The subject of today’s textual conversations is the unbelievably creative and talented Olie Arnold, currently Fashion Director of the trial blazing, trend setting and far beyond a retail concept Oki ni. Oki what, I hear you under your breathe, shame on you ! Oki-ni, who celebrate their tenth anniversary this year, initially grew out of a gallery space/store and a global online destination, it was created to work with brands and progressive designers, to offer innovative products to style conscious consumers offering exclusively limited-editions or  also collaborated with brands to produce unique pieces.

Mr Oliver Arnold

But before all that, Olie cut his creative teeth as Style Director of FHM & Mens Health, both bastions of Mens magazines, which lead to him contributing to The Guardian, Shortlist Mode & The Telegraph’s ST Magazine plus has worked with such diverse clients as Nike, C.P. Company & Levi’s to name literally but a few. Having left the rat race of the capital metropolis to live an idilic life in Cornwall, not jealous at all, and is studying a degree in Performance Sportswear Design (errrr where does he find the time ????) and if that wasn’t enough he managed to squeeze in a chat with yours truly to answer a couple of Clothes-make-the-man.com style Jeremy Paxman-esque questions;

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

I’m not very mechanically minded, so pretty much everything amazes me when I start thinking about how it was constructed! Honestly, I can only just get my head around how paper is made, let alone a microchip. But if I could have invented anything existing today it would probably be the Ford Mustang. If it’s good enough for Steve McQueen, it’s good enough for me.

 

2) What inspires you? 

Ok, ready for the cheesy answer? Nature, creative people and those that do what they want regardless of whether its cool or not. People who work hard and who strive towards an end goal. My dad.

 

3) What’s your favourite piece of clothing?

I have a vintage leather jacket that I bought almost 10 years ago that always makes an appearance every now and again. I had some McQueen jeans once that I wore to death and to this day have not got a pair that were as good a fit as those. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for.

 

4) If you could only wear one brand/Designer for the rest of your life who would it be? Why?

I want to say Jil Sander as absolutely loved what Raf Simons did there, or Marni, but I’m more of a casual kind of guy. I would probably say Margaret Howell. She knows about beautiful fabrics, proper construction and timeless design. I could wear it from now till an old age and always look appropriately stylish. That or someone like Bernard Wilhelm! Imagine going to your wardrobe every day and having to choose what to wear! It would be so much fun.

 

5) Who is your style icon? Why?

I always say my dad here as he’s consistently looked great ever since I’ve known him and the pictures I’ve got of him as a younger man puts me to shame. I’m just starting to design and make clothes, but he was doing that for years and was customizing Levi’s for people before most knew they even existed in the UK. Every time I go home, he swans in with a new piece and gives a twirl before opening thejacket and saying something like “Moschino, don’t you know!”. He’s got more designer branded pieces than me and always at a bargain.

Him and William Gilchrist. There’s a man who has such a distinctive and cool style and who knows his own mind (and wardrobe).

 

6) Can you tie a bow tie? If yes, who taught you?

The truth is I can, but if you gave me one right now it would take me about an hour to remember how. I taught myself once for a shoot, but never really used it again.

 

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

Never spend more than 5 minutes deciding whether an outfits doing it or not. If its not working after that, it never will.

 

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

I know this is so practical, but Merino wool base layers. I’m obsessed with them and have a few in different colours from a brand called Finisterre (finisterreuk.com) who get their own blends. They are super comfortable, will keep you warm when its cold and cool when its hot. They also look great, obviously.

 

9) Have you ever bought a piece of clothing and regretted it? If so what & why?

When I first started assisting I went to an Etro press day that a friend was doing and saw this multi-coloured dressing gown with paisley lapels. I was still a little tipsy from the night before and put a personal order in and then forgot all about it. A few months later I got a phone call saying it had arrived and that I needed to collect it. I was so embarrassed I paid the £80, which at the time was probably a month’s food. The irony was it was so bright that it made me feel sick every time I wore it with a hangover.

