five minutes with @fashiongrandpas

My name is Christina Belchere, I was born in the United States but I grew up overseas in Hong Kong. I have been living in NYC for almost 3 years now. I work in Fashion PR for LVMH. 

When did you start Fashion Grandpas, and how did you come up with the idea?
I started fashion grandpas a few months ago... I think it was April 2014 - It was one grandpa I saw one day that was the most incredibly dressed and sassiest man on the street. Working in menswear, I always look for inspiration on the streets. After noticing a few more throughout the day I wondered if this was a "real thing" - "this" being "fashion grandpas". Are there actually a population of incredibly dressed senior men concentrated in New York? From my collection of street photography - the answer was yes - more than I had originally anticipated- and not just in New York, turns out they are all over the world. The portfolio started to look marvelous. I feel in love with seeing them every day and photographing them and publishing their image. The most shocking part, after realizing that "fashion grandpas" wasn't already a thing, was how positive people responded to the idea after I had created it! 
How does it usually work? Do you ask them if you can take their picture, or do you walk by and snap a pic secretly?
I would say I do a bit of both. I set up photo shoots if the subject is not available right then and there, or if I am the one that is busy rushing to something - I take a sneaky shot. I often like the unplanned, sneaky shots the best. I often get the most likes on the "unplanned" street shots too. I think my fan base likes the idea of being incognito on the streets noticing all the fashion grandpas. I like to sometimes keep their "stories" secret. It is the way that they dress that allows your imagination to run wild. That is kind of the point of dressing nice - you could be anyone. 
What are some upcoming projects that you're working on?
Upcoming projects I am working on are the fashion grandpas blog. It is in the works but it is going to be a multi dimensional site. I am currently working on a page for all of my fans who email me and/or tag their grandpas, a page for my street photography, a page for my interviews and photo shoots, and one for my regular NYC photography. Half the battle is getting out on the streets with my camera and getting the images I need. That has proven to take time. 
What's your goal with Fashion Grandpas?
Eventually I want to set up an e-commerce page for the site as well, along with a book and a documentary and a line of clothing. dream big right!?! Grandpa inspired cashmere sweaters and cardigans, glasses, frames and hats. I would LOVE to do a collaboration with happy socks and Birkenstock. Socks with Birkenstocks aren't just for the Olsen twins - Grandpas love it too. 
There are a few collaborations in the works for apparel but I cannot go into too much detail yet unfortunately... :) I have a page in a coffee table book coming out in Urban Outfitters this October! 

What's your favorite picture and why?
It is probably the worst quality photo with the worst editing - but it was my first fashion grandpa picture. his navy beret, his entire being, his standing in the middle of the road on one of the busiest (not to mention most stylish) cross streets of new york with zero f*cks given. effortlessly chic. unexpected. I envisioned myself or an editor wearing a quilted jacket like that and a navy beret, or an editor, and i thought - wow that is actually a pretty dope outfit. 

Follow Tina @fashiongrandpas and watch out for her blog and upcoming projects!!