Freetown! What can I say about this beautiful city that has not already been said? Apparently there is a lot more but I’ll save that for future posts as I have so much more to share with you all.
For now, I am just going to share a few photos I took during one of many family vacations to this wonderful city. Before I leave you to enjoy the pictures, here are a few facts about this historically rich and important city.
– Freetown is the capital city of Sierra Leone.
– European explores first reached Freetown in the 15th century
– Freetown was had the first colony of freed slaves in Africa, dubbed the “Province of freedom”.
– Has the largest natural harbour in Africa
– Has West Africa’s oldest university, Fourah Bay College, established in 1827
– Population of a little over 1.2 million
– In a recent research, Sierra Leone is listed second on the list of countries with the best diets in the world.
This is what lonely planet has to say about Freetown. “And it might just be the only capital in the world where when you emerge from the airport, blinking after an overnight flight, you find yourself standing on the wooden deck of a port flanked by a backdrop of mountains, beaches and palm trees so idyllic you wonder if it’s real. Well it’s all real, all of it – the chatter and the chaos and the colour and the dirt and the lush lobster dinners and the devastating war history – and those lovely white sands too”. Need I say any more?
So when planning your next holiday, think outside the box and consider Freetown. The fact that it might not be the obvious choices for first time visitors makes it even more thrilling and satisfying to anyone that makes the leap of faith.
Just a quick note to say that the photos below do not cover the entire city and were taken at only two out of many beautiful beaches that dots the Freetown peninsular. Come back soon as I will be sharing my experiences with a bit of rich history of Freetown and its surroundings backed with beautiful pictures.
T-shirts! What’s there to say about t-shirts that has not already been said? It’s a t-shirt, it’s a t-shirt, and a t-shirt! Those were my exact thoughts when I got the invitation to the launch of Run and Fell a t-shirt brand opening a pop-up store in Chelsea, London.
I was convinced there was nothing new for me to learn and write about when it comes to t-shirts. In fact the Style and fashion aspect to my blog is focused on the dapper and dandy look which has no place for t-shirts. Well at least that was what I thought before I read the entire invitation which went on to state the uniqueness of this brand. Simply put, I was wrong.
“The unique concept behind the pop-up store involves directly connecting the customer with the manufacturing process. Customers are becoming increasingly aware and discerning when it comes to the ethics of the Fashion industry. The “big idea” for the RUN&FELL pop-up is to promote ethical garment production, and to enable customers to engage with and explore elements of the production process first hand” said Naomi Jackson (designer and owner of Run and Fell) in her email to me. I don’t know about you but this got my attention. Run and Fell seem to have stepped away from the usual manic consumerism everyone is used to where items of clothing are churn out with little or no regard for the process or the material used to create them. I mean we have all heard of the chaotic and sometimes dangerous conditions (branded sweatshop) in which many items of clothing were made from around the world. Run and Fell’s ethos couldn’t have been further away from this. Phew, what a breath of fresh air. I mean don’t get me wrong, I am sure you would have heard of other brands promoting the ethical side of their business but for a brand to actually be so keen as to draw their customers into the intricate process of how the garment is produced is commendable. To me, this demonstrates care and pride in the product.
Another aspect of Run and Fell that really spoke to me is the fact that the brand is proudly and unapologetically British. Many brands have in the past spent millions on repackaging their products as foreign before going back to the country of origin to give them a luxurious or exotic feel. Run and Fell does not only fly the British flag, it also proudly incorporate the local spirit and history of Manchester “our roots are threaded deep into the creative heart of the cotton city, “Cottonopolis” itself” as stated in their story.
Speaking to Naomi during the evening of the Launch, it was obvious that Run and Fell is not just another brand aiming to make a few quid from the sale of a few t-shirt but was committed to creating a piece of garment she truly believed in. The passion and standards she spoke with was in line with the physical product I had in my hand. The texture was one of quality whiles the designs channelled originality and creativity.
