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