All posts by Menswear Style

Buyer Briefing with Sally Taylor

Buyer Briefing with Sally Taylor

I studied graphic design at Central St Martins and then did a post grad in footwear design at Cordwainers [London College of Fashion] before Starting my career at Kurt Geiger working on ladies KG and young designer brands. 

I then moved to LK Bennett as women’s footwear buyer and In 2007 I moved to River Island as senior buyer on men’s footwear. I then joined Debenhams in May 2012 as Senior Buyer on men’s shoes and I really enjoy my job here at Debenhams since everyday is different. 

I am lucky that the range I buy is very broad and diverse covering anything from goodyear welted shoes to plimsolls. Debenhams offers one of the broadest ranges of footwear on the high-street, this includes our own label and international footwear brands which is enjoyable since we’re catering for such a vast customer base.

Buyer Briefing with Sally Taylor

J Jeans by Jasper Conran Derby shoes 

The casual element to the Jasper Conran range has been integral to the designer’s success at Debenhams and this piece of newness for SS14 bridges the formal/casual gap perfectly. The lightweight construction and tan leather make it a great style for the summer months.

Buyer Briefing with Sally Taylor

Hammond & Co by Patrick Grant Boat shoes 

Boat shoes are still a massive trend in the spring/summer 2014 season, and these Hammond & Co shoes offer the customer the classic boat shoe look whilst the suede and subtle stitch detailing offers more of a designer edge.

Buyer Briefing with Sally Taylor

Hammond & Co by Patrick Grant Plimsolls 

Taking inspiration from army service PT plimsolls, this style offers an “old school” feel that is current with today’s trends. The canvas material is lightweight and durable in the summer, and unlike most plimsolls these actually look better when slightly beaten up.

Buyer Briefing with Sally Taylor

J Jeans by Jasper Conran Backpack  

A great size to carry around during a long summer weekend, and yet light enough not to make you feel uncomfortable, this canvas backpack is bang on trend with its grey/brown colour combination and tan leather straps which give the product a premium feel.

Buyer Briefing with Sally Taylor

Hammond & Co Whitehall mac 

The textbook summer jacket, which can be worn in both formal and causal occasions. The subtle check detailing under the collar adds the classic British feel which is so important for today’s consumer.

Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green Come Together for War Child

Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green Come Together for War Child

One of the UK’s most publicised celebrity couples, Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green, today recreated an iconic image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono to showcase the launch of River Island’s new ‘Come Together’ charity t-shirt, in support of international charity War Child

The husband and wife mirror the legendary pair’s famous statement in the classic ‘Bed-In’ image of John and Yoko in the presidential suite at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel, which was used an opportunity to promote world peace and speak out against the Vietnam War. 

Millie and Professor Green’s photograph reflects on-going issues still existing today, with profits from the Come Together t-shirt donated to War Child to support its work protecting the world’s most vulnerable children from the brutal effects of war. It is an exact replica of the t-shirt which featured the “Come Together” design, originally worn by John Lennon at Cannes Film Festival in 1971. 

Millie Mackintosh commented: “It’s an honour to be involved in this campaign. The original image is one that is moving to us all, and the work that War Child does is something that we can all be inspired by. On top of that, the t-shirt is gorgeous, so I hope everyone will get behind this and wear theirs with pride!

Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green Come Together for War Child

Ben Knowles, Director of Fundraising at War Child commented: “The photograph of John and Yoko and the morals that the couple stood for are representative of the values that we continue to have today at War Child. This t-shirt continues to spread a message of peace – we hope Brits will flock to the stores to buy it so we can continue our vital work protecting innocent children caught in the middle of wars they didn’t start.” 

Professor Green commented: “It’s great to be involved in recreating such an iconic shot with Millie. The t-shirt is in aid of a fantastic cause and carries a strong message that hopefully everyone will get behind!” 

Available at selected River Island stores and available online at riverisland.com, profits from the sale of each t-shirt will be donated directly to the cause.

The Come Together logo and the rights to use John Lennon’s and Yoko Ono’s likeness for the tee shirt reproduced for this project have been donated under license by Worn Free, a California based t-shirt company that specialises in re-creating clothing that famous music legends once wore. 