Run and Fell is a great example of a sustainable ethical garment brand with an attitude of substance and integrity over everything else.
Listen, its summer and everyone needs a t-shirt so head over to Run and Fell’s online store and make yourself a purchase you will be happy with.
Family is a word that evokes so much feelings and emotions that cannot be summed up in words but rather shown through actions.
The oxford dictionary defines family as “a group consisting of two parents and their children living together” or more aptly “a group of people related by blood or marriage”. The term blood by itself (in the second definition) is enough to conjure a feeling of belonging and one of real connection. A connection even nature itself cannot undo.
Family is the most basic but yet most important unit of any society.
I personally think that family is God’s way of teaching us how to relate to him through service, accountability, challenging each other in love. Love which when nurtured properly within the family can be extended to people outside of it.
As it happens, I was blessed with amazing sisters, one of whom was graduating after completing a degree in Criminology and Criminal justice.
I know right, you can imagine the excitement laced with feelings of accomplishment after all those sleepless nights burning the midnight oil.
Seeing my sister graduate was a moment of pride, joy and absolute pleasure for the entire family and celebrations were in order as we thank God for his mercies.
My Dad, Ed senior and my other sister Jennifer were both in attendance too. Knowing Jennifer, she might try to outshine everyone else in the ceremony including the celebrant. #sideeye
Not that I was competing with them but I wasn’t going to look like a tramp in their midst. So for this reason, I was going to turn up in style.
As you would know by now, I love my suits and always look forward to wearing them at any given opportunity.
I personally think a suit adds an extra dimension to a man’s look no other garment does. A business suit or lounge suit is the most common of suits. Although this kind of suit is common, it doesn’t mean it has to be monotonous and boring.
So in this occasion my style idea was ‘simple with a twist’ or a ‘cool classic’.
I only wanted two colours, well strictly speaking, white does not count as a colour as it is not found on the colour wheel so midnight blue was my colour of choice for the occasion.
Midnight blue is one of those colours that go with almost everything. I say ‘almost’ loosely as from the top of my head I cannot think of any other colour that does not go with it. I think it’s so versatile that you can wear it all year round, day and night, summer or winter.
I recon it’s a good investment so if you do not have a blue suit (especially darker hues), I suggest you go out and get one now. You won’t regret it, ever!
Ok back to the look. As I said above, I was aiming for the ‘simple with a twist’ ‘cool classic’ look, which means one colour only.
With my white shirt providing layering for the suit, there was only going to be two accessories with this look, white pocket square and a watch. No necktie, bow tie, lapel pin or even collar tips.
Ok, in hindsight maybe I could have added a collar tip to give my collars a bit of character but that’s it, nothing else. With my shirt buttoned up and pocket square squared up my idea of simplicity is complete.
Now to add a little twist to the mix, I opted for a pair of white high top leather all-star converse. I could have gone for a pair of brown or black shoes with matching belts but that would make me look just like everyone else. With two folds on my trouser, I made sure the converse was in full view. The reason I chose converse over any other pair of white trainer is that converse in general carries that classic look and they are streamlined and fitted instead of being bulky. This I think goes well with my look. The converse on this occasion is the statement piece.
So next time you put one a suit, think of inventive ways of wearing it. Push fashion boundaries to make a statement.
Suit – FCUK
Shirt – TM lewin
Pocket Square – M & S
Trainers – Office by Converse
For daily updates on fashion and lifestyle tips, follow my instagram page @cutsforhim
When a good friend Cano told me about the exhibition and launch of a book called Return of the Rudeboy, curated by Dean Chalkley and Harris Elliott, I immediately sprang into action by first entering the dates into my diary, and then proceeded to doing a bit of online research on the origins of the concept. I was quite keen to check out the exhibits this time round as I missed their very first London exhibition at somerset house in 2014. I have heard and seen Dean and Harris’s body of works before and even follow their Instagram page but did not really know much about the history of Rudeboy and wanted to have a deeper understanding of its roots. What better way to do so than speaking to the two men who made it all possible, so off I went to the hospital club in Covent Garden.
