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Interview with Rezső Kuti


January 9, 2015 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?
RK: 37, sales manager at Vass Shoes.


VR: Your educational background?
RK: I finished school as sales manager, but did my postgraduate as winemaker/sommelier (don’t laugh, I love wines and oenology).


At the Lineapelle fair in Bologna, 2013

VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your shoe enthusiasm)?
RK: I’m married with 3 children, 2 boys and a little girl. She likes my shoes. Daddy’s big shoes.


VR: …and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
RK: My parents were merchants. I’ve been always in the shop, and back then they ran some book shops. I’ve read a lot and loved to sell anything so far. But when I’ve seen some well-dressed gents or women I’ve always felt something; that I have a passion for shoes, and clothing.


VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides the world of shoes?
RK: I am collecting books and wines. I love traveling, too.


VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?
RK When I began high school, I saw a lot of well-dressed guys, of course, they were very fashionable. But I thought I would like to wear more some valuable clothing. I asked my father where he’s buying his shirts, etc. I started so. Then we traveled a lot to Austria, Italy, and on these trips I saw what I had been looking for…that was the beginning.

Interview_with_Rezső_Kuti_at_Keikari_dot_com2With Eva Vass at the Shoegazing super trunk show in Stockholm

VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the shoe trade — from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?
RK: Yes, I read a lot, at first only books, magazines. I have also visited some workshops. Since I’m working at Vass, I have a kind of “joker card” as I am the sales manager, so I can get “easily” into workshops. Also, here in Budapest, I have met a few people who are working for some big brands. I’ve learned from them as well. I’ve learned trading in a business school, and also a lot from my father.


VR: Please describe how you joined the Vass team and what goals you set for yourself in the beginning. How have you been received so far?
RK: It is a funny story. I was previously working always at the big companies as a sales manager. In the printing industry, in the wine industry. Then, in 2007, I met Mr. Vass. We talked for 30 minutes. About things, about life. After 30 minutes we both knew that we need to work together. He asked me if I would like to join the Vass team…I said yes.


VR: Do you have a favorite shoe model (eg. monk, balmoral, oxford, Budapester) and leather type?
RK: My favorite one is the Budapest derby on F-last and the Old English 2 on the F-last.


VR: Who or what inspires you?
RK: No question about it, it’s Mr. Vass! On 2nd place are the guys at G&G. It is also a great thing to be like an “engine” of sales at Vass. That gives me a lot of energy day by day.

Interview_with_Rezső_Kuti_at_Keikari_dot_com3The Vass team at Fierra Bologna

VR: What’s your definition of a good shoe?
RK: This is a hard question. The answer is not an exact thing. For me, it’s the shoe that I’ve just sold and has been paid! Just a joke! A good shoe should show the quality and should fit well. There are a lot of great shoes. In any range.


VR: The most recent new products from your company were quality bags and briefcases. Do you have other new goods in the works for next year?
RK: No, that’s it. We won’t expand but we would like to make even better shoes.


VR: Finally, why should Keikari’s readers try Vass shoes?
RK: They should definitely try our shoes. Once they do, they will understand why. If you wear them you will understand.

Interview_with_Rezső_Kuti_at_Keikari_dot_com4The re-vamped Vass store in Budapest

Photos: Vass Shoes

Factory visit at St. Crispin’s


December 30, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Justin “The Shoe Snob” FitzPatrick visited the venerable Romanian miracle maker St. C. a while ago, and now a bounty of extraordinary photos is shared for all and sundry. With only around 1500 pairs created per year, the maker is among the smallest artisanal shoe companies with a large reach online.

Interview with Roycru


December 20, 2014 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?

RP: I was born around a year after my Father returned from the Second World War.  When I was a boy, I wanted to work for the railroad, which I did until my Father died.  After that, I worked in the family business, a chain of retail stores, which was eventually sold to a larger retail chain.  After that I didn’t do anything for a while, until around fifteen years ago when I decided that I wanted to work in retail again.  I then worked for several stores, and for a museum.  Around two years ago, working wasn’t fun anymore, and since then I have gone back to not doing anything.


VR: Your educational background?

