Thursday, 01 August 2019 12:23

Tried & Tested Beaufort London Rake & Ruin

Review 
Beaufort London rake ruin gin Hogarth men's fragrance best rated tried testedInspired by the debauched scenes of Georgian London imagined by the social satirist and cartoonist William Hogarth (1697-1764), ‘Rake & Ruin’ is the second edition in the ‘Revenants’ Collection from BeauFort London - Read more about the first one here

‘Rake and Ruin’ imagines moments from ‘A Rake’s Progress’ – one of Hogarth’s most infamous works – where protagonist Tom Rakewell is bought to ruin by high living, prostitutes and gambling. The fragrance captures a debauched evening in a tavern, where gin flows, good times are had, and the slide begins... 

The fragrance is paired by a new offering, Beaufort London’s sister company: ‘BeauFort Spirit’. Beaufort Spirit has produced a fine sippng gin, utilising the same botanical ingredients as the fragrance, with a uniquely bold touch of smoked water. 

Fragrance notes: Top: (Gin - Juniper, coriander, angelica, orange, lemon, orris, liquorice, Szechwan and pink pepper), lemon, cypress, pine needle 

Heart and base notes: Violet, castoreum, costus, ambrarome, labdanum, amber, smokey musk, sandalwood and dry woods. 

Left - Beaufort London - Rake & Ruin - 50ml - £115 

TheChicGeek says, “Gin and perfume? Where do I sign?! ‘Gin Lane’ is one of the most famous images of Georgian London, and, it still resonates today, especially with the hipster gin revival. Fever Tree anyone?!

This fragrance is lighter and more botanical than previous Beaufort London scents. That signature smokiness is there, but there is violet and soft amber. No note really sticks its head out. I’d say this feels more feminine compared to other Beaufort London scents. And as for the gin, rocket fuel!”

Disclosure - The products were gifted by Beaufort London to review

Barcelona top menswear brands Mans Concept Menswear Jamie AlvarezGood menswear is all about timing. Knowing exactly where we are right now and where we’re going next is paramount to design sophisticated product which resonates. It’s intuitive and is the sign of a great designer. 

Left - Mans Concept Menswear's Jaime Alvarez

Hitting the mark and making menswear waves is 25 years old Barcelona Fashion Week star, Jaime Alvarez. His label ‘Mans Concept Menswear’ has quickly become the hot ticket of Barcelona, winning Best Emerging Designer multiple times, and offers a combination of dressy yet cool menswear which wouldn’t look out of place on Harry Styles or any red carpet.

"Everyone believes that MANS comes from man, but, it actually comes from my grandpa’s german surname ‘Demans’,” says Alvarez. “My grandpa is the person I admire the most, he made me appreciate a good suit and taught me how important it is in men’s dressing.

“I covert finely constructed clothes made from good fabrics that last a lifetime.” he says. “But, I look for more relaxed tailoring for everyday life.”

Barcelona top menswear brands Mans Concept Menswear Jamie AlvarezAlvarez founded Mans Concept Menswear in 2018 straight after graduating from the Istituto Europeo Di Design (IED Madrid) in 2017. 

“I've always had the idea of creating my own brand.” he says. “Everything started two years into my final project where I presented twelve looks under my brand concept.” he says. “I’d found an enormous gap in menswear between the classic tailor’s suit to an extravagant design that I personally believe no one would wear on the daily life, so I believed that there would be a place for MANS.”

Right - Mans Concept Menswear SS20

Huma Humayun, Fashion & Features Editor, Schön! magazine says, “The brand is definitely one to watch. Jaime is not only the most exciting young designer at 080 Barcelona Fashion Week, but holds his own amongst much more experienced and established brands.”

Humayun was on the judging panel when Mans Concept Menswear won Best Emerging Designer for the third time at 080 Barcelona Fashion Week in February, 2019. “It was simply the strongest collection, both in terms of originality and, I believe, commercial viability.” she says. “Perhaps it was not as 'commercial' in the traditional sense as some of the other collections in that category, but to compete on an international stage, one must also bring something fresh to the table.” says Humayun.