 

10) What piece of clothing best describes you?

I don’t know. Right now I’m in the process of replacing most of my wardrobe as there’s some tired pieces in there. I’ve decided that from now on I’m only going to buy from brands that build to last and know what they’re doing and not from fashion brands that sell things just for effect or trend. Maybe that says I’m getting more discerning and that I want more security in my life, or maybe it means I’m getting old before my time.

Olie Selects a few of his favourite things currently from Oki-ni.com

Image from the new FOCUS channel featuring product The Soloist, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens and Acne
Jil Sander Snakeskin PRINT Derby Shoes
Image from Night Birds Shoot featuring shirt from Alexander McQueen

Good Day folks, the start of yet another week and another sartorial dilemma arrives for me, this time via our Facebook page and following my piece on the launch of the Inspired by Savile Row Range by Richard James for Marks & Spencer. This inspired a young man to contact us to seek stylistic advice;

As always Loz and like anyone who drops us a line searching for guidance, thanks for taking the time out, we appreciate it here. Now then, you have at least two weddings coming up and you, “need to look the business” and you are looking to spend around the “400 bags” (£400) mark. OK right off, you were obviously impressed with the Richard James collaboration with Mark & Spencer, as seen here last Thursday as that’s what drove you to seek my help and right you are too. Richard James is a Master Tailor and as mentioned in the post, has dressed everyone from Messers Liam & Noel Gallagher to Sir Elton of John. For this range he was very hands on and personally oversaw each detail of the collection. So I would certainly recommend take a look at www.marksandspencer.com/Savile-Row-Inspired-Mens/b/1634465031 

Furthermore, as the suits costs in the region of £349, have it slightly altered to fit you perfectly to ensure you, “look the business”. Larger M&S stores offer alteration services or sort a local TRUSTED tailor, but remember to give enough time before the big events.

One of the fundamental things you need to consider when buying a suit is go to someone who knows what they are talking about, i.e. a retailer who is known for their suiting and who has been around, therefore have a heritage and know what they are talking about. You wouldn’t go to a fishmonger if you’re after a good piece of steak now, would you ?

So this brings us to the next retailer, Moss, this brand has over 160 years of experience in tailoring and are somewhat of a forgotten quantity on the British high Street today but with approx 150 outlets nationwide, they know a thing or two about suits and how to make a decent one. They offer a bespoke suit service, which currently has an offer, where suits start from £299. Plus, if this doesn’t flow your suiting boat, for some unknown reason, they also stock quality suits from Calvin Klein to Zegna to Ted Baker & French Connection. You can’t say fairer then that and this will have you putting the groom to shame in the dapper department. www.moss.co.uk

Lastly,  in researching for your quandary Loz, which was difficult, I don’t mind admitting, but I was far from beaten. £400 is a good price to pay for a suit,  but  a lot of designer brands just fall outside this price bracket, so we had to discount the Hugo Boss’s, Paul Smith’s, Nicole Farhi’s etc. But while investigating on your behalf I came across two great finds, one, a suave piece of tailoring by the tres talented Irish man Paul Costelloe. He offered an air force blue coloured single breasted suit over at House of Fraser, but this lil number beat it by a nose and it’s by the dapper Mr Joe Casely Hayford exclusively for John Lewis.

Now before, I forget, you must remember not to fall at the final hurdle Loz and the devil is in the detail when one wants to, “look the business”. Always wear good quality, high polished shoes, finish the look with a pocket square as seen above, be as discreet or flamboyant as you want, but go for it and if you can’t tie a good knot, ask someone who can, untidy sloppy tie knots ruin the look you’re trying to achieve. Ohhhh and by the way, between you and me, there are some great bargains to be had in the mid season sales at the moment, so if your quick you can pick up a tidy lil number making your buck stretch a lot further, but purely between the two of us.

So Loz, all that is left for me to do is to tell you, the choice is yours ??? Let us know what your decision was and join us again next Tuesday for another style clinic.

A.M.