Worn Free bought the original screen and rights to the 1969 design from Arnie Goodman and Rob Rose who created it the late sixties as a statement of peace. They sold shirts in Los Angeles and San Francisco to the local hippy community and their musician buddies, one of whom gave a shirt to John Lennon. The River Island design team has then delivered a contemporary tee from a cult classic.

Make Good Festival for Start Ups

Make Good Festival for Start Ups

Makegood Festival is a 3-day event celebrating culture, creativity and entrepreneurship not just within fashion but food, interiors and drinks. 

With industry speakers including the likes of Dan Herman founder of Innocent Smoothies as well as Jack Wills co-founder Rob Shaw. 

Whilst at the festival I caught up with Peter the Founder and designer of Coeur Menswear – a British luxury menswear brand who have recently styled the likes of Oliver Proudlock, Louis Smith and Conor Maynard.

Make Good Festival for Start Ups

Peter is a young and hardworking gentleman, having established the company in 2012 he also lectures at London College of fashion where he once studied himself. 

The brand is aimed at the modern day dandy, whilst keeping to the traditional gentleman accessories with a contemporary twist in bold colours and patterns. 

Coeur pride themselves on 100% silk and the fabrics are woven at England’s finest fabric mill; Vanners. On each piece they use a subtle logo and preppy stripes in woven and jacquard fabrics which makes the brand very unique. The range offers shirts, jackets and a variety of different accessories.

Make Good Festival for Start Ups

Peter is very ambitious and his brand is taking him to Paris this season to showcase his latest work along with plans to open a digitally interactive boutique in Tottenham court road in September this year – one of the first the city will see! 

On the other end of the spectrum, a brand which caught my eye was HØWL a casual/outerwear and lifestyle brand created from 4 young lads from my hometown in Buckinghamshire! 

The Scandinavian influenced brand came to light 6-8 months ago and has built a great following through their Instagram page. Here they urge followers of the brand and creative people to share their lives with other followers. 

The clothing is simple yet practical, selling mainly t-shirts and hats with some other accessories such as hats, bags and sunglasses.

Make Good Festival for Start Ups

The event was a great way to network with like-minded people and bring lots of different creative ideas together. Following the talks and speaking with the start-up brands we were able to understand just how much time and effort really goes into creating a business, we wish you all the best of luck!

3 Essential Movements to Build a Brickhouse Body

3 Essential Movements to Build a Brickhouse Body

Summer is almost upon us and maybe a few of us are quietly sulking in the shadows of their cubicle, nibbling on a donut and slurping on a diet Coke, wondering how swimsuit season snuck up on us so fast. 

If you’re dreaming of beach bathing in Ibiza or Cancun but didn’t expect to be showing up looking like the younger paunchier version of Santa Claus, you should probably look at your workout regiment to whip yourself into shape. 

Granted abs are built in the kitchen, so if your nutrition is suspect, you’ll need to tame the cookie monster that lurks inside you before you can really expect to see results. However, if what you ultimately need is a workout makeover, here are 3 essential gym moves to greatness. 

The Push Up 

This is by far the best movement there is for building a better body. You can do it anywhere: the gym, the bedroom, the middle of the road between oncoming lanes of traffic… and the variations that exist for taking it from simple to rock star are endless. 

How it’s done: 1) Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart and body in an elevated prone position. 2) Place your feet at roughly 3 to 6 inches apart. 3) Lower your body slowly to the floor with your pectorals remaining parallel to your fingers. 4) Engage your arms in the lowering of your body while keeping your back straight and core tight. 5) Engage the arms again to push back up to your starting position.   

What muscles are worked: The push up works the pectorals, the deltoids, the triceps, the biceps and the core when properly executed. Do 4 to 6 sets of 12 to 15 reps, then a final set to failure. You will definitely feel the pump.

3 Essential Movements to Build a Brickhouse Body

The Pull Up & Chin Up

Just like the push up, it doesn’t get any better than this when performing body blasting exercises. The pull up, performed with an overhand grip, and the chin up performed with an underhand grip totally blast the heads of the biceps, the lats, and the core. If you want a wide V taper back to impress all the onlookers on the beach, this is how you get it. 

