The first day of LCM, London's men's fashion week, started. At the end of a long day TheChicGeek's thoughts about the menswear business at the moment and how we need to move away from 'Instagram' fashion and get back to the fundamentals of design.
I have a new found respect for Neil Barrett’s work after meeting him. While he’s never produced ‘look-at-me-internet-attention' grabbing clothes, he does enough to move his brand on, each and every season, and was a pioneer of the ‘athleisure’ trend which has filtered into the various echelons of menswear.
Left - Neil Barrett & his new 'Muse'!
I didn’t fully appreciate his designs until I saw them in the display which is currently on in Harvey Nichols new #Project109 menswear exhibition space. This are designs which could be easily dismissed as simple or minimal, but on closer inspection there's a hell of a lot more going on.
Harvey Nichols has asked Neil to look at his archive and display and reproduce favourite pieces from his collections from the past ten years. He says he saves every look from each of the four collections he produces every year, so that’s some serious storage facility.
After working for Gucci, Prada and establishing his own eponymous brand in 1999, he continued the minimal menswear aesthetic, but more recently started to introduce signature Barrett designs such as the chevron sweatshirt and lightning bolt.
‘ORIGINALS: Vol #1’ is a re-edition of 12 original designs, including the iconic buffalo jackets, leather-detailed coats and T-Shirts, jacquard suiting, colour-blocked shirts, and the double-bonded sweatshirts.
About to show his SS17 collection in Milan, Neil said he was inspired by his childhood in the 1970s in Devon, so the shapes and colours of items relate to items he used to wear then, but reimagined for now with his same attention to detail, design and modern fabrics.
Go visit - Harvey Nichols Project 109
Below - An example of the exhibit from Neil Barrett's archive
If you’ve been taking notes from the latest men’s collection from Gucci, Cruise ’17 to be precise, you’ll have seen that they’ve looked to Britain and our anarchic past and created classically punked denim.
Both - Gucci Cruise '17
I’ve been tempted to bleach some jeans for a while now, ever since a splash back, while cleaning, left an interesting finish.
Below - An original skinhead
Take a pair of jeans that have been languishing at the back of the wardrobe. Look for something slim or tapered. Make it a pair you were going to chuck out, so you’ve got nothing to lose if you don’t like the finish.
Left - Test the bleach on a pair of unwanted jeans so you get an idea of the finish
Don’t use your favourite pair of jeans. Look for a pair where you like the fit, but not the wash or colour.
Left - Stuff the legs with newspaper to control the bleach to one side of the jeans
I’ve gone for an old pair of Lee 101s which have braces attached which only adds to the skinhead look. Im taking the braces off before I start as I don’t want these splattered with bleach.
Get some standard household bleach. You can wear gloves if you prefer.
Lie the jeans out flat in the bath tub or shower tray or do outside. Stuff the legs with newspaper to control the bleach to one side.
Left - Mohicans are optional!
Pretend you're Jackson Pollock and liberally drip the bleach over the jeans.
Left - Use standard household bleach
Let the jeans dry, best left overnight, then do the same on the other side.
Right - The bleach will look a bit green, but don't worry, it's working its punk magic!
Use a bucket to rinse or throw into the washing machine.
If you want a stronger contrast you can use the bleach directly. For something more subtle you can dilute the bleach with water and apply with a sponge.
The longer you leave on the bleach the whiter/lighter it will become.
Left - Hang the jeans on the washing line to dry
It will look a bit sludgy green as though it has been attacked by Slimmer from Ghostbusters. Don’t PANIC. It gets worse before it gets better.
Left - When you've done both sides put them on a cold rinse in the washing machine
Below - Skinhead Geek! You can opt classic skinhead with a Brutus shirt or, maybe, a Fred Perry polo shirt and Dr Martens or you can take inspiration from the Gucci show above
Left - TheChicGeek practising what he preaches and making WWD's street style pictures during LCM
Have you ever been to the beach and been too scared for a pair of trunks and instead opted for a pair of boring swim shorts? Or, are you one of those boys worried about tan lines?
Left - The unzipped 'Meander' short
Well, there’s something new in the world of men’s swimwear thanks to the Swedish brand, Panos Emporio. The new ‘Meander’ swim short is designed by Swedish beach and swimwear designer, Panos Papadopoulos, who has, for the last 30 years, developed new swimwear trends.