‘Rudeboy’, no I am not referring to Rihanna’s 2010 hit song. Just in case this is your first time hearing about “Rudeboy” in this context let me try to give you a quick background to it Jamaican origins from the 1960s to its present day use here in England.
What is a Rudeboy and how is the style relevant today?
Rudeboy is said to be the first youth subculture of Jamaica after the country gained independence from Britain in the 60s. This subculture was necessitated by poor living conditions in the shanty towns of West Kingston were an underground economy grew and young people had to find ways to survive by any means necessary. The youth quickly became disenfranchised and violence ensued, even leading to curfews being put into place to curb such violence. With these struggles by marginalised citizens came the need to form informal and sometimes illegal groups and gangs to protect and fend for friends and families. The original Rudeboys was formed. The rudeboy wore sharp suit and pork pie hats to create their own personal style. Some say they did so to mimic the lifestyle of the upper class adding sunglasses to the look which they wore at all hours of the day. Living in the slums of West Kingston but wearing sharp suits and ties makes the rudeboy identifiable by their neighbours in the slums and suspicious to the upper class of Kingston. They literally stood out and with time, Ska music was associated with the Rudeboys.
Looking back in history, it may seem like Ska music and the Rudeboy subculture have enjoyed a close relationship from the start. However, Ska music came before the Rudeboy image was recognised as a subculture in the mid to late 60s.
Ska itself is a music genre with elements of mento, calypso, American Jazz and rhythm and blues and in the late 50s Jamaica and a predecessor of genres such as Rocksteady and Reggae.
Apart from dressing well and being huge fans of Ska music, the Rudeboy subculture helped spread the music to the working class which later became known as 2 Tone Ska upon it revival in England in the 70s. Subsequently, Rudi and Rudies (Rudeboy and Rudegirl) became terms used to describe fans of 2 Tone Ska as they enjoyed a strong presence within the genre.
British youths in the 70s, both black and white wore sharp suits, with slim ties, pork pie hats and shoes to match to identify with the movement’s Jamaican roots. As with its earlier days, the Rudeboy movement divided opinions and Ska artists of the 70s were no exceptions as some see the subculture as a menace whiles some celebrated it.
Fast forward to present day “Return of the Rudeboy”, fashion photographer Dean Chalkley and creative director Harris Elliott curated various pieces of sharply dress individuals who show the essence and spirit of a Rudie through what turned out to be successful exhibitions both in London and in Tokyo. Speaking to Dean himself on the last day of the London, Covent Garden exhibition, it became apparent that all the Rudies photographed had their unique styles through which their individual personalities shown but collectively embodied the essence of the Rudeboy look. Dean made sure to point out that none of the photographed Rudies were styled by himself or Harris.
As Harris Elliott himself put it, ‘Rudeboy image is not down to the clothes but the wearer of the clothes. The spirit and attitude the wearer channels through their personalities’. It is easy to see this as I admired the printed exhibits.
The looks of a Rudeboy back in the 60s is a far cry from what we identify today as Rudeboy in the inner cities of London. Rudeboys or Rudegirls these days are more likely to be wearing sportswear showing their bottoms than a well-tailored suit. In fact the youth that refer to each other as ‘Rude’ today deliberately wear hoodies as a way of differentiating themselves from the suit and tie, which is seen as conforming to the status quo.
The re-emergence of original Rudeboy dress code highlights how inner city subculture usually associated with disenfranchised youth has evolved over time.
From the dance moves of the Ska music, to the way Rudies wear their hats and ties means that the Rudeboy movement is not limited to what you wear but the attitude and spirit the wearer gives off defines one as a Rudie.
Just before leaving, I asked Dean when we should be expecting another exhibition. He simply smiled and said we shall see. So until then I recommend you get the book here.