RP: My education began at a school called The School For Nursery Years (now called The Center For Early Education),  It was a “Progressive” school.  I never have been a “Progressive” and I got thrown out of that school.  I had lunch near there a few months ago and I had my friend take my picture standing in front of the school.  As I am taller now and no longer have blond hair, no one at the school recognized me (although there probably isn’t anyone working there now who was working there in 1949). After that, I was able to continue my education for many years, and got thrown out of only one other school.


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

RP: As I was a horrid child, I thought that it was best not to add any more horrid children to the population, particularly since nearly all the girls I have known were also horrid children when they were young, so we were almost certain to have truly horrid little children.


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

RP: My Father had grown up when the Prince Of Wales (later the Duke Of Windsor) was setting the style for young men, and my Father continued to dress in the style of the former Prince Of Wales, except that my Father always wore Borsalino hats.  My Father always wore white-on-white shirts that he had made by a shirtmaker.  He always wore shirts with collar stays and cuff links, and he once asked me if the Brooks Brothers oxford cloth button-down shirts that I wore were a little stiff or heavy.  That was the only discussion that my Father and I ever had about what I was wearing.

My younger brother never said anything about what I was wearing.  He now lives in London and New York.  The last time that he was here and we went to dinner, he didn’t say anything about my Gryffindor tie, and I didn’t say anything about his black shoes with tan trousers and a blue blazer.  I’ve seem him on television at awards shows and in photographs at the openings of his shows wearing a very nice double-breasted dinner jacket, but I’ve never said anything about it to him.


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

RP: Around once or twice a year, I still go for a ride on a train.  My friend and I go out for lunch, and since she worked in fashion publishing and later dressing people in show business, and since I worked in retail, we swan around looking in shops to see what’s new and interesting.  We like going into shops and talking to people who are still working in retail.  We take pictures of each other standing next to things, sitting on things, or eating things, which we to show to our friends and relatives so that they know that we are still up and around. We always seem to be having a better time than anyone else that we see when we are out.


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

RP: Since I started picking out my own clothes, I have almost always got most of my clothes at Brooks Brothers, which was located upstairs in an office building in downtown Los Angeles when I first started shopping there.  Many of the things that I wear now are the things that I got at Brooks Brothers in the sixties and seventies. I have looked just about the same my entire life.


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

RP: I have always just gone into a store, looked around, and got things that I liked.


VR: When did you first find Styleforum, and what has kept you active over the years?

RP: I don’t remember exactly when I first looked at Styleforum, and I looked at Styleforum a while before I joined.  I like seeing what actual people all over the world are wearing and I am very impressed by the people who take the time and the trouble to take and post pictures.


VR: How would you describe your style?

RP: I have always thought (as do most of my friends) that it’s English style, but people in England (and the rest of the world) think it’s American style.


VR: Which tailors or RTW makers do you favour and why?

RP: Brooks Brothers before their unbroken series of very unfortunate ownership changes was my favorite.   Anyone who is curious about what went wrong with the entire upscale fashion industry might want to read, “Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster”, by Dana Thomas (Penguin Press, New York, 2007).


VR: Have you any particular style or cut philosophy behind your items?

RP: I don’t think so.  I’ve always worn the same clothes.  In many ways, the changes in men’s fashions in the fifty years between 1965 and 2015 was almost as great (and maybe in  some ways greater) than it was in the fifty years between 1790 and 1840.  Sometimes I think that I am like some of the characters in H. Rider Haggard’s Victorian novels, who got their clothes in when they were younger in the Georgian era, and are still wearing their Georgian clothing in the Victorian era.


VR: Who or what inspires you?

RP: I’ve always just done what I wanted.


VR: What’s your definition of style?

RP: It seems as if, for the first time in history, there is a universal world wide style for all sexes and ages consisting of tennis shoes, jeans (or short pants), back packs, ball caps (worn indoors and outdoors), and tee shirts, which almost all people wear wherever they go and whatever they do.  Any other style seems to be a relic of a time that has gone and will never come back.


VR: Finally, what can Keikari’s readers learn from traditional American dress?