STOCKISTS

www.marksandspencer.com

www.moss.co.uk

www.houseoffraser.co.uk

www.johnlewis.com


Following on from Ahmed’s bag issue in the first post of Ask Ant a couple of weeks ago I was sent a tweet from a Mr David Glynn, who was so impressed with the advice dished out that he felt compelled to contact me with his own dilemma.

Any suggestions? Par ! Of course Our Dave, that’s the name of our game here at Clothes-make-the-man.com we are your essential style guide, sir !

Right then, so your after something, slightly smaller and cheaper. OK first up, I’d take a look at Medwinds, a Spanish company, so their leather goods are going to be good standard but not cost a fortune.  For Spring 2012, the Barcelona based online brand offers a complete collection of wardrobe staples designed with the Mediterranean lifestyle in mind.

Medwinds overnight bag £90

Next then I’d take a look at the good ole reliable and trust me great at Manbags Marks & Spencer. As with everything M&S do and  part of their fundamental DNA is their quality and reasonable priced products. You know when you buy something from Mark & Sparks that it isn’t going to fall apart after a couple of weeks. I’ve selected two for you David.

Leather dispatch bag from the Autograph Collection £99

The Heritage Satchel £59.50

For your third option, I’ve gone for another retail institution, but this time it’s from across the pond, GAP.  In answering your question David I’ve wanted to ensure anyone, no matter where they’re from can get access to the bags we’ve cited in the post and no matter if there isn’t a bricks and mortar outlet of these fine retail cornerstones you can rely on their flagship websites to cater for your ever need.

So, once again I’ve gone for two options for you.

Black leather messenger bag £65.95

Tuxtured leather briefcase £99.95

Finally, if you’re after something little different and more customised to YOU, maybe think about commissioning a designer to make one for you. WHAT BESPOKE !!!!!! It’s really not as expensive as you might think. There is a wonderful designer in Brixton Village Market, Nneka and her brand N’Damus,  will happily take on individual orders (see the bag below) and will tailor a piece to your individual requirements, take a look at her website www.ndamus.com for more details. But if this is a little far away, you could always contact your local fashion college and enquiry if they could recommend a student who could undertake a commission of visit designer/artist coops, along the lines of somewhere like Afflecks Palace in Manchester or the Corn Exchange in Leeds.

Brown Leather Satchel £125

So David, all that is left for me to do is to tell you, the choice is yours ??? Let us know what your decision was and join us again next Tuesday for another style clinic.

A.M.

STOCKISTS

www.gap.eu

www. medwinds.com

www.marksandspencer.com

www.ndamus.com

The subject of today’s Textual Conversations is David Keyte the power behind the genius Menswear Brand, Universal Works, whose primary principle is to produce a well made, easy to wear and affordable collection for men who want contemporary clothes, but understand tradition and looking good without trying too hard.

Based around and understanding of classic working clothes, of the workshop and the office, but with a modern slant on fit and shape. The collections have David’s signature throughout and show his love of craft and a feeling that someone cared about making this piece of clothing. The garments have a “lived in” and “ my old favourite” feel.  Detailing of the pieces are often quirky and off beat and all garments are designed to stand-alone and function well.

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

The instant translation app, I travel a lot and have crap language skills, I am convinced the world would be a better place if we could all understand each other more.

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

Probably working too many hours and not spending more time with my family and friends, but really I try to live without regrets, or at least I would if it was my last day for sure.

3) What inspires you ?

Everything! – well a few things would be; the way old guys dress in too many layers, mixing checks and pattern in a totally mad way. Hikers on long walks in the Peak District, my Dad and his brothers work wear but also getting dressed for a night out when I was a kid. British clothing history, modern Japan.

4) What’s your favourite piece of clothing ?

It changes a lot, but right now its our work jacket called the Bakers Jacket (see image below) after my dad who was a Master Baker but instead of the normal cotton twill its in Indigo Blue Dyed Harris Tweed

5) Who is your style icon ? Why ?

