Style and Fashion

London Fashion week 2015 – What you need to know about the industry

Cuts for Him meets Sarah Shotton (Creative director of Agent Provocateur)

It’s that time of the year when all eyes turn towards London as the most anticipated show in the fashion calendar begins in grand style. For at least a week and a bit, London is the centre of the world as far as I am concerned and there is no denying that we got it on lock when it comes to talent and creativity. SS16 season is here and London is buzzing with excitement as fashion houses blitz run ways with fantastic designs as buyers rush in for the kill to stock up for retailers. Londoners by nature are bold and confident when it comes to style whiles this City keeps churning out amazing designers. Did someone say London is the fashion capital of the world? Sorry New York, Milan, and Paris but London is where it has been happening and we still got it. Not that I would ever be biased or anything (cough cough).

Cuts for him with Angus Monro (world renown casting Director)

Anyway, sitting in a large ground floor room at the Conde Nast College of fashion & design with about 200 people listening to a panel of 6 industry insiders for an intimate talk was just what the doctor ordered. One of Briton’s supermodels Jade Parfitt introduced the industry heavy weights one after the other for the AmEx talk, a program presented by the credit card company American express. The panellists comprised of Liz Matthews (PR & Agent), Lisa Gregg (Vice President & General manager, Head of Intl Consumer Products & experiences at American express), Angus Munro (Casting agent), Sarah Shotton (Creative director of Agent Provocateur), Stavos Karelis (Founder & Buyer director of Machine-A). Stavos was midway talking about what it means to be a fashion buyer when Editorial director of Paper Magazine Mickey Boardman stormed in and lightened the otherwise serious mood in the room. Mickey’s jokes and banter were seriously funny as he spoke about everything from covering Kanye West to Kim Kardashian’s “break the internet” cover of his magazine.

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Cuts for him with the man behind the “Kim Kardashian break the internet” campaign for Paper Magazine, Mickey Boardman.

Angus Monro, the man who was responsible for managing superstars such as Naomi Campbell, Claudia Chiffer and Christy Tulington spoke about his career as a casting agent and what it takes to gain the respect of the industry. As a casting director, Angus has worked with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Karl Lagerfeld, Uniglo and Rick Owens.

The talk itself was set up to give audience an exclusive insight into the inner workings of the fashion industry. From casting the right models for campaigns to supporting up and coming talents within the fashion industry. So many things were discussed as Jade Parfitt effortlessly moderate what turned out to be a great conversational session.

Panellists from L-R: Iz Matthews, Lisa Gregg, Angus Monro, Sarah Shotton and Stavos Karelis with Jade Parfitt as the presenter (middle)

The Panellists were all engaging as they took turns in giving insights into the business of fashion. I have summarised the talk for you so here are some of the points made.

Internship:

Mickey Boardman kicked this topic off by making reference to current debate about interns not being paid. This is a contentious topic with lawsuits flying all over the place in recent years. Boardman’s views on this was that if you are passionate about a career path then you have to do what it takes to get on the ladder. He drew reference to his intern experiences during his studies which eventually lead to him being employed full time and now editorial director for Paper Magazine. His views on this seemed to have the backing of the rest of the panel members.

The use of celebrities in campaigns:

As a former manager for models himself, Angus Monro has a lot to say on this topic. His views were that modelling before the 00s was a real career where models will take to the cat walk countless times during fashion shows. Models were the faces for fashion houses compared to countless celebs being used to promote labels in recent years.

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Celebs starting their one brands:

Whiles the likes of Victoria Beckham have made it against all the stereotypes of celebs taking to designing, there are a lot of others who have made attempts to launch clothing lines but have not been successful. The general consensus was that many used fame to try to branch out whiles lacking the real passion of the craft which may have led to their brands failing or not taking off at all.