RP: Probably the same things that they can learn from looking at dinosaur bones, seeing what’s left of a time that has passed forever.  When I was young, everyone looked like me.  Now, very few people still look like me.  Eventually, probably no one will look like me.  Some time in the future traditional American prep-ivy-trad style will be as rare as knee breeches, tricorn hats, and powdered hair are now.

Photos: Roycru and mystery photographer

Interview with Wale Soluade from A Curated Man


December 15, 2014 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?
WS: I am 31 and work for a financial service organization within Human Resources, managing one of our corporate programs.

VR: Your educational background?
WS: My educational background is focused on business, with undergraduate degrees in management and finance as well as a master’s degree in business administration.

VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
WS: I have been married for five years now and have no children yet. My wife is my biggest motivation for everything that I do. Her smile when I get dressed to leave for the office in the morning encourages me as she takes pride in my sense of style. She is quite stylish herself, so compliments from her make my day.

VR:…and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
WS: Both of my parents were my first experiences with style. I still have many memories of visiting the tailor shop with my dad and watching him get measured for various items, so it was almost expected that my siblings and I would develop our own personal sense of style early on. I have a younger sister who is a Certified Public Accountant and a younger brother who is an attorney. My brother is probably more into style than my sister is, but they are both well-dressed individuals

VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides classic apparel?
WS: When I was much younger, I developed a passion for all things aviation-related and could spend hours at the airport watching planes take off and land. To this day, flying is one of my favorite things to do. I am also an avid collector of Lego City sets and just recently completed collecting all of the airport/airplane sets from the ‘90s and 2000s. My wife and I are great fans of the arts and spend quite a bit of time at museums and the theater.

VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?
WS: I first truly became interested in style about five years ago. As I progressed in my career, attire-wise I was doing enough to meet the requirements. I wore a suit, shirt and tie to work everyday but never really gave any thought to fit or fabric. I bought cheap and fast, which I now know cost me so much when I look over that time span. When I was even younger than that, I bought whatever was fashionable based on magazines and television instead of understanding why. What I eventually learned was how transient fashion is. I can’t think of a single item I purchased when I was much younger that I still own now. One day I had the realization that I wanted to dress in a way that I could look back at photos of me and not seem dated, kind of how my father dresses. I then turned my sights on classic style, researching how men dressed as far back as the early 1900s.

VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, talks with salesmen or somewhere else?
WS: My knowledge has truly come from all over the place. I have spent time talking with older gentlemen, including my tailor who has decades of experience in classic tailoring, having worked in the age when there were actually men’s shops in department stores. He has seen so many fashions in men’s clothing come and go. I also continue to read any and all books on menswear that I can get my hands on. I actually keep a copy of Bernhard Roetzel’s A Guy’s Guide to Style on my nightstand which my wife makes fun of me about. It’s one of the quickest and most concise reads on men’s style. Alan Flusser’s various books have also been valuable reading. Finally, the Internet is a great resource providing access to a wealth of information.

VR: When did you decide to set up your own site, and what goals did you set for yourself in the beginning?
WS: I decided to set up my own website about two years ago after a long conversation with a few friends who were getting to the same place I was when I decided to improve my style. My goal at the time was to take the information I was coming across and the things I was learning and curate the information in one place. My friends shared with me that as they were looking to improve their style, the biggest challenge they were coming up against was knowing what applied to “real” people versus bloggers, stylists or magazine models. For example, seeing a look in a magazine that they really like but then finding out that the suit was $6,000 was intimidating for someone who was considering their first made to measure suit. I set out to show that in the maelstrom of marketing and information about menswear, there was still a way for guys taking that first step to get some clear direction.

VR: Which tailors or RTW makers do you favour and why?
WS: Corneliani is one of my favorite RTW makers. My shoulders have a slight slope to them, and I have found that their jackets, aside from the incredible workmanship, fit me like they were made for me. Considering that I can sometimes be impatient when it comes to things like waiting for a made to measure suit, this is a huge positive factor. I am also a fan of Suitsupply because they do a good job of taking the classics and updating them to give them a bit of edge by playing with cuts and fabrics. I appreciate being able to get a staple navy wool single breasted suit and a plaid alpaca double-breasted suit under the same roof at what I consider fairly reasonable prices.