How it’s done: Depending on which you prefer [underhand or overhand grip], you’ll notice more of a burn in your lats or your biceps. 1) On a chin up bar take a wide grip [this will give you “wings”], Palms should be facing towards you if you are doing a chin up and away from you if you are doing a pull up. 2) Arms fully extended, engage your core and tighten. 3) Raise your body by pulling through the arms until your chin passes the bar. Your body should remain straight. No kicking or swinging for dear life. You should feel the muscles in your back engage as well as the biceps going into work mode here. 4) Lower yourself down and repeat. 

What muscles are worked: The traps, lats, deltoids, triceps, biceps, pectorals and abdominals. Do 4 to 6 sets of 12 to 15 reps, then a final set to failure.

3 Essential Movements to Build a Brickhouse Body

The Squat 

No man should venture out into public with nice pecs and a wide back… and unsightly chicken legs. Shame on you if you thought you’d hit the gym, blast out a couple of bench presses and not touch your legs. The squat is the meat and potatoes for building the biggest muscles you have – your legs. 

How it’s done: 1) If it’s your first time at the rodeo go with no weight. If you’re a champ, add on as much weight as you can do with good form for 12 to 15 reps. If using a squat machine or a barbell, focus your eyeline directly in front of you where you’d be standing straight. Keep this head position throughout the range of movement. 2) Place your feet shoulder width apart. 3) Bar should be placed just behind the base of the neck on the top of the shoulder blades with your hands gripping the bar in an overhand position slightly wider than shoulder width. 4) Engage your core and tighten and slowly lower until your quadriceps reach a 90 degree angle, butt parallel to the floor [or as close as you can comfortably get.] 5) Engage the quadriceps to push through your feet, which should be resting flat, and straighten to standing position. 6) Do not lock out your knees on the range of motion. Repeat the process. 

What muscles are worked: the quadriceps, the glutes, the core, the back. Do 4 to 6 sets of 12 to 15 reps, then a final set to failure. 

Some variations to take you from basic to boss: For legs add ‘High Intensity Interval Training’ doing incline sprints on a treadmill or uphill sprints. When coupled with leg day, you’ll notice your quads will grow exponentially. Try tag teaming your chin up/pull up series with muscle ups. You begin with the standard pull up but essentially pull yourself past the bar and then push into an upright position. And for your pushups try adding a series of burpees, decline push ups, superman push ups, or jumping push ups. Remember form is everything to reaching your potential greatness.

Interview with Will Green of Wills

Interview with Will Green of Wills

Ever heard of vegan shoes? Nope us neither, actually we didn’t know there was a market for this type of shoe at all. Will Green set up this footwear brand with a passion to provide animal and human friendly shoes with high-street styles and prices. 

He had a dream to bridge the gap between everyday people and ethically produced vegan shoes, while not hurting animals or people in the process. 

We must admit after looking at the collection, there are certainly many styles we would choose to wear, but what about the vegan part… what’s it all about? We sit down with Mr Green to get educated on this. 

What inspired you to set up the company and what were your major
challenges?
 

“I started Wills with a passion to provide animal and human friendly shoes
with high-street styles and prices. Wills are for anyone who wants to make a
positive choice in their lives and world around them. The major challenge
was to get the right materials and factories to work with. The result is a
pair of Wills which look, feel and wear the same as a good pair of leather shoes –
so there is no compromise.”

Interview with Will Green of Wills

What’s the difference between standard shoes and vegan shoes? 

“The main difference is the upper. A vegan shoe does not use any materials
that are derived from an animal. A standard pair of shoes uses leather or
suede for the upper. A good vegan shoe swaps this with microfiber.
Microfiber is a man-made material comprised from a very fine mesh of
individual fibres woven into a tight mesh. The high quality Italian
microfiber I use has the same look and feel of leather or suede – you will
not notice the difference. Wills are water resistant, breathable and because the uppers are made from a
weave – they have “
give” so your shoe will adjust to your foot shape and
gait.”