Fashion week’s best City

Like I said earlier in my first paragraph, no city beats London when it comes to producing exciting fashion talents and the panel were all in agreement on this. London truly produces lots and lots of emerging designers who are making a splash all over the world. Ashley Williams, Atea Oceanie, Rejina Pyo, Shrimps and many more were all lauded to be great emerging fashion industry new comers.

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Parenthood/Motherhood and the fashion industry:

Juggling between motherhood and a prominent career in the fashion industry is one seen impossible by many. This couldn’t be further away from the truth as Liz Matthews, Sarah Shenton and Jade Parfitt all inspired the audience through their individual experiences on how they have coped with raising children whiles pursuing careers in the fashion industry. “Even though it is hard work, it is totally possible to raise a family and have a successful career in fashion” said Sarah Shenton.

Bloggers and the fashion industry:

There has been rumours and whispers that LFW is trying to make it harder for bloggers to gain access to events. I am not sure how true this is but the one or two members of the panel raised concerns about blogs not being regulated. My personal view on this is that in as much as I completely understand the concerns that blogs are not being regulated, I think that conventional media ie established magazines, TV channels and even newspapers may be getting a bit jittery due to the massive rise of blogging which somehow takes a share of the market away from them. The idea that an individual with a couple of millions of followers can help influence buying patterns of their followers is real and causing a shift in the industry. To what end, we will have to wait and see.

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So there you have it people, the AmEx talk summarised.

Please share your thoughts on any of the points made above. If you happened to visit any of the LFW official sites over the weekend, let me know what your thought are by leaving a comment below.

Sunday best

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The idea of Sunday best for me personally means wearing my well thought out garments to go to church. It’s like saving the best for that first day of the weekend where I can express myself through what I wear.

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Sundays themselves can mean so many things to different people depending on various factors ranging from family gathering around the dining table for a roast, to good old powering down after a hectic Saturday night out. For Christians, it means going to church to worship and fellowship with one another.

In fact Sundays were days I looked forward to as it meant I get to spend more time with my mum and sisters whiles ‘chit chatting’ over lunch. It used to be like a routine where we would gather around the small TV set in the living room straight after lunch to watch our favourite TV programme. Watching TV for hours on a Sunday afternoon came with a corvette that we must have completed our school assignment the previous day.

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Yep, no slackers and skivers allowed in the house. I have such great childhood memories with my siblings most of which were formed through our time together on Sundays.

However, none of the above comes close to waking up in the morning to get ready for church. Going to church was something my family did every Sunday without fail. It became tightly woven into our lives so much that it felt very strange if we did not go which rarely happened.

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The drive to church, playing with the other kids at Sunday school and popping round to our aunt’s house on the way home from church were thoroughly enjoyable. Even then, the best part for me was when I wake up in the morning to get ready for church and I get to pick what I wear.

As a child, this excited me so much as I get to wear my very best. In fact Sunday outfit was so special that I had a separate suitcase where all my church clothes are kept in a neat and pristine manner.

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As a teenager, I remember vividly pressing my shirts the night before just so it looks perfect for church in the morning. There was no way I would wear any of the clothes in my church suitcase anywhere else but church.

This was a routine I followed religiously all through my teen years and to a great extent still do today.

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So my idea of ‘Sunday Best’ was born way back in my childhood days but continue today.

So when Lifestyle photographer Charles Augustus called me up on a Sunday morning to do a shoot after church, the two words that popped into my head were “Sunday Best”. Because Charles and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the shoot and the entire project itself, I have decided to share the photos with you in three instalments making them a short series. I will describe the entire look in my next post on Sunday best.

Styled by: Cuts for him
Photographer: AugustChild (Charles)
Location: The Royal exchange, Bank, London

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Raise your layering game with a waistcoat!

