When one hears the word tailor, the image of an older gentleman in a suit, chalk in hand, instantly comes to mind. Indeed, tailoring is viewed upon by many as an art of old whose life long apprenticeship is only mastered by well lived men who dedicated their whole lives to it. Although this isn’t far from the truth, the art of tailoring is currently luring new talents into its world: young men bet on perpetuating the century-old tradition of making one look his best.
One such talent is Ayres Gonçalo. Born to a family with strong roots in the tailoring business, he developed a passion for the art at an early age. Growing up in his grandfather’s atelier, to this date one of Porto’s most renowned tailors, he eagerly watched and learned the trade over the years. When the opportunity to study abroad rose, he set course for London’s Savile Row having joined Gieves & Hawkes, where he crafted suits for Prince Charles and Gordon Brown among others. Then followed Hong Kong and New York where his outstanding bespoke creations continued to impress with awe.
Earlier this year and driven by the desire to start his own brand, Ayres returned to his hometown of Porto, where he opened business with fellow tailor and associate Paulo Rodrigues. Laboratorio di Sartoria is not your usual tailor atelier: upon arrival you’re greeted by bold cobalt blue walls, a reflection of these high spirited craftsmen, now in their 30’s. The overall relaxed vibe and good mood is only surpassed by their professionalism and love for the craft easily perceived just a few minutes into the conversation. As a new generation of tailors, their interests and know how are much more up to date and dynamic, allowing the customer to feel not only comfortable but confident that his vision will be perfectly understood, which may pose a challenge with old school tailors. Offering made to measure shirts starting at €80 and two suiting lines, one made to measure starting at €500 and another bespoke fully handmade from €1.800, they offer the perfect chance to get hold of outstanding one of a kind pieces.
One of the areas which suffered a substantial technological leap during the recent years has been information in all its forms. Digital media in particular, experienced ground breaking advances which pushed the boundaries of once more traditional business sectors. Fashion, as a leading industry in innovation and responding to market demands, was one who underwent massive alterations when faced with an outdated business model, restricted by physical and spatial limitations and a local clientele.
Suddenly, shops are given the opportunity to reach a worldwide audience through an online component, making their traditional approach not entirely obsolete but merely a small portion of a universe of possibilities. Within this new market, competition happens on a global scale which led retailers to push themselves to the point where they are currently offering much more than just garments. Nowadays, shops are selling us a concept: they’re shaping a specific aesthetic and universe around them to draw target consumers and make them resonate with their offerings.
Think about it, most online shopping websites give you the whole package: editorials, styling, blog, interviews, music, videos, you name it. They’re more reminiscent of a magazine than an actual shop and that’s exactly what makes us come back for more. At some point we develop a special connection to that particular universe whose content hits a common ground, ultimately leading to a sense of identification. So much so, that they even open their backstage doors, allowing us to catch a glimpse of the whole process, from runways and showrooms up to the selling stage. With so much going on, there’s no telling where they’re headed but I for one, can’t wait to see…
1 - Très Bien staff @ the Our Legacy Office; 2 - Buying A.P.C. for SS12
1 - Por Vocação @ Paul Smith showroom; 2 - @ Boglioli showroom
A couple of days ago I was contacted by my friend Álvaro, founder of portuguese bespoke menswear brand Agva, to check a few of his recent pieces before he delivered them to clients. Bet on creating unique items according to the client’s specifications, nothing is overlooked during the manufacturing process which takes place entirely in Portugal. Having nothing short of perfection in mind, their offerings range from shirts to full suits and even shoes. The final pieces I had access to included several shirt models and a 2 button blazer with an outstanding attention to detail. Here’s one of my favourites, more to come…
Houndstooth widespread collar shirt with french cuffs and mother of pearl buttons
The birth of baby 7 billion was hugely hyped around the globe with media of all sorts covering the story incessantly. In a world continuously growing at such a pace, the struggle for individuality is one that takes place on all levels. As one of the ultimate forms of self expression, personal style is often a conscious statement about how one perceives himself and decides on the image to present the world. When that mental representation clashes with what is social accepted or imposed, say in a working environment, there’s an inherent repulsive reaction towards those criteria.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one with friends who hold a grudge against suiting up simply because they’re required to do so on a daily basis. While some might argue that it’s an uncomfortable attire, the most common underlying cause is the fact they feel that on top of looking like everybody else, they have been deprived of their freedom of expression and individuality. Allow me to disagree…formal doesn’t have to be boring nor make you look like a clone. Sure, you’ll be wearing a suit like many other men out there, but it’s nothing unlike sporting a pair of jeans: how many people do you come across wearing similar or even the same model as you?
