All posts by Menswear Style

Interview with Nikhil Sharma of Lacquer Embassy

Interview with Nikhil Sharma of Lacquer Embassy

The Lacquer Embassy brand is the brainchild of Nikhil Sharma, a designer-come-stylist-come-consultant and a previous MWS contributing writer, producing exquisite silk pocket squares and shirts. 

I caught up with Nikhil to discuss the Lacquer Embassy, his experiences in fashion and the rather unique pocket square shoots! 

What made you want to start Lacquer Embassy? 

“I guess I managed to pack it all up as fashion in today’s world is so interdisciplinary. I worked as a menswear designer for the British high street for quite a number of years after my Masters in Fashion. I started working as a stylist alongside as I not only loved to put looks together for menswear editorials, but also to create the concept, the mood and the set. Putting creative energies with likeminded photographers and having a vision was so different from designing clothes. Gradually the work got appreciated and I managed to create some good menswear visuals with some amazing teams. I also started working as a freelance menswear consultant for a trend forecasting agency in London. An amalgamation of having worked in the corporate world in London and India for more than eight years made me reach a point where I was ready to set up a small niche brand of my own. My label, Lacquer Embassy, was born out of a desire to realise the aesthetics I have cultivated throughout my travels, life experiences, and my own experiments in style. I have started from scratch with just a few tools of attitude, vision and honesty which are supported by a design centric approach in every aspect of the brand.”

Interview with Nikhil Sharma of Lacquer Embassy

What inspired you to go into this area of the industry? 

“I initially wanted to study architecture. Having also applied to a fashion school, my portfolio was appreciated and I was given an offer to join. I decided to give it a shot even though this wasn’t the original plan. Since I started I had an inclination towards menswear. I was not interested in women’s clothes at all; I think it came with an ease for me to design what I would wear.” 

What sets Lacquer Embassy apart from the rest? 

“Lacquer Embassy combines classic influences with modern culture focusing heavily on attention to detail and minimalist silhouettes. The label aims to encompass the fusion of relaxed elegance of youth and luxury with a definite sense of modern aesthetics. The designs are brought about from an uncomplicated perspective. I have always had a strong graphic sensibility since I started studying fashion which comes through in my brand now. There is an emphasis on prints and patterns, while still maintaining fairly simple tailored silhouettes so they are very wearable. The aesthetics of the brand fits in with our contemporary lifestyles, where laid back and unfussy outfits are a necessity, even during the most semi-formal occasions. I think these days, formal and casual have become interchangeable in the modern world.”

Interview with Nikhil Sharma of Lacquer Embassy

How did you come up with the unique lookbook concept? 

“This is where working and exploring different disciplines of the creative part of fashion has helped me. I designed the pocket squares and then styled the entire shoot. Design and good aesthetics play a key role for me in every aspect of my brand and lifestyle. Every little detail from the packaging to the product to the styling are all equally important. Also, since I don’t have major investments in the brand it helps to do it all, though I am lucky to have found a photographer who shares the same vision as me.”

What does the future hold for Lacquer Embassy? 

“Our stuff has been ordered and worn by guys in Australia, Singapore, London, New York, Hong Kong and India. It makes me happy that the label is worn by metropolitan gents all around the world and not bound to a certain region. The vision is to have more men wear the label all across the world – anyone (regardless of age) who appreciates good design and strives for a better quality of life. The brand embodies the sartorial style of the modern jet setting gentleman and I would like to continue working on it. I would also like to offer more categories and services gradually. I think that menswear is very exciting nowadays, as the realm is getting so creative. It has entered a very dynamic phase and hopefully my brand can contribute to it in its own small way.”

Nike FuelBand SE METALUXE collection

Nike FuelBand SE METALUXE collection

Available in limited quantities, the Silver Nike+ FuelBand SE features a stainless steel clasp which represents the intersection of sport and style. 

The striking Silver version follows the launch of the previous colour options which included Rose Gold, Black, Volt, Pink Foil and Total Crimson launched in October 2013. 

The band tracks all-day movement using NikeFuel — the universal way to measure movement for all kinds of activities. It is uniquely designed to measure whole-body movement no matter of age, weight or gender… it simply tracks a user’s active life.

A number of new innovations designed to motivate users to achieve their goals were also launched alongside this release such as Groups, Bluetouth 4.0 app connection and Sessions.

Nike FuelBand SE METALUXE collection

Sessions – ‘3.2.1. GO! Sessions’ are a way to track specific activities throughout the day. Going out for a jog? That’s a session. Hitting the weights at the gym? That’s a session. Some of favourites on the vast session list includes Clubbing, Flying a Kite, Ironing, and Gaming. 