Interview with Will Green of Wills

Does it cost more to make shoes this way? 

“It depends on who is making the shoe and why. You can already buy cheap vegan shoes on the high street that do not use leather – swapping it
with poor quality PVC or PU materials just to hit a low price point. A beautiful, well-made vegan shoe should cost about the same as a
leather shoe of the same quality. However because my convictions extend
beyond the materials I use – my shoes can cost more to make than a standard
shoe.

I do not want anything to be harmed for the sake of my shoes – therefore I
only use vegan materials and make Wills in well-run factories in Portugal –
where people work in good, safe conditions and earn fair wages.

I also want my shoes to be well made and look after your feet. Your feet
are so important. A cheap pair of shoes that are poorly made can do real
damage and are a false economy in the long term – you just end up buying
more shoes instead of one good pair – wasting money and increasing your
consumption.”

Interview with Will Green of Wills

Why should people care about vegan shoes? 

Leather is not a by-product it is a profit centre for the farming industry.
The majority of leather comes from China and India, countries with poor
environmental and workplace standards. Animals endure all the horrors of
factory farming for the sake of their skins which are then treated with
highly toxic chemicals to turn them into leather. To add to this – who made
your shoes? Did they have workers rights? Were they even safe? Post Rana
Plaza
we are switching on to the realities behind a cheap price point and
their accountability in the whole system. I guess we just need to honestly
ask ourselves – is it acceptable for animals and people to suffer for the
sake of our feet?”  

If we could buy one pair of shoes, which should it be? 

“My Work Boots in chestnut. They are one of those boots that just becomes a
part of you – something you always want to put on. They are made with
burnished Italian microfiber that has such a nice texture and lustre. I have
worn my pair for 9 months now and love the way they have improved with age –
they have real character.”

Win a MONOBI Tote Bag

Win a MONOBI Tote Bag

We have teamed up with our friends over at MONOBI to bring you this cool competition to win a currently unreleased understated and minimal tote bag. 

They’re a new menswear outerwear brand, fusing elegant, clean tailoring with high-tech performance fabric production processes.

Win a MONOBI Tote Bag

The limited edition three-layer laminated fabric bag is not yet available to buy, but it will be priced at around 100 notes when it launches. 

The external layers are made from a cotton material and it has an inner coloured membrane which makes it waterproof [the laser-cut membrane is visible at the top of the bag] and the handles are real leather for durability and comfort.

Win a MONOBI Tote Bag

Made in Prato, Italy, the collection has Italian craftsmanship but fused with innovative technology to bring style and performance wear together. 

How to Enter 

To win this slick Tote bag simply head over to Twitter and simply retweet this tweet by 3rd June and we will pick out at random 1 lucky winner. Totes-amaze! [Sorry].

The Leffe Gastro Bite Awards

The Leffe Gastro Bite Awards

Belgian Beer brand Leffe have teamed up with the acclaimed chef Kevin Love in their latest initiative, celebrating British Gastro recipes.

Kevin Love, Head Chef of the Michelin-Starred restaurant ‘The Hind’s Head’ shares some of his most popular Gastro bar snacks recipes which would work perfectly with a pint of Leffe. He is also the guy who will be judging the ‘The Leffe Gastro Bite Awards’, whereby Leffe are inviting it’s UK stockist pubs to enter their best bar snacks and will be awarding five lucky pubs a ‘Leffe Gastro Bite Award’. 

The lucky eight shortlisted pubs who will undergo a visit from Kevin Love himself, who will be putting their gastro snacks to the test with a series of tasting sessions [Lucky man!), ultimately selecting five establishments to win this incredible opportunity. The five winners will be in with the amazing chance to showcase their recipes at a pop up event in June.

We’re big fans of bars snack ourselves and will often opt for a mix to share (like English Tapas) when we’re at the pub, rather than sitting down in the restaurant. The informality of sitting on a nice leather comfy chair in a pub with friends is really comforting. 

So with this in mind, it’s great to here Mr Love puts as much emphasis and attention to the snack options as he does with his A La Carte dishes. A particular favourite of ours is the Scotch egg – the ultimate manly snack has totally transformed from how you might have experienced them in the past. 

