would head Uptown [Manhattan] for some of the best food and cultural interactions. Downtown for great walks and more relaxed vibes. New York is like no other place, and in all honesty, 24 hours wouldn’t be enough for half of the full experience. I recommend everyone to come at least once in his or her lifetime, 100 would be better, and you’ll know what I mean. Oh, and New Yorkers are not all mean, definitely in a rush, but who wouldn’t be if they lived in, “The City that Never Sleeps.”
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is defined by my personality. I am unapologetic in everything I say and do. Don’t confuse that for being rude, there is no tolerance for that, but surely we all have a right and freedom to express ourselves, and our opinions, to the world. Southern Italian tailoring and how soft they create their garments have heavily influenced me. Being half Italian myself, I have always wanted to learn as much as I could about the culture, in particular, why it meant something to have a piece of clothing “Made in Italy.” Once I discovered the art of bespoke tailoring; my life changed forever. The ability to express myself with tailoring translates to how I express myself on a daily basis; the way I want. It is important to me to encourage men to do the same and look great at the same time.
Why classic menswear on a daily basis?
Classic menswear on a daily basis not only presents yourself to the world with your best foot forward, but also makes you feel good on a consistent basis. I have had battles with Mental Health throughout my life and putting on a suit has been a way to be proactive about maintaining a positive attitude. This world is full of negativity; turn on the news if you don’t believe me. If we don’t check on ourselves daily and intentionally seek what we love, that negativity will pile on top of us whether we like it or not. So for me, I choose classic menswear as a daily reminder that life is so much more than going to school, getting a career, and retiring. Those things are great, but what are we doing in between? Things that we love and make us happy? That’s menswear for me.
What is your next tailoring project and which tailor would you choose for it?
My next tailoring project is for a Tobacco Linen suit, preferably with linen from W. Bill. I have seen that suit 100 times and every time I see it, I’m blown away. Living in New York makes it challenging to stick to one tailor, especially one with Southern Italian influence. New York is not the place where men want no shoulder padding, high-waisted trousers, and double pleats. 1 out of 1000 people in New York might know what “Spalla Camicia” means, which makes commissioning suits difficult. I would love to commission the suit with my close friend Angel, from Angel Bespoke. His knowledge and abilities in Italian menswear are incredible. Now in terms of cost, it may be a better fit for me to choose someone like P. Johnson. I have not decided as of yet, but it is in the works.
What drew you towards photography?
Photography came about when I was in college studying to be a Graphic Designer. I met a guy, who is now one of my best friends, in my deign class who was editing a photo next to me. I was blown away by the quality and composition so I asked where he sourced the photo. He replied saying it was his own and that he was a photographer. It clicked in my head to combine photography with graphic design to make more money, and so, I bought a camera and never
turned back. This was about 8 years ago and has taken me from shooting nightclubs to private events and ending with wedding photography. I learned how a man a woman should pose and appear on camera, which has helped me in my own journey on social media. I want to give back what I have learned so that all of my audience can create their own works of art. My belief is that everyone wins, and photography has helped me make that possible for so many already.
Describe your ideal day
My ideal day would be spent with my wife. She is such a loving and giving person that no matter what it is that we do, I will have a great time. It would be a slow morning filled with great conversation over breakfast. Then I’d love to dress up and head out to Manhattan for some photos in the park or some beautiful hotels. From there we would head to dinner dressed in our best outfits while ending the night with a show. As I mature, I notice life is to be enjoyed, no matter if we experience good or bad. It is less about doing and more about being. Being in the moment, being attentive to people, being yourself, and being grateful for where you currently are. The more I become that man, the more “simple” my ideal day becomes.
Besides photography and classic menswear, what other interest do you have?
My first love was music. I love to sing and listen to music constantly. I could not live without Spotify. My grandmother was in a band, my grandfather was a famous jazz guitar player, and my uncle sang as a full time job. I have always been an artistic person, never a wiz kid. My genre of music ranges from the 50s to today’s hits. Classic rock to R&B and even some Gospel. I have a high appreciation for these artists and hope to one day make my own music.
Who are your style icons?
Its pretty amazing how close Angel [Angel Bespoke] and I have gotten over the past year because he was one of my earliest menswear icons. Both of us being from New York and sharing the same cultural background really showed me that becoming successful in business was possible. I always thought the fashion icons and menswear enthusiasts all came from overseas. To see Angel take his company to where it is, and also dress like a boss, really pushed me into the
menswear scene. From there I drew inspiration from Andreas Weinas, Fabio Attanasio, Nicola Radano, and Alessandro Squarzi to name a few. Another unique and powerful icon of mine is Karl-Edwin Guerre. He is not only unapologetic in his style, but also kicks ass as a photographer. I guess I’m being biased with that last one.
What is your favourite Limerius piece and what would you love to see in the future in our shop?
Limerius is a phenomenal company. Tim and Aline are producing some beautiful pieces that are not only of high quality, but offer incredible customer service. These days you either get one or the other, but they have both. Social media has become flooded with companies that want to exploit people and make a quick buck. It has even entered into the tailoring world; companies sacrificing workmanship for faster profit. It is important to me to learn about a company’s history and what they stand behind in their practices. Not every horse is a purebred, if you know what I mean. After receiving a few of their products, I immediately knew a great relationship would soon follow. As for my favorite piece, I would have to say the “Floral Silk Tie – Brown.” Rich in color and ties a beautiful knot. I expect great things in the future for Limerius and would love to see more
ties with larger patterns. Shantung ties are a beautiful suggestion as well as a few Ancient Madders. Possibly offering a larger selection of sizes for the knits, (standing at 193cm with a size 56 chest is difficult to find a good fit.) Cheers to Tim, Aline, and the team at Limerius for their hardwork and great products! Your future is bright.
Tanks for your time and kind words, Daniel. Keep inspiring us.