Win the Hour – ‘Win the Hour’ is your motivation partner. It tracks how much movement is accumulated at each hour throughout the day and encourages people to move more often (5mins continuous per hour) by prompting users to move if they’re missing their goal. 

Fuel Rate – ‘Fuel Rate’ is a new feature that tracks the rate at which NikeFuel is being earned. The Fuel Rate is measured as NikeFuel earned per minute and is a great way to see the intensity of your movement to get the right information needed to move better toward your goals. The Fuel Rate is viewed as a numerical readout in real time on the Nike+ FuelBand App and uses coloirs from red to green to simply indicate how you’re doing.

Nike FuelBand SE METALUXE collection

Groups – people like to work out and share accomplishments and competition with friends (or annoy them on Facebook by showing off). To help this process, Groups functionality and improved social sharing tools have been added.  

Double Tap for Time – never search for the time again. This simple feature allows you to access the time instantly at two touches of a button. 

Milestones – for more fun, new Milestones have been added – like one million or two million NikeFuel banners – and a host of new milestone achievements to win. Now users earn Achievements not just for their NikeFuel total, but also for Sessions, Fuel Rate, streaks, and hours won. Achievements are tracked in the new Games section and also unlock new Achievements at each Milestone reached.

Tom Oscars Ford

Tom Oscars Ford

As we prepare to take the proverbial tinsel of the Academy Awards tree, we should take a minute to reflect on the gifts that we received. 

Whilst there is little to nothing that can top the gift of John Travolta’s lack of ability to command any language that this planet has ever heard, there is one other who can expect a lot of thank-you cards. 

I am, of course, talking about Tom Ford (or as John Travolta might call him, Psalm Fudgard). The men of the Oscars had turned up their Red Carpet game, but those in Tom Ford were simply a class above the rest. 

Best dressed of the evening in my opinion was Brad Pitt (Ahmad Shmit, if you’re reading John) and, whilst he didn’t top Jolie (for sheer beauty), he did rock Tom Ford. In about as classic a black tie as you can get, Pitt exuded class and kept it as sharp as you like with his grooming.

Tom Oscars Ford

Top contender for the Best Ginger Beard Award was Michael Fassbender (Michael Fassbender is actually how John Travolta says “Titus Bramble“). 

Fassbender was unfortunate in the sense that Jared Leto happened to put in the performance of a lifetime in the same year that he did. Another year and Fassbender would likely have won. However, Michael, you can rest assured that you beat Leto to the pip on the red carpet.

Tom Oscars Ford

Finally, Bradley ‘Just-seems-happy-to-be-there’ Cooper. Whilst Cooper was never really a contender for his nomination this year (or last year for that matter), his Tom Ford number, along with his generally glorious disposition and pivotal role in Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie, meant that he could at least take style and likability home with him at the end of the night (that and Suki Waterhouse). 

What have we learned for next time? Whatever happens, if you’re going to rock anything, make it a Tom Ford.

Converse Sneakers Clash Party

Converse Sneakers Clash Party

In celebration of the launch for the Chuck 70 All Star collection, the brand collaborated with DFA records for the creative ‘Sneakers Clash’ party last week. 

Held at the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes… on the outside this looked like none other than an abandoned warehouse, but you were soon greeted by a very impressive piece of artwork “Wall of Clash” by two street artists brought together to bring a lifeless wall to life, through their clashing styles and set to be London’s biggest mural!

Converse Sneakers Clash Party

Following the launch, Converse are set for the Sneakers Clash series to continue across some of London’s most dull walls for artists to take part in 3 battles – may the best painter win! 

With the theme of vibrant colours in mind the creative battle continued into the night. A booth was dedicated to create custom made DFA vinyl sleeves for guests to take home with them; not to mention the cool marbled effect pink vinyls that were inside! 

A little on Sneakers Clash itself; it was inspired by the Spring 2014 Converse All Star sneaker collection. Which features bold colours, striking prints and silhouettes to represent a youthful vibe. A great way to brighten up the spring season!

Converse Sneakers Clash Party

Converse All Star Chuck ’70 is released with two of the first prints ever seen on a Chuck Taylor All Star
sneaker, with striking camouflage and zebra patterns. They are also available in six of the original 1972 colours, all with heavy grade canvas, a smaller toe box, reinforced canvas. 

The party had a great atmosphere and vibe while guests enjoyed upbeat music all evening, some yummy food and amazing (and strong!) cocktails. We hope the next one is just as much fun!

