Tag Archives: London

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.

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.

Shorts: the Long and short of it

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You know what, I think my short wearing game is getting better (even if I have to say so myself) with every passing summer since forever. And I am not talking about wearing shorts just to pop round to the corner shop neither and I will explain if you give me a minute.

To some, the idea of wearing shorts automatically conjures scenes of strolling along the seaside on a hot holiday with a beer in hand. If I am honest, I know people who do not even contemplate the notion of wear shorts at all beyond their front door. Some may even see shorts as a less worthy investment due to their seasonal nature or their alleged lack of versatility. It’s like saying it’s a pair of shorts and that’s that. To many, the thought of looking like a schoolboy is a massive turn off and to be honest, you will look like a school boy if you do not know how to dress shorts, which is kind of why I have put together this article.

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So before you go all snobbish over a pair of shorts for fear of making you look like a schoolboy, hear me out whiles I remind you that shorts have been and are still part of an array of official uniforms for different professions such as the military and police for practical and functional purposes. And we all know that police and army are as professional as it gets when it comes to uniforms. Police officers in many British colonies (especially those in hot regions) in the 50s wore Khaki shorts as part of their uniforms and two such examples were Hong Kong and Sierra Leone. Even now, there are parts of the world where shorts are worn by police officers on beach and bike patrol.

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In fashion, apart from Pharrel Williams who wore shorts with a bow tie to the Oscars in 2014, other notable men who dress up and make short wearing effortlessly cool are Sam Lambert (half of art comes first), and Nick Wooster.

What I am trying to explain above is that shorts can be used outside of sports and recreational purposes for grown men. Did I hit a cord with you? Is that a yes or a nah?

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Anyway now that we have established that shorts are not just for school boys and strolling along the beach, let’s see how we can put this look together.

I have used shorts in various capacities but for best results here is what you need to do to push the envelope and stand out.

Pair your shorts with a nice dress shirt, dress belt, pair of loafers (preferable penny loafers), and depending on the occasion and weather, a blazer. As you can see in some of the images, I have used a tie and a bow tie for some added integrity.

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Just before you go out and splurge on all kinds of short, here are a few things to consider:

Stick with chinos or Khakis
Avoid baggy
Avoid patterns and stick with solid colours
Runaway from cargo shorts and stick with classic cut

Not only is this a cool look which will set you apart from the crowd, it is the most practical way of dressing for hot weather whiles still maintaining looking dapper. Did I hear you say this look is what casual Fridays at work are made for right? Errmmm I will let you go through the painstaking task of reading you HR manual.

Oh and when you decide to don you spanking new pair of shorts trying to look all fly, please do yourself a favour and moisturise your legs.

 

Fashion Week London 2015 – Africa style

Cuts for him met with – Left to Right: Ginny (frogirlginny Blogger), Maggie Smith (model and winner of face of Africa Fashion Week London 2015), and Rene Daniella (Ownbyfemme Lifestyle blogger),
Designed by Soraya Da Piedade. Modelled by Somer Louise

Africa Fashion Week London or AFWL has come a long way since its inception in 2011. This year’s event was held at the Olympia London on the 7th and 8th of August. It is another great example of how the African culture and lifestyle is influencing and taking roots in London as mentioned in my post August in Africa summer festival 15. AFWL is by a wide margin the largest catwalk event in Europe celebrating African styles and designs and has caught the attention of many even beyond Africa and Europe. The show has attracted over 300 hundred designers and more than 40, 000 visitors.

I personally have little reservations about a few designers’ commitment to pushing the art from being a dream to truly becoming an avant-garde were by the framework for future African fashion is laid. Up to the point of typing this post, my research laid bare, for the lack of web presence on some of the designers and exhibitors.
Living in a world where everything points towards digital, its surprising this minority have not tapped into this area to make themselves known.

Nsoromma by Tribal Piece


Notwithstanding, collectively the runway shows for 2015 have been spectacular with many designers pushing the boundaries to widen the horizon of what is expected from an “African” themed fashion show.
It is no longer the case where Ankara and Kente dominates the catwalk to represent the entire continent.
For many years, designers have used these two fabric types to create what they saw as the embodiment of African fashion.
To my delight, this is no longer the case and even for those who use Ankara and Kente have done so in such clever ways as to show a different dimension to the art of designing.

Mary Martin London - Cecil the Lion inspired dress
Mary Martin London – Cecil the Lion inspired dress


A good example is Mary Martin London. Mary Martin showcased some beautiful pieces to include a Cecil the Lion inspired dress. “When I saw the lion on TV I was deeply shocked” said Martin as she was interviewed by the BBC world service. Martin spent many nights working on the dress in time for the show. Other designers who showcased beautiful pieces on the catwalk for the 6:30 show on Saturday were:

Amanda May
Needle point
Soraya da Piedade
Vanelse
Sarah Arthman
Kilumba
Steve Mandy
Nsoromma by Tribal Piece

The organisers did a fantastic job to put this show together and i think it is going to get bigger and better in the coming years. I am already looking forward to AFWL16. As a men’s fashion and lifestyle blogger, i wish there were more men’s fashion designers out there. May be this is an area up and coming fashion enthusiasts need to look into.
Browse through the photos and let me know what you think by leaving a comment