He's a very nice man, don't you know.

Today is our first venture into “Textual Conversations” and what better way to kick things off with a bang then speaking to Gordon Richardson, the Design Director for TOPMAN and ohhhhh so much more. Not only is he one of the nicest men in Fashion, hand on heart, and truly a pleasure to interview, but has been responsible for creating a whole new level in, not just the British Menswear market but, increasingly the world. TOPMAN has long shook off the image of the place you’d buy your first suit to attend a job interview. Designers want to work with them, Mr Hare, Kim Jones, Oliver Spencer, Markus Lupfer to name but a few and well heeled celebrities openly wear TOPMAN with pride, even honour.

With TOPMAN spearheading the re-launch of, a stand alone, London Menswear Fashion Week in June of this year, Gordon has been the driving force behind this, dreaming up the TOPMAN Design range, shown yesterday during London Fashion Week(see the image below) and more about that tomorrow, the launch of a premium suiting range (see image below) the transformation of the flagship store on Oxford St, London, the opening of the flagship on Broadway, New York, the continued expansion into Canada, Japan, Russia, Malaysia etc etc. Surely, world domination can’t be far behind ? And amongst all that he made time for Clothes-make-the-man.com to ask him a couple of questions regarding his life and times.

1) If you could have invented anything what would it be ?

It would have to be the Ipod. Being a ardent music lover I cant think of anything else that is as well designed , mystical, and equal parts wonder and enjoyment. The design of an old Gibson ES 335 Guitar would come a close second though.

2) If you had one day to live what would be your biggest regret ?

Never having made it as a musician. As much as I now live and breathe fashion I would really rather be up on that stage guitar in hand, I think it’s the performer in me

3) What would be the one piece of clothing you would rescue from your home in the event of a fire ?

I would rescue a blazer of some description as I feel under dressed without one. If I could, I would sneak a patterned scarf of some description into one of the pockets I’d be even more happy!

4) What inspires you ?

People who go against the odds who swim upstream. Pioneers in all walks of life from ancient explorers to modern entrepreneurs. People who through their beliefs and endeavours have changed the pace of life.

5) Who is your style icon ? 

I have several ranging from rock royalty, Keith Richards, to real royalty, Edward the 8th, with a lot in between. A look I’d summarise as Dishevelled as opposed to Distinguished Gentleman.

6) Tell us something no one else knows ?

For someone who’s in fashion you wouldn’t necessarily have associated me with a sporting past. I did however get all 10 wickets in a school cricket match once, a record at the time and who knows it may still stand.

7) What piece of style advise do you live by ?

Don’t be lured by fashions vagaries, establish your own style and work newer fashion pieces as and when they fit.

8) What piece of clothing should everyman have in his wardrobe ?

That’s a hard question as by singling out one item it suggests no other existing wardrobe pieces. But the one item would have to be a well cut blazer of some description. Something versatile enough to wear dressed up or down.

9) What piece of clothing would you relegate to Room 101 ?

Something along the lines of a baggy parachute silk pant a la MC Hammer. even worse in a bright colour.

10) What is you most memorable moment ?

Aside from obvious family events I’d say on the fear factor side when i went up in small plane with no actual proper sides to it with some parachutists. Once they’d jettisoned, so to speak, unbeknown to me the course of action is for the plane to nose dive at insane speed towards earth to save fuel. There weren’t enough bits of my body with which I could hold onto the seat. Complete terror!

 To watch yesterday’s TOPMAN Design A/W show click on the link below or cut & paste –

http://www.topman.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CatalogNavigationSearchResultCmd?catalogId=33056&storeId=12555&langId=-1&viewAllFlag=false&categoryId=432491&interstitial=true&TS=1329127422376&cmpid=em_y12&_$ja=tsid:19897

topman.com

TOPMAN's Premium suiting range (£175 for the suit) - maybe try it without the bobble hat, but hey knock yourself out.

Something of the night about TOPMAN Design for Autumn Winter 2012

Private White upon his return to Manchester after World War I

This true heritage range based on the on the everyday wardrobe of Jack White, not to be mistaken with the White Stripes guitarist. The VC part of the moniker is after the Victoria Cross which was awarded to Jack at the tender age of 20 for outstanding bravery under intense enemy fire duringWorld War I.

After returning from the killing fields of the Great War, he undertook an apprenticeship with a local outerwear factory, Cooper & Stollbrand, which is where to this very day his Great grandson, James Eden, produces the collection inspired by the clothing he wore in his daily life, items he customised to suit his everyday activities .

Patterns from the Factory’s outerwear archive have been modernised to suit the needs of a more contemporary clientele. Trousers come in robust moleskin, brushed British cotton and raw denim, whilst heavy Guernsey knits and a waxed wool coat have been created to withstand the elements of a busy modern life.

The backstory to this fascinating brand, was celebrated in the Channel 4 documentary, Made in England, which looked into the transition of the Copper & Stollbrand factory from a fossil of a bygone era to the journey James Eden and his business partner Nick Ashley, yes as in Laura Ashley, his Mother, dragged the business into the 21st Century.

As part of this journey the brand, in November of last year, transported its centenary heritage to the Capital to launch its first flagship store on what is arguably, one, if not the trendiest streets in London, Lambs Conduit Street, which boasts such uber tenants as Oliver Spencer, Folk and the pop up store showcase of Cube PR.

Please don’t let the fact of Private White VC’s prime retail outlet being based in the great metropolis of London put you off. The brand has a GREAT website filled with interesting facts regarding the history of the great man himself, the factory of Copper & Stollbrand, ohh and you can purchase some of the wonderful pieces this actual heritage brand produces too and remember quality is a commodity worth paying for.

privatewhitevc.com

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The Private White VC Flagship on Lambs Conduit St

A selection from the current season's collection

A selection from this season's collection