Icon is such a big word, I am not sure I have a style icon really, its normally used about celebrity and I really don’t care much for celebrity, I have a few favorites dresses for sure, Brian Ferry in the seventies, Michael Stipe most of the time, David Byre in his talking Head days, Joe Strummer any time ever, shit they are all musicians maybe I am in the wrong business !

I think my icons would be more in the world of politics, ecology or science, you know, important stuff, clothing is just for fun.

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

Dress for yourself, be yourself always

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

Clean underwear

8) What do you have to do after this conversation ?

I am Paris right now at the worlds biggest fabric trade show, hunting for fabrics for Spring 13, a busy day ahead

9) How did you get into the industry ?

I convinced Paul Smith to let me work for him, when I did not really have the experience or training, he took a chance on me, I spent my early years working for Paul and it was a great time to learn the about the industry from one of the best guys in the british clothing industry, I owe him a huge debt he was a great guy to learn from.

10) Have you ever bought a piece of clothing and regretted it ? 

I bought a pair of red wing boots on a snowy day in New York and they still murder my feet 2 years later,

Maybe I was not cut out for the lumberjack look! ( if this gets printed then; sorry Mr Red Wing, I am sure it is my feet not your boots!)

The Fabulous Baker Jacket

Spring 2012 Images from Universal Works

www.universalworks.co.uk

We’ve all got one so remember 18th March is Mother’s Day this year, that’s not just me reminding myself, that the Clothes-make-the-man.com offering what it does best, an essential service for you, it’s good readers. So to save you the trouble of running round your local high street late on Saturday 17th looking for something to buy the good lady that gave you life. Here is all you need to know in one place, a selection of the best gifts to buy your lovely mammy.

1) Direct from Sir Paul Smith, a gift that you just can’t go wrong with, offered in his signature candy stripe

Paul Smith Scarf £99

Paul Smith Scarf Silk Scarf £99

2) Next up is the old faithful, Flowers from, you guessed it Next.You can’t go wrong with Roses and at £18 it won’t break the bank, but we’ll keep that to ourselves. Plus you can add chocolates for the grand price of £22.

A bouquet of Rose from Next £18

3) If you’re looking for something a little special for your Momma, as always we save you the trouble of searching and you can’t ask for specialerer then Dame Vivienne Westwood. These delicate pieces crafted in the shape of a golden sheaf to celebrate her British heritage.

Vivienne Westwood Harvest Earrings £155

4) If you can’t decide what to get mummy dearest this year why not go with a selection of goodies in a hamper format from that Great British institution Marks & Spencer, with Prosecco, chocolates, and Rose Flutes,amongst the treats, plus already wrapped so you don’t have to, what more do you want.

M&S Indulgent Collection £45

5) If you’re feeling particularly flush this year, splash out and make your mum feel special. The Effie bag from Mulberry is a new classic, and can be used either everyday or kept for those special occasions.

The Mulberry Effie Satchel £495

6) Wanna look you like you choose a present with your mum in mind, go for this exclusive to Selfridges Diptyque Mimosa Candle.

Diptyque’s Mimosa candle £40 exclusive to Selfridges

7) If you want to play it safe this Mothering Sunday you can’t go wrong with Tolietries and those good people over at Burt’s Bees have thought of everything with these Head to toe or Tips to toes Starter kit Gift Set. It includes some of their best selling products including Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash (1.8 fl oz), Coconut Foot Cream (0.75oz), Beeswax Lip Balm (0.15oz) and is available from selected stores Nationwide.

Burts Bees Head to toe Starter kit £14.99

But, after all that if you still can’t decide what to buy your mum let Clothes-make-the-man.com take the stress out of it for you. We have a bumper bag crammed full of wonderful products from Burts Bees all you need to do is click on the Follow me button above or Follow me on TWITTER between now and 6am (GMT) on Thursday 15th March and you could  be making you Mum a very happy lady with this goody bag winging its way to you in time for Mother’s Day on Sunday. Good Luck lads !