VR: Have you any particular style or cut philosophy behind your items?
WS: I’m not sure I would necessarily call it a philosophy, but I do believe in being very comfortable in my clothes. My style continues to evolve and as that happens, I’m taking more risks. The one principle that doesn’t change is that of fit. It’s important to learn what works for your body style and go with that. So, for example, I look for a natural shoulder in my jackets because that’s what looks best on me.

VR: Why should Keikari’s readers have a look at your site?
WS: There is a lot of information out there on the Internet when it comes to menswear. My site focuses on taking that information and only putting the things that we as men should know in front of my readers. The information is presented from the perspective of a man who, like most of his readers, gets up and goes to work everyday and not solely as a style or fashion blogger. My site covers everything from caring for your clothes to a man’s relationship with his tailor to understanding the difference between Goodyear-welted and glued shoes.

VR: Who or what inspires you?
WS: My inspiration is my wife. Her style is very non-traditional and bold as she combines colors and textures in ways that leave me asking, “How did she come up with that?”

VR: What’s your definition of style?
WS: My definition of style is that it’s something intensely personal. I believe each person develops their own style with the passage of time and for me, that is still happening. Style should be driven by what inspires you and what works for you and not the pages of a magazine or a label.
VR: Finally, how would you describe the Afro-American style of your home state? I trust Sunday Best is still the done thing?
WS: This is an interesting question for me. I was born in Nigeria and was fortunate enough to travel around the world growing up, spending some time in Europe. I moved to the United States for college and settled in St. Louis after meeting my wife. Located in the Midwest, I find St. Louis quite interesting as while there are definitely a lot of stylish men, the state in general has struck me as being behind when it comes to men’s style. While I do believe that at predominantly African-American churches members dress at a much higher level, that’s not the case at the church I go to which has a large number of younger people and college students who do not appear to feel a need to dress up.

Photos: A Curated Man

Tony Slinger Footwear


December 15, 2014 by Ville Raivio

[Long Edit] Handmade Yorkshire – Tony Slinger Footwear from Christopher White on Vimeo.

The most beautiful 21st century tweed ?


December 11, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Some two years ago I saw a tweed I haven’t been able to forget. It was colourful, coarse, thick, warm, and beautiful — as a proper British tweed should be, but it also had a bit of something else. I cannot name this element, so it can only be that quinta essentia men found some centuries ago, but forgot as science obliterated pondering for pondering’s sake. This tweed is Kirkton 551 from Lovat Mills and I’m calling it the most beautiful tweed of this, our 21st century.


Head over to The Journal of Style for the full monty:

What is fashion?


December 10, 2014 by Ville Raivio

“What is Fashion? Is it not a persuasion that nothing was ever right till the present moment, and that the present moment will immediately be as wrong as all its predecessors?”

~ Horace Walpole

A visit to Norton&Sons


December 10, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Fred Astaire in his own words


December 8, 2014 by Ville Raivio

“[I am] bad-tempered, impatient, hard to please, critical…At the risk of disillusionment, I must admit that I don`t like top hats, white ties and tails. I am always arriving at dinner parties not wearing a dinner jacket when I should, or vice versa…The carefree, the best-dressed, the debonair Fred Astaire! What a myth! My hats are too small, my coats are too short, my walk is loose. I am full of faults. I have a sense of humor, but it won’t always work for me. I am always blowing my top over the wrong things…I tell you, I am a very annoying guy.”

~ Fred Astaire in his autobiography Steps in Time

The Effect of Appearance on First Impressions


December 8, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Back in 2011, professor Karen J. Pine, Professor Ben (C) Fletcher, and Neil Howlett from the University of Hertfordshire collaborated with Mathieson&Brooke Tailors Ltd. in an interesting study on the effect of appearance on first impressions. Among the three things tested, the first hypothesis argued that people make rapid judgments of others based on clothing alone, and the second that a minor manipulation of the cut of the man’s suit will influence these rapid judgments. The results tell us that the man was rated more positively on all five attributes when wearing a made-to-measure suit instead of an off-the-peg one.

The cut makes the man, and some men make the cut.

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