With the amount of offerings in the current market, dressing up can perfectly portray your personality as much as any other look. Assuring an appropriate fit assumes a leading role, but besides it the possibilities are endless: playful inner linings, collar detailings, patterned fabrics, color combinations and last but not least accessories. All these are powerful allies when it comes to setting you apart from the rest of the pack.
For those who instantly had a visceral response to the title, let me start by saying this is not a smoking symphatetic post. In this time and age, we’re all perfectly aware of the hazards smoking poses for one’s health and although I do smoke, the focus of this post is to present an unbiased opinion on the impact this action may have in visual representations.
Ever since cigarettes became mainstream, they were immediately associated with a glamorous lifestyle. In the early years when tobacco companies where the only ones aware of the associated dangers, smoking was seen as something reserved for successful gentleman who had it all: career, house, car and wife (remember the advertising campaigns?). Movie stars, singers and society’s most respectful were constantly spotted puffing and to an extent, it became a trademark for some.
So much so, that some of the most iconic pictures of these renowned personalities featured them enjoying a smoke. Odor and hazards aside, if you focus solely on the aesthetic aspect of these pictures there’s an undeniable sexiness associated with that eerie layer of smoke overlapping the human silhouette. It’s such a powerful statement that up to this day photographers and movie directors make the most of it to capture unique frames or depict certain personality traits. Although sex appeal is inherent to the person itself, in these pics smokes are outstanding allies…
Long goes the time when men relied solely on their trustworthy tailors to keep up to date with the fashion demands of their social agenda. Garments were crafted according to each customer’s needs and liking. Nowadays, a massified fashion industry is hell-bent on delivering a never ending stock of ready-to-wear alternatives at the lowest price: after all, it’s just business…
Thankfully, the tailoring tradition has managed not only to withstand against all odds, but actually thrive in adversity due to the current “retro revival” moment we’re experiencing and the fact people are looking for better quality, unique items. Apart from this, there are those who despite the global change remained faithful to custom made garments, and not necessarily because they’re wealthy. I believe there’s a common misconception where people inherently associate custom made to hefty price tags, which isn’t entirely true.
The price tag depends on a variety of factors such as the item itself, fabric and of course, the craftsman behind it. World renowned tailors may charge you absurd amounts, but then again so do their designers counterparts. As with so many other things in life the key is balance: finding a quality/price ratio that suits you is crucial. Once you do, you’ll see that pieces tailored to your liking may perfectly compete with similar RTW alternatives, with the perk of being unique and perfect fitting. Say you choose a Thomas Mason fabric for a shirt or a Zegna for a suit, the end result may very well be cheaper than the same versions purchased at a retailer.
If you haven’t done so already give it a try, you might be in for a pleasant surprise…
When it comes to outerwear, choosing among the myriad of available options may be intimidating at times. Apart from the so called “traditional” models which we all should have in our closets, there are alternatives for everyone out there: heavyweight versions for those who like to sport nothing more than a shirt under it, or lighter ones for the layering adepts. No matter which group you fall into, you need to get your basics covered, starting with classics in neutral shades such as navy or black. I’m a supporter of color, but when it comes to investing considerable amounts (outerwear doesn’t come cheap), you want to have a few all rounders. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that neutrals are the only way to go, especially if basics are no longer an issue and you’re looking for a new addition to spice things up.
