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Frank Lloyd Wright’s wisdom


July 31, 2018 by Ville Raivio

“Give me the luxuries of life, and I will willingly do without the necessities.”

— Frank Lloyd Wright

Edward&James shoes from Pediwear


July 30, 2018 by Ville Raivio

Edward&James is the new in-house selection of Goodyear-welted shoes only available at Pediwear. Made in the U.K., Spain or India, depending on the range, E&J aims to shod all situations. Mike Small, one of the owners of Pediwear, tells me that the lineup is “a result of over fifty years of family involvement in men’s fashion together with the foot and shoe world.” His father started his working life in mens’ tailoring, later became a podiatrist and then helped to develop Pediwear’s reputation as a specialist Goodyear welted mens’ shoe retailer.

Mike continues, “I have enthusiasm and passion for traditionally made mens’ shoes and a keen interest in footwear fashion. My background as a General Medical Practitioner means that my knowledge of the anatomy and movements of the foot must be taken into consideration in the designing of footwear. So, too, is the importance of the quality of materials and construction. These qualities are ensuring the brand is built with authenticity and flair.”

The E&J models are a collaboration between the retailer and the manufacturers. Pediwear has its own lasts which offer a fit and look not available elsewhere, and these are combined with the know-how of the manufacturers. In-house shoe ranges have become more common during the last decade and, at best, are able to distinguish themselves from so many others thanks to unique designs, great price-quality deals, or eccentric detailing. I asked Mr Small what’s his take on Edward&James’s strategy. “We consider that our strong working relationships within the industry allow us access to established manufacturers with whom we have build up excellent relationships. From this strong position we are able to commission unique styles made to the highest of standards. Our own extensive experience with Goodyear-welted footwear sales also helps steer the design process.”

Lastly, I asked why Keikari’s readers should try out the new lineup. “We enthusiastically assert that there is something for everyone who seeks Goodyear-welted footwear within our ranges. In our Principal range – which is the core of Edward and James – we have representations of every popular shoe style, with our own unique flavour. We could not expect our range to compete if we were not offering good value for money shoes, well made, which fit and offer contemporary style where required.” Apart from the models on the webstore, this autumn will bring new additions made at the Carlos Santos factory in Portugal, new models made in the U.K., and hand-painted shoes from Spain.


Pediwear sent over a pair of boots from their new range for Keikari’s anatomical series. The Rushton cap-toe boots are made by Cheaney and feature durable Dainite rubber soles as well as shell cordovan uppers. Instead of the usual rump tanned by Horween in America, Pediwear uses English shell cordovan, a novelty that’s been offered for just a few years.

I asked Mike Small why they decided to try out the new hides instead of sticking to an industry standard. “Horween is, of course, very highly regarded. However, the Clayton tannery in Chesterfield has a very long heritage, and when we discovered that they were going to start producing cordovan we were very keen to be involved. We met with the tannery salesman and viewed samples of the cordovan and were impressed with the quality, so we began commissioning styles – initially with Barker and later also with Cheaney. The results are impressive – and it makes for quite a unique English story – with English-tanned cordovan being made into footwear in a Northamptonshire factory.”

I have owned many pairs of shell cordovan shoes made from Horween’s famed horse’s ass, so I was keen to see and feel the English take on equine leather. I’d say the Clayton hide looks and feels the same. There is the similar matte shine, oily finish, vegetal smell, eggplant colour. Likely the differences will only reveal themselves with longer wear, and a few slings and arrows life throws on the way.

As for the last, which shall always be the first, it feels like an average British boot last. Spacious enough for thicker socks, a standard round toe. Apart from the leather and last, the rest of the boots are what Cheaney regularly offers. The welt is medium-wide, with a long stitch and no wheeling, the upper stitching straight and regular. The heel cut is narrow, with a tiny pull tab at the top. Apart from most boots, I feel that the Rushton-model has a close-fitting shaft, a great thing as most have loose tops that shake around irritably.