Buyer Briefing with Gavin Crossland

Buyer Briefing with Gavin Crossland

It’s just about time to leave the trusty scarf hanging on the back of the door, fill your lungs with fresh March air and throw yourself at Spring – perfect timing for getting yourself kitted out with a brand new seasonal wardrobe. 

Pulling together a capsule wardrobe from our SS’14 Collections, I’ve drawn up a list of my personal favourites from the season to give you a steer in the right direction of essential “must-haves” for your Spring and Summer style. 

At this time in the season we’re looking at the transitional styles. Making the break from the heavy quilted jackets and denims, shifting towards more of a lightweight but functional wardrobe.

Buyer Briefing with Gavin Crossland

CP Company take the mantel for me in the outerwear category, with their innovative garment dyed hooded jacket, iconic in it’s own right, this jacket bridges the gap between sheer quality of product and style, displaying the classic CP branding sparingly but with finesse.

Buyer Briefing with Gavin Crossland

Any of the overshirts from our SS’14 Stone Island collection bring about a fresh new edit on their signature brand style, underpinned with extensive research and development into their fabrics and processes to make them lightweight and breathable for the warmer months. 

If I had to pick one though, it would be this striking deep red garment dyed overshirt. Wear as a lightweight outer layer with a casual polo and a pair of jeans, paired up with sneakers for a casual look.

Buyer Briefing with Gavin Crossland

Next up is a collaborative piece from Fred Perry and Sir Bradley Wiggins. Wiggo has some great style accents that, along with the Fred Perry basic style, compliments this range perfectly, blending culture and fashion for a truly inspired result. 

A favourite for me, the medievil blue modernist zipped sweater. Offering an up to date take on the mod-era style, this piece harks back to a golden age of music and culture, whilst keeping up to date with the modern man, a real modern classic.

Buyer Briefing with Gavin Crossland

Paul Smith is a relatively new brand for Woodhouse, but they’ve stormed our SS’14 collections with ranges that span from their accessories, swim, shoe and jeans ranges right through to PS Paul Smith, a smarter, more mature collection for a style conscious gent. 

A definite one to watch for the season, we’ve got high expectations about this brand. A particular favourite of mine from them is the slim fit raw denim jean. How can you go wrong with a great pair of top brass denims.

Buyer Briefing with Gavin Crossland

Last but by no means least, my out and out highlight from our footwear ranges this season has got to be the 999’s from the New Balance iconic Barbershop Pack, which we released for the Spring/Summer collections last month in our Notting Hill Store. 

These are a shining beacon of what it means to draw inspiration from a part of history that has gone hand in hand with mens clothing pretty much since time began. 

Influenced by the barber shop, this range features unique detailing which includes barber-themed striped aglets, chequered insoles and striking colourways, perfect for statement style in the warmer months, not to mention packing in some serious kerb appeal.

White Hot Oscars

White Hot Oscars

The Oscars entrance carpet may have been Red, but this didn’t stop some of our favourite leading film men from wearing white. 

The Oscars took place recently in LA and I must say this was one of the best awards shows this season. Host Ellen Degenneres kept the laughs coming all night long combined with a few outfit changes. 

From serving pizza to the audience to the most retweeted sponsored selfie of all time, Ellen was a hit, but back to the topic at hand… The ladies gave us lots of razzle dazzle, but so did the guys. 

Instead of doing the signature black tuxedo with a white shirt, some of my favourite on-screen faces pulled out their white tuxedo jackets and switched it up. This year was the white hot Oscars! 

White Hot Oscars

First up, E! Red Carpet host Ryan Seacrest definitely got the white tuxedo jacket memo. Seacrest paired his white tuxedo jacket with black trousers, a white dress shirt and a black bowtie. 

Next up is the always smooth Matthew McConaughey. Matthew has been killing the Red Carpet this award season. Lots of great looks, and how can we not mention his stunning wife Camilla. On the night he wore a white tuxedo jacket, black waistcoat, black dress trousers and a black bowtie.

White Hot Oscars

Last but definitely not least, and My Favourite Jared Leto. Jared’s looks have been superb this award season too. 

He knows how to switch up his style and make it look effortless. Jared wore a white Saint Laurent tuxedo jacket paired with a killer dark red bowtie, white dress shirt and black trousers. He nailed this look!!! 

Ellen also got in on the all white action during one of her outfit changes too. Serving Pizza wearing nothing but white was risky though.

Win a 3 month Flower Subscription for Mothers Day!

Win a 3 month Flower Subscription for Mothers Day

Mother’s day is Sunday 30th March. Write it down chaps, and don’t forget it! Mother’s day is a tricky one actually. Is it a significant enough day to pay her a visit?

