Q&A Quickie: Mike Ruiz, Hot Photog Making Sexy T-Shirts

By: Brandon Voss

Internationally renown photographer Mike Ruiz has made hundreds of celebrities look even more gorgeous and glamorous than they already are, and now he's ready to help you look better too. Using stylized shots of impossibly studly fitness models featured in his debut photo book, Pretty Masculine, Ruiz has partnered with high-end clothing retailer Any Old Iron to launch a new line of T-shirts that he calls "wearable art." The hunky philanthropist and reality TV personality breaks down the target audience for these tees, which, depending on how they're accessorized, may or may not make you look more butch.

Gay.net: Your new T-shirt line looks amazing. What makes the base shirts and the image transfer technique so special?
Mike Ruiz: What's makes them different from silkscreened T-shirts is the fact that we are actually doing four-color photographic printing on silk panels that we then stitch to a T-shirt made of a 100% organic cotton/bamboo blend. This blend is so incredibly soft, comfortable, and durable, and the cut of the T-shirt is exactly the way that I prefer. Basically, you're getting an actual print that you can wear — or frame!

How did you go about choosing the best images for the first four tees in the new line — the David, the Nick, the Sean, and the Todd?
I chose these four images because they all have a similar vibe. I wanted there to be a theme. Of course, the theme will change every couple of months as I introduce more images. Eventually, a much broader range of photos will be used, including women, some amazing body-painted men, and even a couple of my sweet newly adopted pitbull, Oliver. My goal is to make these collectable as opposed to a novelty item.

What kind of man can and should wear Mike Ruiz wearable art?
The T-shirts are meant to be worn by anyone who has an appreciation for photography. Women love these T-shirts as well as men. I think anyone who appreciates the male form will want one.

If I really want to rock my Mike Ruiz tee right, how do I pull together the rest of my look?
They really are wearable art; therefore, you can dress them up under a tuxedo jacket or just rock the sleeveless version with some jeans and boots to the club. I will be wearing one to an event with a gold-sequined jacket over it. There really is no wrong way to wear these since the quality is so amazing. 

Fingers crossed — will your tees give the illusion that I'm more masculine and muscular?
Ha! If they give you a boost of any kind, I'd be thrilled. The goal is really just to make photography more accessible. These first four images are hyper-masculine, but subsequent ones will encompass a variety of imagery. There really will be something for everyone. How you choose to feel is entirely up to you, but I'm hoping it will just make people feel like they're wearing something special.

Mike Ruiz's new line of T-shirts can be purchased at MikeRuiz.com.

Photo credit: Mike Ruiz