The leather lining is beige, though it feels coarser than usual. The brass pull tabs have a dark finish and regular spacing. The waist of the soles seems to be trimmed slimmer than on most boots. The heel stiffeners feel strong while the toe stiffeners are surprisingly soft. The pair arrives in an Edward&James shoe box along with a Cheaney leaflet, Pediwear cotton flannel shining rags, as well as E&J leaflet, shoe bags and shoehorn. All things considered, the Rushton is a solid British boot with the exception of the in-house last and rare English shell cordovan. The former either fits well or doesn’t, depending on the foot, while the latter is an offer not widely available. It should serve well any man accustomed to British shoemaking.

Many men actually don’t know what to wear


July 26, 2018 by Ville Raivio

”It used to be rather simple and time-saving: a man would get up in the morning, put on his business uniform – dark suit, white shirt and tie, black cap toes – and go to work. If he wanted to incorporate a few personal touches, like a natty pocket square or somewhat intricate wristwatch, fine. But he didn’t need to spend a great deal of time worrying whether or not his mock turtleneck was appropriate with his canvas gamekeepers jacket, or whether he should wear his leather blousson with the pastel gabs or the jewel-tone, narrow-wale cords, or what sort of footwear would be appropriate with the peacock blue stretch denims. Today, with all the high-tech innovations and information at our fingertips, it would seem that many men actually don’t know what to wear. I mean, they can’t dress themselves because they no longer know what’s appropriate for virtually any occasion except weight-training.”

– G. Bruce Boyer

Factory tour at Gaziano&Girling


July 18, 2018 by Ville Raivio

Interview with David Evans from Grey Fox Blog


July 12, 2018 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?
DE: I’m 63 years old, a former lawyer and latterly school teacher. I’m now largely retired and spend much of my time on my blog – although that’s more of a hobby than a career.

VR: Your educational background?
DE: I’ve a law degree, am a qualified solicitor (now no longer practising) and a qualified primary school teacher.


VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
DE: I’ve a wife who heads a national charity in the UK, a son and a daughter in their late twenties. After initial surprise, they’ve all become great supporters of my blog.

All were surprised to say the least. Blogging has always been seem as a young person’s pastime and I hadn’t shown any great interest in matters sartorial or stylish before. My children seem proud of their dad; I suppose being a blogger at an age when most of us have retired with our slippers and moth-eaten cardigan is different enough to be seen as pretty cool!

VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?

DE: My family, my dog Harry, mountains and mountain walking, The Lake District (where I spend much if my time), my 50-year-old Land Rover, cycling, reading, photography, the sea, wildlife, the great outdoors, British-made menswear and accessories.


VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?

DE: It came about simply because I’ve always thought I had a book in me and I wanted (in mid-2011) to start a blog to practise my writing skills. I didn’t have any idea what the subject of this blog was going to be, however, but someone suggested I find a topic I could write about from personal experience. All men and women over 40 find it hard to know how to dress and where to buy clothes. This is because brands and the fashion press ignore them, despite their relatively huge spending power. Not being the object of advertising and style discussion most of us give up. This is exacerbated by the fact that we tend to have settled into jobs and relationships, so the need to dress well is less acute than in our younger days. This all seemed an interesting basis for discussion.

With this in mind I thought I could write about the topic in a lighthearted way for a month or so when I would inevitably grind to a halt through boredom and lack of material. It didn’t quite happen like that. In starting the blog, I’d unwittingly dived into a huge hole on the blogosphere (which largely still exists despite many older Instagrammers) and the rest, as they say, is history. This all happened some six and a half years ago, in late 2011.

VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, talks with salesmen or somewhere else?

DE: All those things. Mostly from books and speaking to tailors, but there is so much information out there on the blog as well, although we have to be very careful about that as its quality is variable. I’ve been lucky enough to have had jackets and suits made bespoke by Dege&Skinner and Brita Hirsch and I learned much from that. I’ve had even more made to measure garments made and that gives a different perspective. Most of my clothes are ready to wear, although I’ve also had shirts made bespoke by Budd and Turnbull&Asser.

Visiting factories, mills, tailors’ workshops, shoemakers, tie makers and shirtmakers has given me a lot of background knowledge too. Until you’ve seen something being made you can have no idea how much work goes into it or how it’s constructed.