Sure Christmas day and Birthdays are, but what about this day? It’s a bit like the parents anniversary date where you’re expected to get a card but there’s no need to drive across the county to be there on the day.

However, with all these great points to get you out of visiting the parents, it doesn’t mean you can’t put a massive smile on your mums face.

Win a 3 month Flower Subscription for Mothers Day

Ever wondered which flowers are suitable for Mother’s Day – Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Lilies, Chrysanthemums? This is where Bloom & Wild come in.

We trialled their service over Valentine’s Day and basically a long letter box sized box gets delivered full of flowers all neatly packed inside. There’s instructions and some sort of flower solution (probably a flowers version of a roast dinner followed by apple crumble and custard).

What is very impressive is the volume of flowers – there’s loads! We’d have been equally impressed with less. Also they lasted for a full 2 weeks before they started to go brown and wilt.

Win a 3 month Flower Subscription for Mothers Day

So, not only could you order your mum some luxury flowers without moving from your desk, you could do this for free! Yep, even better… your Mum will be super happy on Mother’s Day for free, AND happy for the following 2 months afterwards.

We’ve teamed up with Bloom & Wild to give away a 3 months subscription to their Chic & Wild collection worth £50! Just Click Here and fill out the form to enter and we’ll pick a winner on the 20th March at 4pm. Good Luck!

Street and Skate Style

Street and Skate Style

As a another season rolls in, so too does a multitude of new labels and styles for the street and skate scene. The new comes in and the old gets thrown out. 

With all the new skate shoes, skateboards, decks, and hats, clear lines are drawn between “what’s in” and “what’s out.” But the thing that most people forget to realise, is that style has less to do with the colour and design of your shirt, your trucks, wheels, or board and more to do with the attitude behind it. Style is all about attitude. It can’t be faked.

Your attitude will set you apart from the very crowded street and skate scene. What it boils down to, is going against the grain. Conformity sets in, and it takes style and swagger to show the crowd what is really in. 

One of the all-time successful street and skate brands is Z-Flex UK. Always trendsetters for what is in, Z-Flex is the perfect example of being unintentional pioneers through an attitude that always sought to stand apart from the crowd. 

The worldwide respected skate brand was founded and birthed not through any detailed business plan, but rather from a group of guys that were always challenging the status quo.

Street and Skate Style

So, asking the question of why it seems that some people just have “it” and others just stench of phoniness, can be answered by learning from folks like the Z-Boys. 

The cult following that the Z-Boys constantly had allowed them to dictate what was considered in and out, and that boiled down to their attitude and vibe. 

And, the right attitude and style has always been connected with being organic. Nothing contrived nor manufactured succeeds on the street. The greatest artists and brands in the world stand apart from the crowd for this very reason; that element of being genuine is the greatest form of marketing. You want to be “in?” Be organic.

Street and Skate Style

Legendary skater, Tony Alva, who was part of the early Z-Boys skateboarding team talks about this very attitude that allowed them to dominate the scene and create a label that has always been seen as “in” since 1976. 

Malibu had always been seen as the “groovy and mellow” place for surfers to be. But when the lads from Venice and Santa Monica came to Malibu, they shook up the joint with their aggressive “I don’t give a @#$%” attitude. And it was that mentality that Alva and the other founders took from the surf straight onto the skate parks. 

It did not take long for the Z-Boys to develop a mass following which developed into an award winning documentary. Alva reflects, “We were like a hockey team going into a figure skating competition.” That is style. It is the kind of attitude that will keep any street and skate label in the “What’s In” box. In their own words, “we were always the raddest, we were always the fasted, we were always the baddest, that’s why Z still rules to this day.

So as another season rolls in and a new set of trendy street gear hits the streets, keep in mind that what’s in and what’s out will have less to do with the fabric of the clothing but the attitude that is behind the label.

Discover Two Square

Discover Two Square

Lads, the weekend is upon us! We nine-to-fivers rejoice, flooding the streets in jubilant ecstasy like the mad, raving weekend warriors we really are. You have a to-do list set before you. Not like the ones that await you come Monday morning in your cramped office cubicle. 

No. This to-do list involves 1) hanging with the mates 2) pulling a fine lass 3) downing a few pints 4) catching the game on TV 5) getting out into the open air. Or something like it. And by golly, why shouldn’t you fulfill all those things? The only speed bump holding you back is your gear. 

Time to be the alpha male you aspire to be and do it in style.

