December 3, 2013 by Ville Raivio
A few years ago, The Sartorialist was an excellent source for up-to-date menswear inspiration. The Lucas, the Linos, the Plutinos and many anonymous men made up an endless collection of cloths, patterns, colours and cuts along with some humorous moments of bucket hats and sprezzatura gone awry. Schuman offers these no more, instead focusing on runway shows, women and derp-like street figures. I have replaced my dose of The Sartorialist with random peeks into Guerreisms, the great photo collection of one Karl-Edwin Guerre. Here’s hoping his lens will remain clear and focused.
December 1, 2013 by Ville Raivio
November 30, 2013 by Ville Raivio
’I am 29 years old, and I am a co-founder of Carson Street Clothiers, a luxury multi-brand menswear retailer and fashion label in New York City. I earned my BA in History and Journalism from NYU in 2006 and a JD from Villanova University School of Law in 2009. My father was a Studio 54-esque, greasy Italian immigrant from Calabria who settled in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, in the ’60s. He has some absolute gems when it comes to the vintage photos department: he and his brothers had such sprezzy, interesting style back then; long sleeve polos, big collars, chest hair, double breasted suits, fedoras – really cool stuff. I am an avid chess player and love to visit museums. You just learn so much from either activity.
The first identifiable moment I became aware of my interest in fashion was in my teenage years in the late ’90s, when my older cousin took me on a shopping trip to NYC. I grew up in Staten Island, so I wasn’t very far away, but my knowledge of the city was extremely limited. He took me throughout SoHo (he had a MASSIVE apartment back then – the neighborhood has changed so much) and up on to 5th Avenue to shops like Moschino, Atrium, Emporio Armani and Prada. I was blown away.
Moschino was my favorite – I would save all my money from delivering pizzas to buy a couple of traffic tees. Man, I wish I still had those tees. As per classic style over fashion, things really changed when I studied abroad in Paris in 2004 – Parisians just had this je ne sais quoi about them…a leisurely confidence that I wanted to mimic in timeless pieces. It took me quite some time to reach that point, and I am still learning (as I hope I always will), but boy did that change my perspective on things.
[My knowledge comes from] books, traveling and the Internet. Also, just living in NYC – there’s so much amazing style around us, sometimes all you have to do is pick up your head and take a look around. I gravitate toward a contemporary, cropped, tailored aesthetic. My favorite brands (besides Carson Street, of course) include Patrik Ervell, AMI, Michael Bastian and Eidos Napoli. I just like to have fun with my clothes.
Matt (my business partner and co-founder) and I went to law school together and were roommates for our last two years in Philadelphia. We always knew law wasn’t really for us and plotted throughout law school to potentially go into business together someday. Right around the time I was growing tired and unimpressed with law (mid-2010; it didn’t take long), I started writing a style blog called Nice Try, Bro. From there, I went on to meet so many designers and editors in the industry – we really felt like we had a good base and support system to get started. And so it went.
We have been blessed to receive great press thus far, and the response to it has been even better. Much love and thanks to all of our supporters! We’re not in the business of telling people why (or why they should not) do one thing or another. We believe the proof is in the pudding: a beautiful product, excellent customer service, interesting employees, comfortable accommodations, and a masculine and refined aesthetic – come on by and judge for yourself!
The CSC house brand is a fusion of classic American and contemporary European (namely, Italian) sensibilities personified. We manufacture shirts, trousers, ties, square, sports jackets and now footwear (with other small leathers on the way) with an eye toward longevity and durability. All products are currently made in America, Italy, and France. We use only the finest mills, manufacturers, hardware etc. – we are a detail-oriented company that will not produce anything but high quality garments for our clientele.
Our CSC footwear drops very soon (we will have 9 different models), and we are continuing to expand our label. Expansion is always in the back of our collective mind, so…yeah…stay tuned! Who or what inspires me? Who – My father. What – Life. My definition of style is one’s individual interpretation of how one dresses and presents himself on a day-to-day basis. As for tips, get the basics down first; experiment later.’
Photos: Carson Street Clothiers
November 26, 2013 by Ville Raivio
November 26, 2013 by Ville Raivio
VR: Your age and occupation?
MN: 30, buyer at Oger, the top menswear retailer in The Netherlands and Belgium with stores in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Antwerp. Next to my buying responsibilities I am highly involved in menswear.
VR: Your educational background?
MN: Studied Law in both Leiden and Amsterdam for five years in total, but then decided to start up my own business in shirtmaking and thus never graduated for a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
MN: No children; living together with my girlfriend and two cats in the center of Amsterdam. My girlfriend is not really into fashion but appreciates my style. I guess…
VR: …and your parent’s and siblings’ reactions back in the days?
MN: My late father had always been somewhat of a fashionable man. I started my first part-time job during my high school period at a small luxury department store (Maison de Bonneterie) so I guess they saw it coming.
VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?
MN: Menswear followers might know me through my illustrations. I have always loved illustrating and being creative in that field of work. Furthermore, I’m into running – planning to finish a marathon and an olympic distance triathlon in 2014 – and general healthy lifestyle; also because my girlfriend is a ‘green foodie’.
VR: How did you first become interested in clothes, and when did you turn your eyes to classic style? Why classics instead of fashion?
MN: Maybe through my father. When I was about four and my mum and I went shopping I always wanted to decide on my own choice of clothing. And even then I preferred somewhat of a preppy style; back in the late ’80s. Still a story that pops up at every family event.
VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of this area — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?
MN: The true ‘knowlegde’ probably started when I bumped into Roetzel’s ‘The Gentleman’ for the first time. I was really taken by that book and in the end read it to pieces. My made-to-measure skills – I used to be a made-to-measure specialist for ages – I learned by trial and error; the training that I got from most in house ‘specialists’ was worse than just trying. Special attention, though, to two very skilled people I did learn from: Diederik de Flines, Oger’s Quality Made-to-Measure Manager and Marion Pollman, one of the few bespoke tailors in The Netherlands, currently working for NEW TAILOR in Amsterdam and Utrecht.
VR: How would you describe your own dress? Which RTW makers or tailors do you favour?
MN: I think my way of dressing is classic with a contemporary twist. In the end, I always prefer a blue suit, white shirt and dark brown shoes, but I tend to wear it in a young way. The best compliment I ever got was from Tom of Viola Milano; he stated that I always looked like my suits had grown on me.
VR: I see that you’ve a talent for stylish illustrations. Have you trained somewhere or learned by trial and error?
MN: Trial and error. It’s nice to see that I get more and more requests for illustrations from all over the world.
VR: How did you first join Oger, and what goals did you set for yourself in the beginning? How have you been received so far?
MN: I was asked to come and work for Oger in the Summer of 2011; I started working there as a made-to-measure specialist and was then ‘headhunted’ by NEW TAILOR and became their Creative Director, revising the company. To my surprise, Oger came back to me quite soon and asked me to rejoin them as a buyer working directly with Martijn. Couldn’t say no to that. I do have my personal goals for work at Oger, going further than just buying as part of the buying process. I’m happy that I get the space and confidence to be involved in many, many more parts of the business.
VR: There are dozens of clothing stores in The Netherlands — why should my readers visit Oger?
MN: I think there are two main reasons to visit Oger when you are in Holland. The outstanding and impeccable service and the lovely range of brands, mainly Italian, that we offer. Just to name a few: Attolini, La Vera, Brioni, Caruso, Isaia, Finamore, Santoni and our private label brands Oger RED, Oger Dressed for Success and Oger Handmade.
VR: Who or what inspires you?
MN: I think my main inspiration, like any ‘menswear blogger’, comes from the Internet. I love all the ‘lifestyle’ Tumblrs (including my own) that always inspire to keep dreaming. Of course, in my work position I have the luxury of working closely with a lot of creative people, both internally at Oger but also with the brands that we work with. Every visit with people of the those brands are like creative inspirational cocktails!
VR: What is your definition of style?
MN: Easy: there is no definition of style. Style is always open to your own definition. I always try to be open to a lot of different styles without being judgemental. Taste and style are often confused by the self-proclaimed stylish people.
VR: Is there something you wish more men would know about dressing well? All tips and thoughts are welcome.
MN: General tip for Dutch men: buy the right size! I have faith in the rest of the world.
Photos: Menco Nieuwenhuis
November 25, 2013 by Ville Raivio
Category Arbiter Elegantiae
November 25, 2013 by Ville Raivio
Leave it to the Italians: vintage triple sole snow shoes with turned toes in brown grain leather with bellows tongue, six metal eyelets, unlined, instep straps. No need for ugly Sorel Caribous no matter the weather.
November 23, 2013 by Ville Raivio
November 22, 2013 by Ville Raivio
‘I’m 56 years old and a fashion designer. I went to 13 schools, none of them private, as conforming was a problem. I’ve two daughters; Lily, 21, film maker, helping me with the PW visual image, and Edie, 17, fashion student. Both are proud of their famous grandmother, and plan to help me when they can. When I finished fashion school, I joined my parents’fashion business, so they reacted quite well as I helped build it into a giant! My hobbies: dirt bike racing, desert racing, car rallies, Dakar rally, helicopter flying, cooking.
I was born into an environment that was all about making things, even though my parents could not afford a home (we lived in tents), they always had a fantastic workshop, so that was my inspiration, and why I got interested in clothes. There is a principal in British men’s dressing that when a man walks into a room you should notice the man before his clothes, this is based on the wearing of classics. Any changes made to these classics should be really carefully done, and for a reason, otherwise the delicate balance is upset. I learned to gather knowledge from my mother, the designer Laura Ashley. She taught me the principle of looking behind before going forward, the importance of evolution in design, then adding on the relevant technological updates in order to make the product more practical for today’s society. We used to spend a lot of time in museums and archives, I still do and this is the best part of my work because the editing of old and new can be done “on the hoof” while looking at old stuff and planning how to modernise it.