VR: Why did you decide to set up your blog, and what goals did you set for yourself in the beginning?

DE: My goals to start with were simply to write and see how it went before I found a more interesting topic! However, I became drawn to British-made clothing and accessories and writing about these became a sub-theme of the blog. I’ve always shied away from making the blog too commercial but this does mean that I feel taken advantage of on occasion as many brands expect much for nothing. Being gifted items is necessary if I am to write about them, but it doesn’t pay the many bills of blogging.

I’m beginning to find a balance with some brands giving me the opportunity to do paid projects which subsidise the blog and enable me to write about new and young businesses and other topics I want to pursue. I’m gradually expanding the range of the blog as I want to appeal widely to the older demographic by covering other items of interest to the older guy: cars, watches, holidays, fine dining etc.

I want the concept of style and authenticity to lie behind everything on the blog. There are many brands that I’ve turned away that don’t fit this philosophy; so no cosmetic surgery, no tobacco or unethical products, no cheap clothing companies that rely on suspect employment policies in Asia and other third world areas, no gambling companies, however much they may offer financially.

VR: Have you any particular style or cut philosophy behind your own clothing?
DE: Not really. I like the relative classic nature of British style softened by the unstructured shapes of Italian tailoring. Style must always be comfortable – even formal wear must be easy to wear.

VR: Who or what inspires you?
DE: My wife and children generally. They are focussed and determined. Sartorially, I’m inspired by Prince Charles and his love of the best quality clothing and his ethical approach to clothes. He wears them until they’ve worn out, patching and mending when needed. A lesson for those of us who buys piles of cheap clothes each month, throwing them out after a few wears.

VR: How would you describe your style?
DE: British, preppy, soft tailoring, classic.

VR: What’s your definition of style?

DE: Style is the expression of yourself through what you wear and how you live your life. Clearly there can be good and bad style. Good sartorial style respects shape, proportion, colour, good workmanship and heritage and also respects self and others.

VR: Finally, given your expertise on the subject, how could middle-aged men improve their style in a convenient manner?
DE: Buy clothes that fit. The commonest error is spending a lot on, say, a business suit that doesn’t fit – too wide over the shoulders and too long in the leg. The other common error is dressing like your teenage son. Age is a privilege, not a threat: work with it, not against it. Buy classic and simple styles and as you develop confidence you can become more sartorially adventurous.

Photo credits: Artefact Tailoring, Harvie & Hudson, Hirsch Tailoring, Dashing Tweeds.

Joe Hemrajani from My Tailor


July 8, 2018 by Ville Raivio

An interview with Claudia Chan-Deans


July 4, 2018 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?

CCD: I’m 26 years old and working as a Bespoke Cutter at Sims&MacDonald.

VR: Your educational background?

CCD: Up until the age of 16 I did all my studies in Hong Kong (where I am originally from), studied figurative art and anatomy in Italy, before completing a Bachelor’s degree in Bespoke Tailoring at the London College of Fashion.


VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your tailoring enthusiasm)?

CCD: I don’t have any children but am married and my husband also works in the trade at Gieves and Hawkes.

Although we share an interest in tailoring, I do try to avoid talking about work at home. Of course there will always be the odd question but I try not to get into a deep conversation about the ideal lapel width, for example.


VR: …and your parent’s and siblings’ reactions back in the days when you began your studies?

CCD: They were not sure where a future studying Bespoke Tailoring would lead to but I convinced them it is a skill that will allow me to at least pay my bills. Whilst if I insisted in pursuing a career as a figurative painter, I will probably be eating beans on toast every day.

VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?

CCD: Drawing and painting, sports (swimming, yoga and badminton) and simply being within nature.


VR: How did you first become interested in clothing, and when did you turn your eyes towards classic style? Why classics instead of fast fashion?

CCD: Clothing as a means of personal expression probably came as a natural instinct to me. Despite being a rather timid child, I always had a rather bold, or what some might call, eccentric dress sense. Both of my parents had their own unique way of dressing; one was a handbag designer and the other an architect. In a way I suppose I was also mimicking them as a child.