This modern take is now made from premium meats and only the best ingredients resulting in something which looks so nice you’d probably want to order two. Whether it be a serving of Leffe Blonde, with its smooth hints of bitter fruitful flavours, or Leffe Brune providing sweet after-tastes; both can be perfectly teamed to accompany snacks or cheeses. That’s why Leffe and Kevin Love have come together to display how well the flavours of food and beer compliment each other.

Watch out for the winners to see who will be lucky enough to win this opportunity. Take a look at the video if you want to see the mouth-watering gastro snacks from Kevin Love and ways to purchase these recipe ingredients yourself!

Sponsored article

Summer 2014 Hair and Grooming Trends

Summer 2014 Hair and Grooming Trends

Summer brings a myriad of grooming trends perfect for reflecting the laid back, relaxed style of the season. Remember, the summer months can be harsh on our hair and skin, so keep them moisturised and healthy during the hot sunny days! Here are some summer styles that are perfect for all cuts and colours. 

Rough & Messy Hair 

The surfie dude hairstyle [pictured above] is one that just screams summertime – and isn’t just for sun-bleached blondes. Men with any length and colour hair can rough their do up and look like they’ve just rolled out of bed with perfectly imperfect bed hair. 

Run styling cream with a little gel through your hair – no combs here, just use your fingers for the best results. Let it dry and viola – effortlessly cool. 

If you need to invest in some new product or just want inspiration to re-invigorate your look for summer, search the Uppercut Deluxe UK website. They not only have a great range of products, but heaps of different hairstyles that you can peruse for inspiration too!

Summer 2014 Hair and Grooming Trends

Fringe Alert 

Yes, the fringe is making a comeback for men who want to be on the cutting edge of alternate trends. The blunt fringe is no longer just for women – it’s great for guys that favour the preppy or modern man look, and is being rocked by actors and models in global fashion campaigns and photo shoots. It requires minimal maintenance, just a few trims every so often so you can actually see where you’re going!

Summer 2014 Hair and Grooming Trends

The Vintage Look

Classic grooming styles are back in a big way. Many celebs are rocking the old school classy looks – think slicked hair, sculptured moustaches and beards trimmed to perfection. 

With the rise of classic films like The Great Gatsby being revived, the look is being re-invented for a modern generation of gentlemen. It’ll keep you looking sharp, suave and effortlessly cool all summer long. After all – who doesn’t want to look like Leonardo Dicaprio?

Summer 2014 Hair and Grooming Trends

Perfectly Sculptured Facial Hair 

Facial hair is making its well-earned comeback – but it’s no longer about who can grow the longest beard or the biggest moustache. It’s about man-scaping the face to perfection. Groomed, thin moustaches and a sculptured beard that perfectly frames the face, these are the signs of a brilliant summer trend.

Summer 2014 Hair and Grooming Trends

Spray Lotion 

Moving on from hair – men’s skin definitely needs some tender loving care as well! If you’re feeling like your skin is a little dry or coarse, try using some spray moisturiser. 

Many women’s moisturisers are very heavy, but the spray means that you’re only getting a very light coat, and it’s fast absorbing. Your skin won’t feel oily, it can be applied in seconds and it can be taken and used anywhere. 

So keep yourself looking sharp and on-trend this summer with these hair and grooming tips – which can easily be reworked for future seasons. You can either go rough and tousled for an effortlessly cool look, or swap over to the other end of the spectrum with perfectly coifed locks and facial hair. Both work great in the season of summer!

Dom Reilly x FT

Dom Reilly x FT

In fashion, there are collaborations that work, collaborations that do not and some that you would never have envisaged until they appeared. 

If I were to tell you that The Financial Times had collaborated with luxury leather goods proprietor, Dom Reilly, you may find it strange. However it is a partnership that has resulted in some exceptional product.

Dom Reilly x FT

This collaboration has produced a limited edition range of luxury travel accessories, available exclusively online. The range has been developed using the finest leather, together with performance technology normally only found in Formula One racing cars. 