Proudly Spanish, Mans Concept Menswear is made entirely made in Spain in a little atelier in Madrid, except the shirts, that are made in Seville, Alvarez’s home town. There are four people in his team and seven more working at the ateliers.

Based around tailoring, Alvarez, is trying to push the boundaries of masculinity yet with very beautiful clothes. “Masculinity is an attitude whether you wear an ostrich feather shirt or an anthracite grey blazer. We decontextualise fabrics that from the beginning are for women and use in menswear pieces without losing the virility and masculinity.” he says.

Barcelona top menswear brands Mans ConceptFor his AW19 collection Alvarez took to India for inspiration and, his latest collection, SS20, it was all about a night in Vienna. 

“I get my inspiration from many different places; from guys I see on the street in my hometown in Sevilla, La Luisana. There I design the majority of the collections, but it's curious because it’s far from Andalusian folklore, but there are pieces with a southern see through inspiration.” says Alvarez. “I take a lot of inspiration from fabrics, normally, I investigate fabrics and from there, the sketches.” he says.

Alvarez doesn’t garner much inspiration from the current menswear market and looks to the old masters. “I’m tired of sportswear, etc.” he says.  “I love to have references from artistic tendencies and iconic dressmakers as Cristobal Balenciaga. His skill with fabrics and patterns still have me fascinated.”

Just shown at 080 Barcelona Fashion Week in June 2019, his latest collection ‘A Night In Vienna’ was a confection of brooding tailoring with sheer pieces and elegant satin sashes.

“With this collection we were looking for a maturity on the patterns as well as in the couture through the details compared to our other collections.” says Alvarez. “This time, the MANS man travels to Vienna to be captivated and nourish himself on the romanticism that involves not just the art and the culture in the Austrian capital, but in the minimalistic and solemn way of opera and music conservatories.

Left - Mans Concept Menswear AW19

“This collection is more focused on details; lined blazers in white poplin instead of the classic lined tailoring. The flaps are full of eyelets, trousers topped with mini satin flaps and waterfall fringing.” he says.

“It's a collection that maybe does not flash on the runway, but a closer look and there are surprises. On the colour palette it’s much more sober and defined, when compared to the last collection where I made a more crazy colour study, with colour touches of burgundies, sunset oranges, and pinks."

Barcelona top menswear brands Mans Concept Menswear Jamie AlvarezAlvarez is referring to his AW19 collection, which is just about to hit his website, and was inspired by India and featured florals, exaggerated lapels and knitted tank tops. A vibrant Indian colour palette of fuschia, marigold yellow and green gave this a collection a summery feel with the highlights being delicate leaf cutouts in soft tailoring.

Humayun, says, “The (SS20) collection clearly demonstrated Jaime's progression as a designer. It was sophisticated both in terms of ideas and technique. It was much more restrained than the previous collection, in terms of the palette, but still had shots of bold colour. I think Jaime has really mastered how to introduce colour into his collections and it's one of his main strengths - that and his attention to detail. I also loved the accessories.

“It's not easy to achieve an impact on the catwalk AND produce wearable garments, but I feel the brand does this very successfully. It's tailoring with a high fashion edge, for a man who wants to stand out without being overly flamboyant." she says.
“It will be exciting to see what Jaime does next season. Although he's developed a strong signature, each collection is very distinct.” says Humayun.

Any young and gifted designer will reach a stage in their career where they have to think about the next step. Do you stay a big fish in a small pond, or take the leap? “This was our last show at 080 Barcelona Fashion and we are looking for new platforms to present the new collection.” says Alvarez. British Fashion Council, are you listening?!