Classic instead of fast fashion because I am a strong believer and supporter of slow fashion for a more sustainable world. The fashion industry has created enough disposable items for this planet; I consider making long-lasting garments for customers, who can potentially pass them on to their next generation, as the ideal of slow fashion.


VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of tailoring — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?

CCD: I gained the foundation from my university course but it was during my work experience at A.W. Bauer in Stockholm that I realized how much there is to learn on the actual job.

I am fortunate to have had a few mentors in my career who were very willing to pass on the knowledge that they have gained through many years of experience. Clive Phythian, who I currently work with, really helped me to further develop not only my cutting skills but also the cutter’s other main task, looking after the customer.

VR: How would you describe your own dress?

CCD: Bespoke-tailored trousers and waistcoat in the summer and a two- or three-piece suit in the winter. Classic in cut but always something unconventional about the cloth, be it the colour or texture. Appropriate but fun!


VR: How did you join the team at Sims & MacDonald?

CCD: Through people who I previously worked with. I got introduced to the owner at Sims, and voila. It’s been over two years now.

VR: What goals did you set for yourself when you were made a cutter?

CCD: To create garments that will bring confidence to the wearer. This involves working in coherence with the makers as well as trying my best to convert a customer’s vision into an actual 3D-product.

Another important goal is never to stop learning and experimenting. I have a quote of Soren Kiekegaard on my board that translates as ‘courage is the only measure of life’. When one stops trying, complacency sets in. Let it be a new way of cutting or daring to change things at the fitting stage. Be bold!


VR: What’s the Sims & MacDonald house cut like?

CCD: I suppose the standard answer should be a British tailored cut (i.e. quite structured in the shoulders and chest, with a moderate rope to the sleevehead) but I always tell customers that we are here to create Bespoke garments and the wearer’s opinion is equally valid in the cut of a Sims suit.

A prime example would be some customers requesting a softer look with a flat sleevehead and less pronounced shoulder line. I think a good tailor should be flexible in creating different styles rather than being fixated in a certain ‘look’.


VR: Why should my readers try you out over other British tailors?

CCD: At Sims we are offering a product at a more reasonable price. For people that are looking to take their first steps into the world of British bespoke tailoring, Savile Row can have quite a daunting price tag.

You will be seen, measured and fitted by the same person that will be drafting your paper pattern and cutting your suit. We pride ourselves on creating the personal relationships that only the very best bespoke tailors pride themselves on and your garment will be cut and made in London.


VR: Who or what inspires you?

CCD: Anatomy and nature. Egon Schiele, the Austrian painter, with his drawing style and the way of observing a human body has always been a profound influence in my drawing as well as pattern drafting.


VR: What’s your definition of style?

CCD: The best expression of one’s character.

Cut by Claudia

VR: Finally, does the business treat woman tailors differently?

CCD: I find this question, or similar ones being asked more often, not only in tailoring but in a wider social context. For me, I think it is healthy that there is conversation happening.

It is much more acceptable for a woman to play a role in the workings of a tailor’s shop nowadays but mostly as a tailor (maker). Being a woman in a cutting role can be quite intimidating at first, certainly when faced with customers of a more ‘traditional’ mindset but I can also see a change in mentality with the younger generation of bespoke customers. I think the future for female tailors and cutters is optimistic.

Tailor Leonard Logsdail’s story


July 4, 2018 by Ville Raivio

An interview with Jort Kelder


July 2, 2018 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?

JK: Like a lady, I wouldn’t discuss my age. Let’s say, I witnessed Neil Armstrong landing on the moon… I studied law but I didn’t want a job as a commercial lawyer or corporate honcho. Instead, I loved to write and discuss politics, so I became a journalist for a Dutch business entertainment magazine called QUOTE. After a while, I became the editor-in-chief.


VR: Your educational background?

JK: I have a master’s in law, but I never worked in that field.


VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your clothing enthusiasm)?

JK: I am not married and do not have children. Concerning my style: I never let my girlfriends decide what I wear. They sometimes make fun of me for wearing old-fashioned stuff like suspenders and 3-piece suits. But let’s be honest, people prefer personality over a nondescript style. I don’t follow trends and promise them that my style will all be fashionable again.


