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.
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