Right - Mans Concept Menswear SS20 at 080 Barcelona Fashion in June, 2019

Tuesday, 30 July 2019 16:35

Tried & Tested Manual Grooming

Review 
Manual grooming shampoo wrinkle warrior power shampoo mr moisturiser men's best rated tried testedManual launches with a focus on ED (erectile dysfunction) and hair loss, but will expand the platform to include solutions and knowledge on everything from sex to skin, and hair to general wellbeing. 

I’m trying their grooming products which consists of Mr Moisturiser, Power Shampoo & Wrinkle Warrior.

The moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid and allantoin which soothes, protects and regenerates the skin. The shampoo is infused with natural goodness from ginger, sage, olive oil extracts, with caffeine which stimulates hair follicles, biotin which boosts keratin production and saw palmetto which is proven to increase hair density.

The Wrinkle Warrior hydrates, firms and rejuvenates skin. Vitamin C fights the signs of ageing and neutralises skin damage caused by UV and pollution, coenzyme Q10, aiding the skin in regeneration and repair, and triple hyaluronic acid, which makes skin feel hydrated, plump and healthy.

Left - Manual - ‘Skin Kit & Shampoo' - Power Shampoo - 250ml, Mr Moisturiser - 100ml, Wrinkle Warrior - 50ml - £39 every 2 months on a subscription

TheChicGeek says, “Manual is similar to the American Hims brand - Read more here - which also aims to be more of a wellness brand which includes grooming alongside other issues affecting men both physically and emotionally.

I tried all three products and they all have a reassuring thickness. FYI - The moisturiser actually smells like Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male. I like the pump dispenser for the shampoo. It’s much better for guys who use a lot less and wastes less.

As for the Wrinkle Warrior, I don’t really see the point of neutralising skin damage caused by UV if you don’t put an SPF in the moisturiser, but, anyway. 

I can’t report anything radical happening with any of these products, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like them. I like the shampoo the most.

They want you to sign up to a subscription, so the pricing isn’t clear for individual products, which unless you’ve tried them before hand I guess many guys would be reluctant to do?”

Disclosure - The products were gifted by Manual to review

Review 
Goldfield Banks Pacific Rock Moss men's fragrance best rated tried testedInspired by the southern coastline of New South Wales, Goldfield & Banks’ Pacific Rock Moss is a fresh, sea spray scent on a base of cedarwood. The perfurmer is Francois Merle-Baudoin, who has used moss, Italian lemon, sage, geranium and Virginia cedar to express the home Australian coast of the brand.

TheChicGeek says, “Marine fragrances are hard to instil much depth into. The fresh, aqua top is always synthetic and, often, smells as such. The most interesting bit of this is the dry-down. It’s a light, soft and warm wood which fades into the background turning from aquatic blue to a soft sunset terracotta.” 

Goldfield & Banks - Pacific Rock Moss - 100ml - £135

Gucci quality is rubbish trends menswearGucci has been a fashion phenomenon over the last few years. It’s quirky, geek-chic and eccentric aesthetic has caught the world’s imagination and the sales have reflected that. When creative director, Alessandro Michele, arrived in January 2015 yearly sales were around the €4billion mark. In 2017, they had grown to €6.2billion, and last year it topped €8billion. It is forecast to smash the €10billion threshold in 2020 and is the star amongst Kering’s stable of brands.

But, growth is slowing, and while the Gucci look has been a barn-storming success, the reality of the product and its quality issues could be the reason for turning off many consumers. People talk, especially when things go wrong.

Left - Gucci's sales growth is slowing. Is the quality making consumers get outta here?

Though Gucci’s revenue was still up a healthy 16.3% to €4.61bn in the first half of this year, it is far below the 30%-plus growth levels the market had become used to. Gucci now accounts for 40% of Kering’s revenue and has ambitious aims to overtake Chanel and Louis Vuitton as the world’s number one luxury house in terms of turnover.

This huge growth has seen queues outside stores on streets like Bond Street and GG belts all over social media, but many consumers have been disappointed by the quality of the product and won’t be burnt twice. 