VR: …and your parents and siblings’ reactions back in the days when you were younger?

JK: My family couldn’t care less about my style. My father is a tall man who, in his best days, wore 3-piece suits, but my brothers are both corporate guys who dress more typically and without flair.


VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?

JK: I am a journalist and TV presenter. My work is my hobby. Besides that, I love classic cars and try to collect a few. I enjoy sports – skiing and tennis are both lovely ways to waste some time, but the outfits of most tennis players and skiers are horrible. I would like to go back to the days of gentleman sports.


VR: How did you first become interested in clothing, and when did you turn your eyes towards the tailored style? Why classics instead of fast fashion?

JK: I am interested in history and like classic and timeless things that refer to the past. Call it nostalgia, but that’s the way I am. I love women’s fashion but I tend to mistrust men’s fashion. I believe a guy shouldn’t be interested all too obviously in his looks. (Yes, I know, we all are, but still…)


Featuring clothes from the JORT-line

VR: I have heard that you are extremely interested in the history of clothing. How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?

JK: In the nineties, when I was a young and an up-and-coming journalist, I published my first book called ‘Man & Pak’. I wrote that book together with my friend Yvo van Regteren Altena, who lived in Italy and devoted his life to tailoring, perfumes and exquisite food. My knowledge of fabrics is based on an obsessive interest in craftsmanship, a bespoke lifestyle and eccentricism. I learn by reading books, traveling and just watching.

VR: How would you describe your style?

JK: Classic with a twist. In my case, the twist can be suspenders. In my home country that’s my image: the guy with the braces.


VR: How did you become the face of Suitsupply’s Jort-collection?

JK: I knew and was friends with Fokke de Jong, the Founder and CEO of Suitsupply. Once I got to understand the brand and what it was trying to build, it became clear to me that the quality was great and the possibilities are endless. From there, we decided to develop the Jort collection.

VR: Why should my readers try the Jort-line instead of the many other lines on the market?

JK: The JORT line offers the best quality product and value guaranteed. The Jort line is all about detailing and luxury, but it is well-priced luxury. We use mostly super-150s fabric, which is a rich and delicate fabric of great quality. We have button flies and Neapolitan shoulders which are luxurious and found on only the best of suits. That said, we still make the prices attainable so many people can experience this luxury. One of my favorite items is the long cashmere sock, it feels great on and it is a simple luxury that anyone can have.


VR: Who or what inspires you?

JK: I’m inspired by men who invented their own definition of style – and that is like Suitsupply and it’s mantra of “Don’t just fit in, find your own perfect fit”. When creating the Jort Collection, I always read about historical figures who did something that had never been done before. Winston Churchill wore a boiler suit against the dust of the battlefield. During the Crimean War, Lord Cardigan tore apart his pullover and the cardigan was born. Prince Edward started wearing suede shoes in the city, which ushered in the end of the ’never wear brown in town’ London fashion rule. You need some personality to break the rules, so my advice is: just do it, make your own rules and be part of history,

VR: What’s your definition of style?

JK: Less is more.

VR: Where does the inspiration for the Jort-collection designs come from?

JK: With the Suitsupply design team, I choose an interesting historical figure with a strong sense of style. For the collection a few seasons ago, I was inspired by Porfirio Rubirosa and Gunther Sachs. For another collection, I was inspired by daredevils and picked a guy who broke a speed record on land and sea: Sir Malcolm Campbell. The most recent collection was about Men of Leisure, the great men who prefer the good life over an all-day job. Here, we were inspired by Gianni Agnelli or, in his later days, shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.


VR: Finally, what do you think about the style of Dutch men in general?

JK: Since the 1990s, Dutch style has improved thanks to importing the best brands from Italy. Suitsupply started in the new millennium and it adopted the Italian style. Now Suitsupply is the market leader and has improved Dutch style overall. But let’s be honest: in airports I still recognize my fellow countrymen!

Cheaney Shoes factory tour


July 2, 2018 by Ville Raivio

Copyright © 2013 Ville Raivio

Only a beautiful life is worth living.

"If John Bull turns around to look at you, you are not well dressed; but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable".
~ Beau Brummell