Meander’s design was created out of a real problem that Panos had himself. He didn’t want tan lines without changing shorts.
How does it work? Guys can open up the sides of Meander with hidden zippers. The fabric rolls up, smoothly fastens with push bottoms in the front and the back and , voila, becomes an elegant shorter brief.
Right - Here's the science bit
By opening up the zippers, you also get full mobility for beach and water sports. With Meander, men no longer need to choose and get the best of both worlds: a sleek design and a tan without stripes on the thighs.
If you're feeling shy, roll down, and I bet by the end of the holiday it will be trunks all the way!
Below - Feeling overdressed?! Not a problem
Oh, what a night! TheChicGeek celebrated his 7th birthday in style with ginger themed festivities. Blogging years are a bit like dog years, but he doesn't look a day older than when he started! Seven full-on years have made him into the true chic geek he is today.
Held at the Farah store on Covent Garden's Earlham Street, the great and good of London's fashion crowd came out to wish him 'Happy Birthday'. Here's his scrapbook from the night. (He doesn't remember that much!)
Left - TheChicGeek is ready to get this party started!
Left - Jagermeister & ginger beer kept everybody's thirst quenched
Left - One night only! DJs B&Q
Left - Happy Birthday ChicGeek!! Seven candles for seven blog years.
Left - TheChicGeek's bespoke ginger cake
Right - TheChicGeek doesn't usually eat in public, but he couldn't resist a slice of his ginger birthday cake. Delicious!
If you haven’t heard of American grooming brand, Malin+Goetz, before, where have you been? I remember first seeing their products when I started TheChicGeek. That was over 7 years ago and, now, they are opening two stores in London simultaneously: one on Upper Street in Islington and the other on Covent Garden’s Monmouth Street.
Left - Malin+Goetz's new Islington store. Open now
The brand was founded by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz 12 years ago in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood. Over the years, their award winning formulations and iconic packaging have expanded along with their growing portfolio of stores in New York and Los Angeles.
Malin+Goetz products have become synonymous with healthy skin. Every product has been formulated with trusted natural ingredients along with performance focused tech- nologies to deliver exceptional results in the most gentle way – even for the most sensitive skin.
Right - Wake up with zest! Malin+Goetz Bergamot Body Wash - £17
Now, Malin+Goetz open their first London flagships (as well as their first UK e-commerce site www.malinandgoetz.co.uk). Each London shop has its own distinct architectural design. The local firm, Jonathan Tuckey Design has produced two concepts. Islington is in a late Victorian building and features a dynamic shelving grid fabricated from cedar plywood that undulates from horizontal shelving to covering ceiling. A new shop front incorporates a period curved glass entryway, and a stunning green fascia and shop front and also includes an antique apothecary counter from the late 19th Century.
The Monmouth Street’s shop front is imagined as a large scale retail television. Almost becoming a kinetic diorama from the street, you enter the shop from a velvet lined tunnel to discover an elegant dashed shelving system of compressed dark paper supported by dowels on a birch plywood wall. The ceiling is fabricated from seamless reflective material that continues to enhance the concept of retail theatre.
Malin+Goetz Stores - 146 Upper Street, Islington, 6 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden
Left - Malin+Goetz also do candles. Malin+Goetz Tobacco Candle - £37
WIN - Competition!
Look out for the Malin+Goetz stencils appearing on a street near you. If you spot one, take a picture and post it to Instagram using the hashtag #MGUK and tagging @malinandgoetz and you may be chosen to go in store and collect an exclusive Malin+Goetz prize. Good luck!
Right - Don't look up! Look for the Malin+Goetz stencils on the street
TheChicGeek weekly magazine vlog includes celebrating his 7th birthday party with a ginger themed party at the Farah store in Covent Garden plus the new summer rooftop opened at John Lewis, Louis Vuitton has an exhibition running until the middle of June of commissions and objects from their archives, The Perfume Society launched their 'Discovery Box' in time for Father's Day plus a review of Natura Siberica, a grooming range made from ingredients from Siberia. If Vladimir Putin used a grooming range it would be this...