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Summer is that time of the year everyone looks forward to for obvious reasons such as the festivals, trips to the beach, park hangouts and BBQ. I mean who wouldn’t love doing BBQs all year round right? Unlike our Australian, Bermuda, sub-Sahara African and other countries around the globe that enjoy all year round sunshine, Europe is only bless with a couple of months where decent weather is somewhat promised. Promised being the operative word as even the two months of continuous decent weather is not guaranteed. As Trevor Noah puts it in one of his comedy sketches, the UK only get 5 days of summer.  Trevor Noah, we love your shows and all but you don’t need to rub it in dude. To all my UK people, stay strong and keep your head up.

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The thought of entering into autumn and eventually winter could make anyone feel a bit nostalgic about the summer sun.

Even though there is nothing we can do to change the weather conditions around us especially colder months of the year, there are certain things we can do to prepare for them. Autumn season generally starts at the end of September which means the air is chilled, nights are colder whiles days are shorter. This is a sign of things to come in winter when thoughts of the glorious sun are nothing but a distant memory.

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Don’t get me wrong autumn in my view is the most beautiful season of the year with all its vibrancy and colourful leaves on trees. Even when leaves fall, they form beautiful carpets of colours which seem to be in unison to the ones still on the trees. This is nature at work showing us a beautiful art form and it’s all free of charge.

Unfortunately as nature redecorate our surroundings, the air gets chillier and it becomes practical to start wearing layers. When it comes to layering, nothing looks more elegant and stylish than the all-time classic, waistcoat. The waistcoat is one of those garments that has been around for centuries and have been evolving ever since its introduction into the Western society from Persian by traveling English men.

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Referred to as the vest at the time, King Charles 11 proclaimed in 1666 that the waistcoat should be recognised as proper court attire. The waistcoat was worn in bright colours with intricate decorations on it. Since then, the waistcoat has been worn as part of formal attires with its design and look varying and evolving over time. It modern day use has been extended to the smart casual look which has assimilated very well into trends and styles.

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The waistcoat works very well as a layering garment and it happens to be one of my favourites because of it versatile. It is a garment that seamlessly brings together and connects a look whether it is smart or smart-casual. It is perfect for days when the weather is chilled enough to add an extra layer of garment but not cold enough to carry a coat or blazer and still look stylish. Apart from your three piece suit, a decent waistcoat is a must have for every gentleman out there.

Location – Lymington, New forest
Models – Oliver Kumawu and Cuts For Him
Photographer – CANO

That casual Friday look

Friday is one day in the week which seems to bring a sigh of relief to many especially those who work Mondays to Fridays. Its means the weekend is finally here and we can afford to do the things we enjoy doing (with people we love) and when we want to do them. We can even put our feet up and do nothing at all if we so choose. Amazing isn’t it?

Friday is that one day we can actually walk into the office with a pair of chinos without raising eyebrows. But wait, there is a name for it and it’s “Casual Fridays”.

In the spirit of casual Friday, let me share a few looks on men I came across in London over the past three weeks or so. These looks fit perfectly into the work environment depending on what you do.

– The first look is by Sez, a look I’ve being channelling all summer. Blazer over shorts!

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Sez, outside the apple store, Regent street, London
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Sez, outside the apple store, Regent street, London

Blazer – Burberry
T Shirt – Ralph Lauren
Shorts – top man
Loafers – Alexander McQueen
Pocket square – Ted Baker

– Second is by David and here is what he wore.

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David at great Portland street tube station
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David at great Portland street tube station

Blazer – Asos
Shirt – Reiss
Jeans – Top Man
Shoes – Aldo

– The third shows a couple of mates sitting in a park enjoy lunch. The honest truth is that I actually forgot to ask what they wore so you will have to forgive on the details and just enjoy the vibrance  of the summer  colours in the pictures.

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Justin and his friend at St Pauls Cathedral
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Justin and his friend at St Pauls Cathedral
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Justin and his friend at St Pauls Cathedral
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Justin and his friend at St Pauls Cathedral

Tell me what else would work well for “Casual Fridays” in the comment section below.

Have a wonderful weekend.