Speak to buyers or sales assistants at luxury stores about their thoughts on Gucci’s quality issues and they simply nod and shrug their shoulders, acknowledging what a growing numbers of consumers are realising. Gucci’s product is complicated and in order to make it at a price they can sell it at, they have, arguably, lowered the quality. Though the margins must also be huge.

When a brand is hot and hyped the quality isn’t questioned as much. But, the minute it starts to peak, these issues quickly become more noticeable and people aren’t afraid to tell their friends. This feels where Gucci is right now. While this isn’t particularly scientific, here are a few examples of Gucci’s quality issues from recent customers which could be slowing their growth.

Richard, 36, from London, says, “Like a mug I purchased the fluffy horsebit slippers when they first came out, they were lovely! Super cool, I was floating around fashion week in Milan like I owned the place! But, I was defo sucked in. 

“After 7 wears, the fur started to fall out, so I took them back to Gucci to get a replacement or repaired and they said they wouldn’t and couldn’t. So, I now have half furry slippers that are just discarded as they look like they have mange…” he says.

These famous ‘Princetown’ loafers were one of Gucci’s first hit products and continues to retail for around £750. “I haven’t shopped there since, not even for the mega tailoring they do now. The quality for price just isn’t there for me. Yes it’s cool, as it’s Gucci, but you have to draw the line somewhere!” says Richard.

Gucci quality is rubbish trends menswear

Jess, 38, from London, says, “The runway pieces and handbags look as good as ever but the high volume, lower entry price point items look and feel cheaper.

“I bought a scarf about 2 years ago. The print is amazing but it's paper thin - the wool is virtually transparent. Initially, I wanted to purchase a GG logo belt, but I could see the leather wasn't good quality and wouldn't last. I have an Hermes belt that's over 10 years old and going strong - the Gucci one wouldn't last a year in my opinion.” she says. “They seem to be using lower quality materials in some instances, I'm assuming this is to increase profits.” says Jess.

There was a story of a well known London department not being able to add security tags on to those white Gucci logo T-shirts because they were so thin it was putting holes in the fabric. They were retailing for well over £300.

One respondent, wishing to remain anonymous, says, “I mean the quality of their product is pretty much on a level with the high street. They produce those flimsy t-shirts that you can’t actually wash as the fabric is too delicate and you certainly can’t put a security tag or pin in it as it will mark/leave a hole.”

“The embroidery work on those sweatshirts they were pumping out at the start of the resurgence were hit and miss (they looked like a machine had done them to make it look like it was crafted by hand but obviously wasn’t). And threads just looked loose and unkept.” they says.

Right - While the ideas and imagery is fantastic, do the goods live up to expectations?

“But maybe the most disappointing scenario is their loafers. I’ve got a few pairs and all of them, after the first wear, the insoles become loose and started to peel away exposing a sticky glue like substance that you have to stand in if you want to wear them... there is nothing luxury about that at all.”

Lois Spencer-Tracey, 36, blogger, www.bunnipunch.co.uk says, “The quality of Gucci could definitely be better. Some brands that are seen as on par produce products that are quality, but for the same price.”

“I have bought a couple of pieces from Gucci.” she says. “I have bought one of their statement tee’s which was definitely not worth the £375 mark and I decided not to purchase on of their trademark trainers as the quality of the shoe was so bad for £600.

"I opted out of buying some Gucci trainers and bought the Balenciaga Triple S which I love and have worn so much. Lot better quality." she says.

“Gucci has gone down the more fashionable/trend route over the last 5 years and with that I think the quality has sadly taken a backseat. The collection has grown vastly too.” says Lois. “It has definitely made me rethink shopping there in the future.” she says.

While nobody is questioning Gucci’s creativity and design, it is disappointing that their ideas aren’t up to the standards many expect, especially when there is enough margin within the pricing to produce a decent product while keeping margins high. 

Many consumers have been sucked in by the hype, but have been left with a bitter taste in their mouth due to the quality. This is something they could rectify, but could their race to become the number one luxury goods house in the world mean too many quality corners are being cut and is their recent slowing growth a sign of this quality backlash from consumers?

