Since this was published, Ken has closed his Instagram account.
Q&A with Ken aka @sanforizedson
I first found Ken’s feed @sanforizedson a few months back when I did the post about denim dudettes on Instagram that you should follower. One of the ladies was Suzie @denimbitch (who’s the Blue Blooded Instagrammer #15), and she hangs out with Ken.
I really dig his very personal feed. You can ‘feel’ him through the pictures, I guess. And he has a very refined taste in denim and gear that’s right up my alley: Looser cuts in Japanese denim and Wings or Chucks combined with a bit of vintage military.
In the Q&A below, you’ll read about how Ken approaches his Instagram, how he got started in the first place, and how he as a former vegan still feels a little strange buying leather goods.
What’s your story
Name: Kenneth Johnson
Birth year: 1976
Location: Berkeley, California
Profession: Critical Care Nurse Practitioner
I’m a Midwestern transplant who has found a home in the Bay Area of California. I’m part of a multicultural family, married to the love of my life, and a father of two amazing girls.
The majority of my free time and energy is devoted to my family. I also enjoy music, travelling, good food/coffee/beer, running, swimming, and old things in general.
How Ken Runs His Instagram Feed
Thomas: How did it all start with your Instagram feed?
Kenneth: This began with the Rogue Territory slub faders contest in 2014. I picked up a pair of those jeans and started the Instagram account to participate in the contest. I ended up making a lot of great acquaintances and was runner-up in the contest.
T: Why Instagram? What are your goals?
K: I mostly use it because I enjoy seeing how people wear their clothes. I love vintage clothes and work wear, and when people do interesting things with those components, I get excited.
I’ve also made some friends and really nice acquaintances through the account, and it’s a nice way to keep in touch and be connected to the larger world.
T: How much time do you spend on Instagram on a daily basis?
K: I keep it to an hour or less. I try to limit opening it to once or twice a day so it doesn’t become totally counterproductive.
T: How do you take your photos?
K: I use my iPhone. Sometimes my daughter will take a photo for me. She takes my best photos ?
T: Which tools do you use?
K: I use the editing tools in Instagram to try to get the most accurate photo of the clothes, sometimes adjusting the light, shadows or sharpness. I’m not a fan of overly processed photos.
T: What’s your editorial flow?
K: I don’t spend too much time thinking about that. If something looks really laboured over, I’m kind of turned off. I try to keep it as natural as possible and grab a photo while out doing whatever. I try not to do what I see other people doing (is this even possible?).
In the end, I’m trying to tell a story about who I am and what I like, without words. If the picture doesn’t represent that, I’m not excited to post it.
T: Do you make it a priority to post on a regular schedule? And how do you remind yourself of it?
K: There was a time when I posted several times a week, but I’m more happy at this point to post once or twice a week. Don’t want to overdo it.
T: What are your favourite locations to take photos? And why?
K: I love a brick wall with character. The clothing I’m drawn to looks right in that setting. Also, there is something musical about the way the lines and shapes come together that I think looks nice.
T: Do you repost?
No, I prefer original content.
Ken’s Denim Routines and Style Preferences
T: What is your favourite feature of jeans?
K: The denim itself. If the material and the construction match up well, the combination can be pretty magical.
T: How do you wash your denim?
K: As little as possible. I buy unsanforized denim, do an initial soak or two in warm water, then do soaks or tub rinses as infrequently as I can get away with, maybe once every six months for a heavily used pair.
For a tub rinse, I turn the jeans inside. I add a teaspoon of detergent to a bathtub full of lukewarm water, then agitate intermittently over a half hour. Then rinse once, and hang dry.
T: What’s your favourite fit? And what’s your least favourite fit?
K: I prefer classic fits. Levi’s 501 cuts from the 40s-60s are the sweet spots for me. I don’t like wearing tight fits, but some people wear those and look great doing it.
T: Which boots and leather goods do you wear with your denim?
K: I wear Red Wing boots every day I can. I love them. I’ve actually been wearing Red Wings longer than higher-end denim.
I also enjoy my Ewing Dry Goods minimalist belt and Hollows Leather rail belt. It’s funny, but having been a vegan in the past, I still wince a little when I buy leather!
T: Which sneakers do you wear?
K: I wear Converse Chuck 70’s and One Star. But my go-to running shoe is the New Balance 990.
T: Favourite item that’s not denim or leather?
K: I’ve gotten the most mileage out of my 3sixteen indigo watch caps. They fit well, look great, and are light enough to wear year round.
T: Where do you buy your gear?
K: Having a family and living in the Bay Area, I live on a budget! If I can pick up something on sale or lightly used, I do that. If I’m going to splurge and buy something new, I love Standard & Strange. Their collection is insanely good and they are local. Plus, they have a friendly and fun staff to hang out with.
T: What styling tips would you give your followers if they wanted your style?
K: You do you. I think sometimes we go through phases of emulating others, but if that’s just a path to find your own voice, then the journey is worthwhile.
Ready for More Q&As?
If you’d like to read more personal stories and Q&As, you can check out all the previous ones right here. Want to make sure you never miss one? Sign up for the free weekly Denimhunters email newsletter.