Comprised of a weekend bag, laptop case, iPad case and travel wallet with prices starting from £195, the range epitomises the principles behind the Financial Times, and the philosophy of the Dom Reilly brand.

Dom Reilly x FT

Artisans handcraft every element of each product using the highest quality, full-grain leather. Refined and understated in their nature, every piece is delicately stamped with the small collaborative logo, with hints of the iconic ‘FT Pink’ running throughout the collection. 

Not only was style paramount when creating the collection, utility was at the forefront of conception. Both the iPad and laptop case are fashioned with the same unique high-density foam lining used in the cockpits of Formula One cars. 

The shock-absorbing foam in the iPad and laptop case were subject to rigorous testing which proved that an iPad screen could survive the direct impact of up to 25G – giving your most important devices the ultimate protection.

Dom Reilly x FT

Dominic Reilly, founder and CEO of Dom Reilly commented “The Financial Times has a long standing heritage in providing consumers with high quality products globally and their competencies align directly with ours. We felt that the partnership would help push both of our brands into new areas, whilst continuing to satisfy our loyal customers. The Financial Times is a pillar of the global business community and is known for its integrity and fastidious approach, which we also truly value and practice at Dom Reilly.” 

With the Monaco Grand Prix and Fathers Day right around the corner, this collaboration comes just in time. The full range of travel accessories are available now.

Hacking Fitness with Wearable Technology

Hacking Fitness with Wearable Technology

There’s a natural tendency to think of anyone who might wear Google Glasses or a Smart Watch as slightly unbearable, or at least highly unfashionable. 

Technology has encompassed our lives so much that we’ve begun to frown on people who take it that one step too far – but this attitude is set to change as the big manufacturers develop genuinely useful wearable technology. 

Navigation jackets, CUFF’s security pendants, phone charging handbags, fitness trackers, DASH’s multi-functional wireless earphones, and Bluetooth jewellery peddling our phone’s notifications will all pervade our consumer psyches in the coming years. 

Imagine putting on a navigation jacket and taking a planned tour through a foreign city by responding to the jacket’s prompts.

Hacking Fitness with Wearable Technology

The wearable tech industry is set to grow in value from $5bn to around $50bn in the next 5 years. Manufacturers like Samsung have put personal fitness at the heart of their marketing kick for the new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, which has a built in heart rate monitor. 

25-34 year olds are driving this change, in conjunction with high to middle earners, which seems like natural consumer territory. One demographic trend which stands out is the fact that women are more likely to use fitness tech than men, suggesting that these gizmos might be less geeky and more practical.

Hacking Fitness with Wearable Technology

Fitness and health are starting to become fully entwined in smartphone technology, and it won’t be long before any trip to the gym will necessitate wearing the right fitness tracker, downloading the correct fitness app, or donning the relevant fitness bracelet. 

The Jawbone UP is your classic fitness bracelet. It monitors activity, sleep, calorific intake and all sorts of clever things. The Nike+ Fuel Band SE performs similar tasks, and then there are products like the Basis B1 Band which additionally measure skin temperature and perspiration.

Hacking Fitness with Wearable Technology

It’s not just about fitness though; your resting heart rate and your general levels of everyday activity are equally vital to your health and can be tracked via one of these bracelets. 

Perhaps there’d be as much functionality for these products in an old people’s home as there would be for a young runner.
Apps such as Runkeeper, Nike+ Running, Samsung S Health, FitBit, MyFitnessPal, and Nexercise are becoming household names amongst keep fit addicts. 

According to Nielsen, a third of US smartphone owners accessed fitness and health apps in 2014 – a remarkable 18% rise on last year which clearly suggests something of a tide change.

Hacking Fitness with Wearable Technology

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at a product like the Garmin Forerunner 620, which is effectively a personal coach and a fitness watch. 

The watch registers how long each foot is in contact with the ground, cadence, speed, and ‘vertical oscillation’ [that’s bounce to you and me], using the data to make suggestions about your running style. The 620 could really make a more accomplished athlete. 

Fashionable” is a strong word to use for the latest wearable tech. It’s undoubtedly practical, and many readers will be part of the wearable tech revolution in coming years – but will it ever be cool?