April 27, 2013 by Ville Raivio
‘I am 25 and I am working as a freelance journalist with a focus on fashion and lifestyle. I have studied linguistics and theology in Münich, Germany, and made my first foray into writing while still at university. I have been into classic menswear since high school, so writing about menswear was a natural fit for me. I am living together with my longtime girlfriend, who, although working in a totally different field, definitely shares my passion for style and has a very keen eye for details of a good suit, for instance. She also enjoys wearing quality clothing. My parents never had a thing for quality clothing. My grandfather was very keen on buying only the best he could afford, though, so maybe that has influenced me more than I would care to admit.
I have always liked fashion and clothing. At one point, however, I decided for myself that fashion, as the great designers nowadays are exemplifying it, is not something I can totally identify with. I became fascinated with the idea of clothes made for the individual, to his own need and taste –- clothes which are made to last and age beautifully. Apart from its handwork, the grace of age which a well-made bespoke suit exudes is still the thing that interests me the most in menswear. I tend to suck up knowledge wherever I can get a hold of it, so, naturally, I tried to gather every bit of information on the topic I could find – and I still do. However, what helped me understand menswear the most was, and still is, talking to tailors, shirtmakers and shoemakers worldwide, watching them do their work, asking questions whenever possible. This way, I can see how the things one reads in books, magazines and on the internet translate to the real world.
I would describe my own style as eclectic, yet subtle. I like to mix vintage accessories with clothes which were made for me. I also tend to wear iterations of a similar look or combination over and over again, varying the overall colour scheme or degree of formality of certain details. Every piece in my wardrobe gets worn, I am not a collector of clothing for exhibition’s sake. When it comes to tailors, there are simply too many to name a favourite. Some of the best artisans I know are not as well-known as the great names in the business, yet produce outstanding quality. Among the more known names I admire for their overall style and silhouette are Liverano & Liverano in Florence, Anderson & Sheppard in London and Rudolf Scheer in Vienna. I honestly don’t buy a lot of RTW clothing, so many of my favourite makers specialize in accessories. I like Drake’s for their no-nonsense ties, Jungmann & Neffe for their exhaustive selection of bow-ties and Prantl for their fine leather goods.
The idea of a practical and actually useful guide to menswear had been stuck in my head for a few years now. In 2011, I discussed my plans with my publishers, C.H. Beck, who were very supportive right from the beginning. I want to offer a simple approach to clothing, even for guys who are really not that into these matters. We all need to dress, after all – how we do it is up the the individual. My book focuses on a number of classic pieces as the foundation of great style, explaining their historical background, construction and fit guidelines all at once, without over-explaining and trying to bring across everything there is to know about the matter. For many men, knowing only so much is really all they need in order to dress consistently well.
[As for my hobbies] there are many, (un)fortunately. As I already said, I tend to do things whole-heartedly no matter the subject, so many of my hobbies have grown into everyday habits. For instance, I am a passionate tea drinker. I have a vast selection of japanese green tea, chinese oolong and many different pieces of tea ware to accompany the respective tea styles. I also love writing with pen and paper and have gathered a small collection of fountain pens, mostly from the german manufacturer Pelikan. Don’t even get me started on inks, paper or even wine, music, fine dining…
I wish more men would realise that quality is much, much more important than quantity. I’d rather have only one good suit, one piece of well-made knitwear, one pair of quality denim instead of amassing endless racks filled with inferior clothing. At the same time, good taste is not a matter of money. Do your research, know the details, then go out and buy the best you can afford and you are well set. Don’t fall into the trap of collecting heaps of clothing only for your viewing pleasure – use your clothes, buy wisely, know your subject. Also, dress, but don’t play dress up. Wear what suits your needs, mind and surroundings, not what people expect you to wear.’
Pictures: © Florian S. Küblbeck