Thursday, 22 June 2017

Interview: Mr Slowboy, Artist "How to Live & Work as a Well-Dressed Modern Man"

The wonder of Instagram is that artists with real talent will get noticed and so it was that I came across Mr Slowboy's exquisite drawings of stylish men many months ago and determined one day to feature him on the blog. 

Unlike a fashion illustrator, who merely records a look, Fei Wang (Mr Slowboy's real name) has the ability to capture character and mood in his simple drawings. He shows us style to be aspired to. This ability has been widely recognised and many brands and sartorial gentlemen have been captured by his pen.

Image Mr Slowboy

Fei Wang kindly agreed to an interview.
"I am keen [on] the idea of how to work and live as a well-dressed modern man, which I believe it’s an appreciation to the values of our society and the politeness to others". Fei Wang
GF: Fei, Mr Slowboy seemed to blossom over the last twelve months or so - tell us a little about yourself and how Mr Slowboy was started.

Mr S: Long story short, I am a Beijinger born and bred, went to college in Singapore and England, then worked as a Creative Director and Head of Art in an American advertising agency, However, the success in my agency life didn’t quite satisfy me as my ‘superficial’ fashion illustrator dream gradually became vivid in my mind and finally encouraged myself to jump off the boat by moving to London, and that’s where Mr. Slowboy started.

 Mr Jeremy Hackett - image Mr Slowboy

GF: The illustrations are exquisite, so deftly capturing personality: what training have you had as an artist?

Mr S:I had the privilege of learning traditional Chinese ink from an early age, I did graphic design in undergraduate school, then printmaking during my MA in Illustration. In particular, my study on Indian miniature painting and Japanese Ukiyo-e were great influence too.

Seersucker - image Mr Slowboy

GF: You also have a keen eye for style, capturing the nuances and humour of a well-dressed man - have you always been interested in clothes and dressing well? How did this develop?

Mr S: Yes, I have always been interested in clothes, not so much about following fashion, but I am keen to the idea of how to work and live as an well-dressed modern man, which I believe it’s an appreciation to the values of our society and the politeness to others. My early awareness of clothes raised when I was in primary school, my mother always dressed me in very simple attire: white shirt, navy or blue pants, and white trainer or black slip-on, on top of that, the compulsory ‘young communism pioneer’ red scarf (Don’t be alert by its name, to me it’s merely function like the tie for the school boy uniform here in UK). If you think about the colour palette - white, blue and red, it’s actually pretty French! I guess this coincidence shaped my aesthetic on fashion in certain ways and subconsciously influenced my preference on classic/traditional menswear.

Mr Jeremy Hackett - image Mr Slowboy

GF: How do you do the drawings?

Mr S: The procedure doesn’t sound very artistic, but rather scientific, I research first, then develop the creative ideas and make sketches, finally execute the ideas with a combination of watercolour, gouache and colour pencils.

GF: What brands and styles do you like to wear yourself?

Mr S: Oh...where do I begin? I like Preppy/Ivy looks the most, but I’m open to different styles too. I like American brands- Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, English brands like Drake’s, Margaret Howell, Mackintosh, and of course some Japanese brands - Beams, Haversack and Anatomica.

GF: Do you draw other subjects or use other artistic media?

Mr S: A bit of everything, I experiment a lot.

GF: How do you see Mr Slowboy developing in the future?

Mr S: Future is always unpredictable, I simply wish that I will be able to continue to work on menswear's illustration until I’m too old to pick up a pencil.

******

With many thanks to Fei Wang, some of whose images illustrate this feature. Follow Mr Slowboy on Instagram and visit his website here.

Drake's - image Mr Slowboy

Monday, 19 June 2017

Oliver Spencer at London Fashion Week Men's

London provided the inspiration for Oliver Spencer’s SS18 Collection shown at LFWM this month. The range of colour and textures reflected the diversity of our great capital city. I show here a few of my favourite pieces. The trend towards safari and Harrington jackets continues. I love his use of a delicious tobacco/ginger brown (bottom image) which looks so good with a cobalt blue.







Every year I complain about the lack of older models at LFWM and I usually praise Oliver Spencer for his use of older models on the catwalk. While there were a few great hairs, the makeup of the models didn't this time quite reflect, in terms of age, the diverse nature of the city used as inspiration for the collection as the clothes would look good on men of any age. Oliver Spencer.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Book Review: A Gentleman's Look Book by Bernhard Roeztel

Bernhard Roetzel has written, studied and indulged in classic menswear style for many years. This, his latest work, A Gentleman's Look Book, to be published in July, celebrates the timelessness of style through the power of the image. The book centres on portraits of men with strong senses of their own personal style. I was delighted to be selected as one of these and there are a couple of images in the book, which covers looks from formal through to casual.



