In Conversation: Phaon Spurlock of LuxuriousPROTOTYPE
LuxuriousPROTOTYPE isn't the average men's magazine. Then again, it's not targeted to the average man. The magazine had humble beginnings as Phaon Spurlock's personal blog, chronicling college life, as well as his exploits as a record label intern, event promoter, and all-around man about town. Nearly a decade on, it's evolved into a burgeoning lifestyle brand that covers a mix of fashion, arts & culture, entertainment, event coverage, and technology for men who are fashion-forward, culturally savvy professionals.
Who's That Man? The target audience for LuxuriousPROTOTYPE isn't "men." The philosophy that underpins the magazine identifies a specific man, or a type thereof, if you will. He's fashion-forward, with eclectic tastes and an eye for quality. His look is classic rather than ostentatious. He is outspoken, stylish, and appreciates the finer things in life. This isn't, in other words, a magazine targeted at your average PBR-swilling Brooklynite with a loft full of Ikea furniture.
What's Inside? LuxuriousPROTOTYPE offers articles on entertainment, tech, lifestyle, and style, as well as interviews with cultural figures and tastemakers. Often as not, the lines between categories tend to blur, and while there's a philosophy that informs the magazine's overall look, feel, and voice, the writers and topics covered are at once varied and indivdualistic, much like its readership.
The Interview Phaon Spurlock recently sat down with Business Developer Carlee Curtin to share his insights on life, inspiration, and the importance of mentorship. Their conversation is below.
HiLine: What is LuxuriousPROTOTYPE?
Phaon: We're an online men’s lifestyle magazine that connects men to fashion, arts & culture, entertainment, events, sports and omni-channel news. I wanted to create something so that men could gain a luxury perspective to everyday lifestyle topics and provide them with insightful content about fashion and lifestyle, as well as, introduce highly sought-after social, political, and philanthropic events.
HiLine: Coffee or Tea?
HiLine: Besides coffee, what gets you out of bed in the morning? What inspires you?
Phaon: Living in New York City inspires me. All the ambitious people that I see everyday, on the subway, on every block, they inspire me. I know my goal and I know that I want to be here. NYC makes one succeed, you don't have a choice, and that keeps me going.
HiLine: What advice do you have to inspire others?
Phaon: Make sure you have both a mentor and a mentee. A mentor will help you, and you should help someone too, that's the full circle. By having and being both, you can see how you impact others, and how others impact you, and that is key.
Our Take: The typical men's magazine is a vehicle for advertising, and tend to target a lowest-common-denominator "guy" (here, the likes of Maxim come to mind), or explore certain niches like fitness and health (Men's Health), fashion and lifestyle (Esquire), or the culture at large. With LuxuriousPROTOTYPE, Phaon Spurlock attempts to reach a more specific upmarket and aspirational audience by striking a balance of style and substance that's too often missing from men's magazines. On the evidence, it looks like he's succeeding. Phaon Spurlock has been named one of Rainbow Fashion Week's 50 Top New Media Moguls