Below - Gucci Pre-Fall 2019

Gucci quality is rubbish trends menswear

Friday, 26 July 2019 13:07

Jacket Required Menswear Picks SS20

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 Collectif vintage menswearFirmly established as London’s main menswear trade show, Jacket Required offers a chance, midway through the main buying season, to gauge the health of wholesale. While noticeably quiet on the first day - it could be the heatwave - brands were reporting a case of quality over quantity when it came to visitors and buyers. Here’s what caught the eye at Jacket Required for SS20:

COLLECTIF

Introducing menswear for the first time, Collectif, is a specialist in new vintage. Established over 19 years ago, with its origins in Camden, and now with 3 shops in London and 1 in Brighton, Collectif is offering authentic rockabilly menswear looks inspired by the 60s and 70s. Mod style knits and rocker leather jackets come in affordable price points like polo shirts for £39 and a checked wide collar shacket for £50.

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 UPDFG Italian skatewear menswearUPDFG

While the name doesn’t mean anything specifically, UPDFG is based in Milan and is a made in Italy skate-wear label.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 Boita bags menswearBOITA

Founder Adam Boita was doing some research into his family name and found that Boita comes from Piedmont in the northern Italy. The ‘boita’ is a kind of box used in agriculture to spray the vines and orchards in Italy. Inspired by this, the product comes in eco-conscious ‘vegan friendly’ leather, made in China, will full provenance, retailing for £249.

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 YSC menswearYSC

After a soft launch, last year, YSC - Your Sample Collective - is a new British menswear brand of British Caribbean origins reflecting the everyman with a quality that would comfortable sit in a luxury department store, but without the price tag. New for SS20 is Portuguese seersucker and an easy to wear hybrid bomber with contrasting back panel all made in London.

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 Aviation 88 bags menswearAVIATION 88

Never under estimate novelty in today’s fashion landscape. Aviation 88 takes the classic flight jacket and turns it into a generous back pack for £150. Top Gun!

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 Atlanta Mocassin menswearATLANTA MOCASSIN

Atlanta Mocassin is a Portuguese-based footwear label established in 1987 specialising in moccasin type slip-ons. Hoping to push their men’s styles into the UK market for the first time, these are locally handmade in the north of Portugal use the finest materials in car shoe and casual loafer styles. Prices around £130.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 Afends hemp menswearAFENDS

With CBD being the flavour of the month in nutrition and beauty, it was inevitable that hemp would start to become more common as a resource for clothing. Australian label, Afends, says “no tree or plant species on earth has the commercial, economic, and environmental potential of hemp.” They want you to join their ‘Hemp Revolution’ in their loose basic styles, all proudly displaying their hemp origins.

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 RM Williams Marc Newson menswearR.M. WILLIAMS x MARC NEWSON

Australian made Chelsea boot specialist, R.M. Williams has teamed up with product designer, Marc Newson, on a pair of contemporary boots in a full range of colours. Retailing for an entry price of £275, they have the back tug ingeniously knitted into the side elastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 Goral trainers Sheffield menswearGORAL

A Sheffield based footwear manufacturer has launched its own brand of luxury trainers under the family name, Goral. Handmade with 200 manufacturing steps, the standout is the ‘Boulsover’ in Dunlop green.

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 From The First boots menswearFROM THE FIRST

Based around the fashion Chelsea boot, From The First, is a British brand making in Italy. Built on the concept of combining classic Italian traditions, whilst celebrating the authentic, laid back feel of early American rock ‘n’ roll culture, these boots could easily be double the price with a designer name attached. Retailing for around £400.

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket Required trade shows trends SS20 Mephisto Jumper menswearMEPHISTO 'JUMPER'

After a 12 year hiatus, Mephisto relaunches the ‘Jumper’ in a wide rainbow of colours. All made by hand with natural materials in that solid Mephisto way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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