Worn Out Wednesday – Brian Orter

Brian Orter

We bet that most of you guys never notice the lighting design when walking into a hotel or restaurant. It’s not something we really think about unless a place is too bright or too dark. But there is so much more to lighting than that, and that is what Brian Orter and his company, Brian Orter Lighting Design (BOLD) specialize in.

They have worked with everyone from The Rockwell Group to the Jets and the Bloomberg skyscraper and Google. As Brian confessed, “Nobody knows what we do unless they are in the industry! The people who hire me have an appreciation of an environment and we try to tell their story through the lighting design. We listen to them and the interior designer and we create the spark,” he told us. Take the W hotel in Miami for example, Orter imagined James Bond being filmed there, so something cool was happening in every space and they really brought the entire place to life. Orter gives us a more familiar example, “What do you do to make your $6 drink a $12 drink? Good linen and good lighting!” Think about that next time you order a drink that glows under the perfect warm light.

Brian opened his company five years ago after the recession when he saw a lot of negativity coming from the industry and people he worked with. He promised to go into business with five tenets: Love, Trust, Commitment, Communication and Mutual Respect. By adhering to these basic rules he has made work something that everyone loves and a very successful company. Keep a lookout for his work at 5 Beekman, The Quinn and Pier 57 all in New York as well as the W Bogota, Columbia, The Fairmont Hotel, Quebec and Le Diplomat in DC.

On a side note, he is also an avid recreational pilot, so many of his style considerations take this into account.

We put the spotlight on Brian to hear about his personal style.

Its hard for me- I’m not a skinny Asian dude! (laughs). I used to do the Steve Jobs look, piles of Levis and Gap crew necks in black, but that got boring. I’m still a jeans and t-shirt guy but I’ve stepped it up.

Shirts: I wear Kenneth Cole. I don’t think it is the best quality but it fits me well and there is something different every season. I bought what looks like a normal gray button down but when you fold the collar and sleeves over they have a great pattern.

Coton Doux I found in Paris and the quality is great and the buttons are great- they have pink, red and blue buttons. And they do a nice contrasting stitch around the button holes.

Calvin Klein shirts and t-shirts are a staple. Gap clothing tends to breath better for flying. But I wont lie- when I’m in a pinch it is H&M!

Outerwear: John Bartlett, I love his stuff. I like G-Star as well. Anthony Morato makes great looking retro inspired jackets too. And for the really bad days its North Face and Merrell.

Tuxedo: I have two I bought from Century 21 by Ralph Lauren and Dolce and Gabbana.

Shoes: I wear Nike Air‘s a lot. I have a lot of Hugo Boss shoes because they did their sample sales in my old building. I have been wearing L.L. Bean duck boots since I was a kid in the fall/winter.

Sunglasses:  I do buy a lot of street sunglasses and I buy some from Seven for All Mankind and Sean Jean. I have to find ones that fit under the headset since I fly as a hobby. The stem can’t be too fat and I need good coverage. I collect them actually but don’t wear them all. I have a great pair from Vespa that are more of a goggle than glasses.

Watches:  I get my Timex at REI since they have compasses and barometers on them that I can use for backup in the plane if I need it! When going out I have some nicer ones like from D&G and some street watches that I like too. A lot of my accessories were handed down by my dad and don’t even have labels on them, they are just great vintage pieces. I have wonderful studs for my tux from my grandfather.

Belts: I like belts by Ferragamo. American Apparel makes good ones too as does Calvin Klein. I trade things for belts with friends! I actually traded a watch for a belt. Hey, I loved the belt!