True blue, TheChicGeek uses bold aquas and sky blues to create pops of colour on a clean and fresh base of white. Never one to blend into the background, TheChicGeek stands out amongst the background of brilliant white chalk by mixing the primary shades of blue. How big, how blue, how beautiful!
Get involved #WhiteOut
Credits - Shoes - Blue Sebago Docksides Ariaprene, White Jeans G-Star RAW, Bomber Jacket - Villain, Jean Jacket - GAP, Watch - Nixon, Bum-Bag - UTC100, Bag - UTC00, Shirt - Topman, Blue Neckerchief With Piping - Thomas Pink, Blue Neckerchief - John Lewis, Blue Fragrance - Marc Jacobs ‘Rain’, Fragrance - Miller Harris Étui Noir
Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN
More images below
Bill Richardson at online clothing retailer Kings and Dukes, shares his tips on how to wear a favourite T-shirt that is past its best
Everybody has that one favourite T-shirt, and no matter how old, faded, and ill-fitting it becomes, we can’t bear to part from it. Whether it holds fond memories or we just love the way it looks, we can become incredibly sentimental about our favourite top, even if it has become a shadow of its former self. Whether it’s a football top, a band tee, or a just a shirt you love the look of, here’s how you can breathe new life into it.
An old tee that looks like it has a past to it can make a great focal point for any outfit and effortlessly set you apart from the crowd. Wearing clothes with a story behind them is a fashion statement in its own right in the disposable age that we live in. Your favourite old tee will be a great conversation starter too, as well as the perfect way of expressing yourself through what you choose to wear.
Contrast the nostalgia of a faded replica football top or band tee with the clean and crisp lines of a new pair of jeans and a jacket to make a bold statement. Alternatively, blend it seemlessly with a pair of jeans in a relaxed fit and a pair of well-worn trainers for a cohesive look.
If your favourite top becomes worn to the point you don’t feel its appropriate even for the most casual of situations, then don’t despair — you can always use it as pyjamas. If you don’t feel like retiring it quite yet, then you could use it as a gym top instead. However, you may not want to go this route if you’re incredibly sentimental about the top, as it will quickly deteriorate and have to go the journey.
If you’re still holding on to a much-loved and well-worn T-shirt, then keep these tips in mind so you can keep it as an integral part of your wardrobe for years to come.
I don’t usually feature Kickstarter campaigns. I like to wait until something is concrete and there’s something to see. Otherwise, the website can become a graveyard of sartorial dreams that never quite materialised.
Left - MDN English trainers in ChicGeek 'ginger'
I met Jamie Harris from shoe brand, Modern English, at LCM, last summer, and the recent Jacket Required men’s trade show in February. He had finished product and from what I could see it looked really good.
Here's the Modern English story. Until the 70s, there were hundreds of shoe factories in England – capable of turning out almost 180 million shoes per year and the majority of shoes bought in the UK were made locally. Today, only a handful of shoemakers remain and imports account for 98% of UK shoe sales.
Founder and Creative Director, Jamie Harris, believed England's craft footwear industry could only survive if its products were relevant to today's consumers and, in 2013, Modern English was established with the intention of ‘evolving', rather than ‘preserving’ this 600 year old Northampton-based industry.
The name, Modern English, is their manifesto; everything they make will be made in England, and will be modern in its thinking. He likes to point out that “Modern English is NOT another 'Heritage Brand’".
Right - MDN English sandals in this clean, polished white
Keeping it simple, there are just 2 styles of shoes - trainers & sandals - in 6 bold colours, all made in Northampton, the home of English-made shoes.
He first produced a small run (100), because he wasn't sure how they’d be received, and they immediately sold out. He's now doing an exclusive collaboration with Natural Shoe Store which will be a limited-edition of 65 pairs and available at their stores in mid-July.
Now, he’s decided he wants to go straight to consumers and decided to start selling by Kickstarter. He’s got the factory, made the all the mistakes and, now, you can grab a pair at the remarkable price of £125. He can keep costs low because the construction of the shoe has been simplified which, I think, also adds to its physical appeal.
A pair of contemporary and stylish made in England shoes for £125? It’s definitely worth a punt.
Watch the video below