For those interested in the clothes, information is given about the tailors and retailers whose products are being worn. These vary between Europe and the US, making this a truly international effort. In our youth-obsessed fashion world it's always a relief to find a book which celebrates a more mature approach to style. 

A Gentleman's Look Book by Bernhard Roetzel, published by H.F. Ullman on 31 July 2017.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Last Minute Grooming Gifts for Father's Day from eBay [Sponsored]

It seems that most of us leave our Father's Day gifts to the last minute but that we plan ahead better when it comes to buying for Mother's Day. eBay have published research that shows that one in six of us buys grooming gifts for fathers and that these are second only to alcohol in popularity. Inspired by men like George Clooney and David Beckham, men are now persuaded that being clean and sweet-smelling can be manly. 

Apparently we also spend slightly less on Dad than on Mum; £25 as opposed to £32. However, father's gifts are more varied than for mother, covering not only grooming but also golfing, sunglasses and alcohol gifts. Mother's gifts are, surprisingly, mainly alcoholic!

eBay's Men's Grooming Hub contains some 230,000 grooming products which include names like L'Oreal and Mo Bro's covering every possible male grooming need. Below are some suggested gifts to try.


Some gifts to try (and others pictured above):


Most grooming gifts are related to shaving and beards, as you can see from the list of most popular gifts on eBay.co.uk:
  1. razor 
  2. aftershave 
  3. beard trimmer 
  4. beard oil 
  5. beard comb 
  6. beard kit 
  7. beard balm 
  8. beard gift set
This post is a collaboration with eBayUK.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

W.H. Taylor Shirtmakers Offering 'Semi-Bespoke' High Quality Shirts

W.H. Taylor Shirtmakers aim to provide the finest handmade shirts to the highest standards. Each shirt is individually made by hand. The customer is offered a wide variety of shirt styles giving the customer what is described as a 'quality semi-bespoke shirt which will be unique to you at a reasonable price'. 


Using both British-made and externally-made shirting, they are tailored outside the UK. Pricing is reasonable given the range of options available. I am having some shirts made and will report back when I've worn them. Meanwhile, have a look round the W.H.Taylor website here.

This post is a collaboration with W.H.Taylor.



Monday, 12 June 2017

London Fashion Week Men's on Jermyn Street St James's London

One of the exciting highlights of London Fashion Week Men's has been, for me, the menswear fashion shows put on by St James's, that mecca of menswear in central London. Held in Jermyn Street, which is closed to traffic for the day, the shows are open to members of the public and even those who don't have tickets are able to get a good view from the pavement to the side of the catwalk.

FROW, but not posing for the camera

St James's includes so many excellent menswear brands that it has become a favourite destination for me. From Aquascutum to Turnbull & Asser, there is tailoring, footwear, hats and accessories, much of it with a strong British bent. In the show, I particularly enjoyed the offering from New & Lingwood, a brand I'm getting to know better (see image above). Their silk dressing gown and linen safari-style jacket and flannel cricket trousers were hits with me (below).

New & Lingwood showed a strong collection

The shows illustrate some of the best of British menswear and the interest shown by the many passers-by who crowd around the catwalk suggests that the formula is a successful one. While, as you'd expect, I had reservations about the lack of grey hairs on the catwalk, I enjoyed the show, styled by GQ's Grace Gilfeather, immensely. Many of the surrounding shops held events to entertain and inform visitors, from cocktails to demonstrations of shirt-making and shoe polishing.






This year the Jermyn Street shows were followed by one by Thomas Smedley (who have a store on Jermyn Street) who showed a powerful and very contemporary collection of British-made knitwear for men and women.

The proximity of the catwalk to the thirty or so brands' stores enables consumers to walk a few yards to buy the products that caught their eye in the show. The whole event is a successful formula and one I look forward to seeing develop in years to come.

This sponsored feature is a collaboration with St James's London.

What to Wear at Ascot, Wimbledon & Henley with Oliver Brown

The English summer season of sport offers wonderful excuses (if any are needed) for a gentleman to dress up and show the world his dapper credentials. I recently heard from gentleman's and country outfitters, Oliver Brown, with a few suggestions of what to wear at Ascot (20 - 24 June 2017), Henley (28 June - 1 July) and Wimbledon (3 - 16 July 2017). 

Vintage silk top hat from Oliver Brown

So good were these suggestions that I'm going to pass them on to you unedited as I'd be happy to wear any of these outfits (although the pink suit may fit better after a glass of champagne). These styles would equally suit other summer events like weddings, garden parties, Chelsea Flower Show (now finished of course for this year) Glyndebourne, The investec Derby (now gone too for this year), Glorious Goodwood and Cowes Week and so I suggest a trip to Oliver Brown's Chelsea store might be a good one-stop-shop. Check dress codes with organisers if you are unsure what to wear at any event.

Ascot and Investec Derby, weddings

Henley and other smart casual events where you want to show panache

Wimbledon and other smart casual

(This feature is unsponsored.)
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