Enter Two Square. Imagine having a virtual BFF that will never steer you wrong when it comes to doling out advice on looking your best. This fashion brand, where one Londonien (Steve Atkinson) and one Ozzie (Jeremy Remeeus) collaborated on a fashion line for the modern male, IS your BFF. Trust me. 

And if we take a few pages from their spangly, magnificent playbook, here are a few rules to live by when conquering your weekend of freedom like the Spartan you are:

Discover Two Square

1) Button Up, It’s Cold Outside. Maybe you’ve heard the old jazz standard. Maybe not. But in any case before Spring is sprung, keep your nipply bits warm from the bite of the unrelenting cold. You’re probably thinking about rocking old reliable: jeans and a tee. Wrong. 

You’ll need a stunner: a jacket that will set you apart from the rest of the wolf pack. Because that’s what you’ll be doing come closing time at the office: running with the wolves. The Envy bomber jacket is every bit of stunner and some shiny bits of urban and cool. You can still look professional throwing it on over your button down work shirt or look hip and laidback by coupling it with your favorite v-neck tee. 

Bombers come in all shapes and sizes, most of them holdovers from the RUN DMC era of 80s cool. The Envy reimagines the bomber for today’s male who’s ready to hit the Fleece and Firkin for a few lagers and a game of snooker and leave with that stellar blond from Manchester. Sweet, smooth sleeves and wool twill are the chemical combination that makes this number rock.

Discover Two Square

2) Lumber, Jack! That’s code for getting fitted in a Marker, a long sleeve yarn dye check shirt, worn by the kings of the outback and Appalachia. Yeah, we’re talking a checked shirt or as we call them in the hood, lumberjacks. Lumberjacks chop down trees, yell “timber”, and look all kinds of badass in the offing. 

You’ll do the same with your sleeves rolled up to show off those forearms you’ve been improving in the gym and the opened collar to reveal just enough chest hair to send out a mating call to eligible bachelorettes. Some of our fashion faves have sported the look with suit jackets, shorts, or whatever feeling hits them: Pharrell Williams, Nick Wooster, Marc Jacobs. 

This is the shirt you’ll need to run wild on your weekend, kick around the football a bit, or drive out west with Penny or Gladys or Dora on your arm until the fuel runs out. Doesn’t matter how you rock the look. Just rock the look.

Discover Two Square

3) Be a Heartbreaker. You’ve heard the saying, “Play it mean, and keep ‘em keen.” That’s your mantra for your night out in the club. You don’t want to look desperate or clingy. Men and women alike are drawn to characters who are assertive and unflinching, strong and unwavering. 

When time comes for you to bust out your best dance moves or moonwalk over to the bar, you should be doing so in a pair of skinny chinos. They’re the slick cousin of the skinny jean. Everybody’s wearing the skinny jean tonight. But only the VIPs knew to be the standout in the crowd and rock the chino. 

Two Square’s appropriately named Heartbreaker is just that: the standout. It’s a tapered leg with a skinny fit bound to show off your quads and assets. And it looks great with just about any sort of garnish: fat laced Adidas or leather chaussures de ville, button down slim fit suit jackets or urban bombers. The choice is yours. 

Now that you’ve gotten your gear sorted, go forth and conquer that weekend of mayhem that’s been calling your name since Monday morning’s first expense report hit your desk!

Just Farah Laugh

Just Farah Laugh

As part of it’s Citizens of Farah initiative, menswear label, Farah, takes their citizens on the road launching its very first comedy night, ‘Just Farah Laugh’. 

Taking place on 19 March 2014 in Manchester, the event will include an exclusive performance from top comedian Iain Stirling.
Hosted at the renowned Kosmonaut in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, the ‘Just Farah Laugh’ event will be a night of pure entertainment and laughter, showcasing some of the best in British comedy talent. 

Supported by up-and-coming act, Alex Smith, the BAFTA nominated presenter and Chortle nominated comedian has recently performed all around the country and boasted for his star performance on Russell Kane’s latest tour. 

Along with the comic performances the night will also include a set from DJ Len pre and post comedy show.

Just Farah Laugh

Tickets are only available via a competition on the Farah website and only those who sign up by 10 March 2014 will be eligible to win a pair of tickets. 

The ticket will offer free entry to the event and will be redeemable for two complimentary drinks on the night and an exclusive Farah goody bag including free Farah product and exclusive discounts available at Farah.co.uk. 

Alongside the event Farah will also be running increased student promotions throughout March 2014 offering 20% discount at online for all UNiDAYS members.
Places for the ‘Just Farah Laugh’ event are limited and winners will be announced by 12 March 2014.