Freehand technical sketch for Private White
My own style is quite eclectic, I have never had a problem with expressing myself. I was brought up on a farm in Wales, at junior school the other boys all looked the same; pudding basin haircut, duffle coat and Wellington boots. I used to look like Jimmy Hendrix! When I went into the sweet shop, the lady said, “yes, miss!” It didn’t bother me then, and I still continue to have fun with some cranky outfits, the only difference now is that I have two daughters, each with an “objective” view on how their dad should look…and they both prefer cord trousers, cashmere jumpers and brogue shoes, but I’m still too young for the grandpa look! I use myself as a guinea pig for new Private White products. If I get too many negative reactions to something, then I may not run it…immediately. So, to sum up, my own style is eclectic.
All in the details: tablet pocket behind wallet pocket
Private White is the last coatmaker in Manchester, the whole of the Global clothing industry was founded in Manchester, and when we are gone, that is the end of the Holy Grail. We are throwing resources at keeping this last finger hold on the cliff edge of the manufacturing industry; we have added a woolen mill in Yorkshire, a cotton mill in Lancashire, and a pledged flock of Wensleydale sheep to supply the wool. This month we will open our factory shop, the products inside that shop will have been made from sheep to shop within a fifty mile radius of the factory. These facts alone make Private White worth a visit. My designs are a matter of taste…I am a people watcher, I am inspired by people.
Twin Track Jacket in Red Waxed Cotton
I joined Private White because I did not want to see the very last coatmaker in Manchester close down. I went straight to the factory, sat down with Mike Stoll, my friend of 25 years, and he introduced me to James Eden, the great grandson of the founder. James was prepared to throw everything into getting the business on its feet again, Mike and I are his support. It is very emotional, a brand needs an emotion, that’s what the customers radar picks up on. I started work straight away. The Private White “House Style” is very subtle. Our heritage as coat makers dictates that we specialise in outerwear, the layer that keeps you warm and dry. Our founder, Jack, was a private in the army, and soldiers make fantastic designers — they have to design stuff while dodging bullets! All of the above is more than enough to get on with, I believe that the customer should be in charge of their own look, we just give them the component parts. I do have to put outfits together though, and if you want to categorise the brand, I have coined a phrase “Techno-Retro” that just about sums it up, it is Gentlemen’s outerwear that has been updated.
Manchester Pea Coat in Brown Melton wool
I work a lot with museums and archives; in fact, I consider the whole of the British isles to be a museum these days, I like to consider the past before going forwards, that way evolution is respected, and modern technology is added so the product becomes more relevant to our lifestyle right here and now. My favourite Brands are Anderson&Sheppard, they have not only a bespoke service, but they will disassemble your suit, steam the pieces, adjust, then re-assemble for you, that is a proper tailor shop, and Cheaney shoes, who will sell you a new pair of shoes, then will re-sole them at the factory for the entire time that you own them. I like to be able to buy clothes from the factory or workshop where they were made, it helps to form a relationship with possessions.
My favourites in the [Private White] collection are either in our archive, or have been abandoned somewhere! It is one of life’s frustrations that the best-selling products are not always the designer’s favourites, there is a mismatch between what designers want people to wear, and what they actually buy, maybe because we have to work so far ahead, but I can never seem to get the timing right! This is not at all a problem, merely an observation, OK, a frustration!
Inspired by British Army tropical wear, Private White’s shacket in chambray
My definition of style is when someone has a confident sense of themselves; they may know all the rules and are therefore qualified to break them if they feel like it. Clothes are a reflection of how you feel on the inside, displayed on the outside, so some people make a really nice read! What I’d like more men to know about military-inspired clothing is that soldiers make great fashion designers. The outfits they wear can save their lives, they have to design the clothes with bullets flying at them so there is no bullshit or wasted effort; if an extra pocket is needed, or if something needs to be re-enforced or strengthened, then it happens.
What I’d like more men to know about military clothing is that it’s made to the highest possible specifications of any clothes in the world, and they are ferociously expensive to produce for civilian wear. This starts with the construction of the fabric and just doesn’t stop. I decided that if we are to make our clothes in the most expensive factory in the world, then we should construct them in the best possible way, like military clothes. The cost confuses people because they expect tailoring for that price, but our customers want casual clothes that are constructed to tailoring standards, made in Manchester. All things considered, we are fantastically good value.’
Photos: Nick Ashley and Private White
November 20, 2013 by Ville Raivio
Copyright © 2013 Ville Raivio