As menswear has become more streamlined, fitted and influenced by sports it was inevitable, particularly with its rise in popularity, that cycling would start to play its part off the track.
Designer, Paul Smith, is a renowned cycling fan and references always appear on his catwalk or collections. The zipped funnel neck, fitted cycle-inspired knit is a key piece this season and has been appearing all over menswear, both designer and the high-street.
Left - Paul Smith AW16
This example by Ted Baker from House of Fraser is the perfect thickness for winter and can be worn easily under tailored jackets or coats. A rich, deep grey, it will dress down a suit or dress up a pair of jeans or tailored sports trousers. Comfortable, sporty and always a winner, it's the Bradley Wiggins of knitwear!
Far Left & Below - Ted Baker 'Pinball' Funnel Neck Jumper - £109 from House of Fraser
Fashion has been saturated for a while now. The industry has accepted this and is trying to accommodate and change while saving face and putting on a positive new one.
We’ve seen a massive growth in retailers offering people choice, both online and offline, since the beginning of this century. Nearly two decades later, people don't need anymore stuff and the want, that seldom matched with the need, especially in fashion terms, has also waned, especially when you feel like you’re not seeing anything new.
How many things in your wardrobe still have the tags on or are in their boxes? You’re not a shopaholic or a hoarder, you’re an average person who has more than they need and is showing the middle aged spread of affordable clothes and easy availabiity.
We’re facing an obesity crisis in our consumption and it’s starting to make people feel gluttonous and suffocated with stuff: baggage, quite literally.
I think the average person could probably go a whole year (okay, easily 6 months) without buying anything new for their wardrobe and outwardly showing it. A retail detox, if you will, which is a cleanse of overconsumption and quantity over quality.
You’d often see people outside of Primark having their Pretty Woman moment with armfuls of brown paper carrier bags, but even that sight seems to be scarcer.
It’s a great thing that people can buy what they want when they want it. Clothes have never been so cheap, but the novelty is over and people are seeking alternatives.
Next recently revealed bad sales figures, which probably means the same for retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams. They cited people spending their money on eating out, travel and experiences and not clothes. Debenhams is focussing more of its shop space on food and restaurants and for good reason and I expect other retailers to follow suit.
Over in America large numbers of department stores are being shut and shopping malls are replacing them with a different mix away from retail.
On another note, people’s houses or living accommodation is getting smaller so there is even less space to store even a regular amount of things.
I’m not sure what the solution is to all of this, but I think technology will play a part and make this all look very last century. Maybe it’s a more disposable, but environmentally conscious one? Drones could deliver newly laundered and ironed clothes that we hire rather than own. It seems so Victorian to wash our clothes, dry them, iron them and waste valuable living space storing them. It’s laborious and time hungry and it could easily be replaced with a new service industry along the lines of Uber or Air BnB.
Maybe it’s a brandless future that just focuses on keeping us covered, protected and warm? The majority of people buy clothes and not fashion anyway and many groups aren’t well catered for at the moment.
I think in the new year we’ll see many brands and retailers contracting or going out of business. A survival of the fittest and what capitalism thrives on. The fashion industry that involves us buying more of what we don't need is eating itself and is starting to feel and look stale. Fashion is having an ouroboros moment and it’s turning people off.
The Chic Geek's latest vlog looks at his favourite grooming brand of the moment, Buly, Tom Ford launches body sprays as a new way to wear fragrance, pimps his old Sperry Topsiders with a Vibram sole and shows you how to do Gucci black tie with a couple of pieces of velvet ribbon. Watch TheChicGeek video below and subscribe to his YouTube channel here
If Wes Anderson did gym kit then this would be the bottom half. Sports is everywhere at the moment and, if like me, you've grown used to the comfort of spending the summer in shorts and tracksuits it feels like an effort and a step backwards to put on anything else, especially regular, non-elasticated trousers. Oh, how things have changed!
Left - Lacoste FW15
I’m a big fan of what designer, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, is doing for Lacoste in their mainline catwalk collection, which they show in New York. I couldn’t find a good image from the current collection so I used last year's, but I know they do these smart creased track trousers with bold stripes as I saw them in the windows of their Knightsbridge store, yesterday.
I couldn’t find them available on the internet, but Fila do a mean retro tracksuit bottom with that ever so sharp and important crease in their Heritage collection. Go got ‘em.
Left & Below - Fila - Molveno Trackpant - £45
Who mends their shoes today? What a load of cobblers!
Italian shoe sole brand, Vibram, is a bit like the Pirelli tyres of footwear; often cited and name checked by other shoe brands as a sign of quality. They’ve just opened their own version of Kwik-Fit with the ‘Virbam Sole Factor’. A visit to the cobblers has never really been exciting until now…
Left - My pair of rather sad, but still loved, Sperry Topsider boat shoes before their makeover. The sole had discoloured.
Situated on City Road near Old Street Underground station, a previous cobblers has been rebranded as a Vibram resoler.
Right - I went for something that was bold and made the shoes look individual and different
Think of it as upcycling or reinventing rather than repairing an old pair of shoes. A bit like a premiership footballer wrapping their new Bentley, pimp your old, or not so old shoes, with a bold and colourful sole.
My pair of two-tone Sperry Topsiders had seen better days. The sole had become slightly discoloured and yellowed, so I thought I’d bring these along to try the new concept. They’re also a fun summer shoe so I thought I’d go bold and opt for lime green with thick treads. I think you want your shoes to look altered and standout for the right reasons.
The shoes came out as well, if not better, than I expected and they, now, feel like something original rather than another sorry pair of shoes languishing at the bottom of the wardrobe. Bring on next summer!
It's time to reinvent. This is Vibram's first 'Sole Factor' in the UK and they aim to roll out the idea across the UK and Europe.
The Vibram Sole Factor experience is available from £60.
Right - The new chunky Vibram sole has deep treads
Below - The before & after at the Old Street Vibram Sole Factor
It’s great when a collaboration brings a designer to a new audience or offers something that could easily pass as their mainline at a realistic price. This is true of the new Craig Green X Bjorn Borg collection.
You wouldn't necessarily put these two together. So it was either a case of inspired thinking on behalf of Bjorn Borg or a big, fat cheque! Swedish underwear specialists, Bjorn Borg, has teamed up with British menswear designer, Craig Green, to offer a monochrome collection of 18 unisex pieces in Green’s signature micro quilting.
Most of this stuff could easily past muster alongside some of his catwalk pieces, which probably means he’ll be moving on from these ideas pretty soon.
If you’re a fan of his Asian inspired pieces you won’t go far wrong with getting involved here, especially at these prices. I’ve chosen this polo as it’s slightly more wearable. For those in the know, Green likes a circle, most notable his knitted cutout from a couple of seasons ago, so wear this with in-the-know pride.
Left & Below - Craig Green X Bjorn Borg - Men’s Polo Top Cloud Cream - £75
Peace and love, what more do we need? Well, a big bank balance looking at the price of this shirt. Tom Ford always knows which bits of the past to mine. While he's a man of the 1970s, this psychedelic shirt brings to mind the Beatles of the 1960s and menswear brands from the time such as Mr Fish.
While this shirt is loud, team it with a navy suit and plain tie and you'll have something that is risk taking and tasteful rather than brash and gaudy. Peace out!
Left - Tom Ford - Floral Print Shirt - £675 from Harrods
Inspired? See the V&A’s 1960s Exhibition - here