To those of you on the next level, aiming to step away from the outerwear comfort zone, there are two paths: go for bold design or experience with color/pattern. As I’m not the biggest fan of overly designed items, I’ll address the colorway. The first thing to bear in mind is that the visual impact is proportional to the size of the garment itself, which colorwise, poses a challenge as few other pieces pack such a punch as jackets/coats. So, the choice of color is crucial: a safe bet on not so usual colors would be camel or hunter green, whereas if you really want to stand out, neon like shades such as yellow, orange or royal blue are the way to go.
If you throw pattern into the mix, the task of finding the perfect piece becomes all the more difficult, but the outcome may be that more exciting. Achieving a balance between both is the key to success, but requires a keen eye, so when in doubt go with solid colored fabrics. Experiencing with bold outerwear is not for the faint of heart, but when you get the hang of it you’ll have a hard time going back to classics.
While Winter has finally caught up with us, the atypical seasonal weather still allowed me to sport one of my favourite looks. As I mentioned earlier, wearing a blazer in hot weather calls for the right choice of fabric. This herringbone linen blazer from Gentleman Tailors in a brownish shade with slight hints of blue is definitely one of this year’s winners: lightweight, breathable and perfectly tailored to my liking, it’s full of small outstanding details such as two toned functional cuff buttons, patch pockets and paisley inner lining for added flare. It’s a perfect match for the navy/wine check short sleeve button down, which adds depth and pattern to the look. White jeans balance the whole outfit out and look great with the greyish suede espadrilles. Accessories add the final touch through the silk pocket square capturing the shirt’s essence, braided leather belt and timeless watch.
Combining some of my best last season purchases, it exudes a sophisticated nonchalance, perfectly in tune with that relaxed summery vibe.
Herringbone linen blazer by Gentleman, checked shirt by Our Legacy, jeans by Massimo Dutti, suede espadrilles by n.d.c., sunglasses by Rayban (aviators), silver string by Goti, pocket square (vintage), belt (vintage), bracelet (street vendor) and watch by Baume and Mercier (Classima Executive)
THE IFB WEEKLY ROUNDUP: LINKS À LA MODE: OCTOBER 27TH
I love how multi-faceted fashion blogging has become. In the beginning it was mostly celebrity style driven but has evolved to include everything from personal style, social commentary, fun fashion trends and high fashion! While blogging is becoming a staple of our everyday world, fashion blogging is continuing to push the envelope.
Fashion is converging into lifestyle and we are defining the medium and what it means to be a fashion blogger. Check out the diverse links this week that our pushing our craft to new places.
If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine
“Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t. I’m not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people’s lives, never your own.”—Julian Barnes - Flauberts Parrot (via gaws)
Long goes the time when garments were primarily worn for their functional aspect. Nowadays, to an extent, everything revolves much more about aesthetic and presentation. However, there’s one item that still maintains its original intent and always will: shoes.
From all the items which comprise your wardrobe, footwear is probably the one most subject to stress on a daily basis. The everyday wear takes a huge toll on your shoes, even if at times, we can’t seem to notice it. Apart from moisture and repetitive movements that crease and degrade the leather uppers, soles are constantly under pressure from your body weight and in contact with all kinds of hazardous surfaces. It comes to no surprise that they’re the first element of the shoe to require adequate maintenance from professionals.
Sure, rotating your stock daily and leaving them to rest with proper cedar shoe trees drastically increases their lifespan and durability, but there’s little you can do to avoid sole damage. Recently, I had to have two of my favourite pairs repaired as the leather soles were dangerously worn out, exposing the stitching and making them devoid of grip. Upon taking them to my local cobbler and prior to undergoing a full resoling, we decided to apply a protective Vibram layer to safeguard the stitching and increase grip. Available in a variety of colors to ensure a perfect match with the original, you can get the job done for a mere 12€ at your local cobbler…