Recently I got a chance to talk to Nereida Valles and Graciela Razo, the two outstanding girls (and good friends) behind Urbane Menswear. Take a look at the interview below:
Urbane Inquiry presents…
Miguel Vieira of Beyond Fabric
We have been admirers of Miguel Vieira and his blog, Beyond Fabric, for years now. His style embodies classic menswear with his Portuguese heritage peppered in. Miguel exudes an effortlessness with his sharp accessories and timeless suits.
For 2013, Miguel brings a piece of Portuguese style to his readers with his traditional fur-collared coats and capes. The outerwear recently caught the eye of street style photographer Tommy Ton when he photographed Miguel and Alvaro Fernandes at Pitti Uomo for Style.com.
We had the pleasure of talking to Miguel about his introduction to menswear and what we can expect from him and Beyond Fabric in the coming months.
How & when did you become interested in menswear?
I would have to say when I was about 16… My older brother lived in London at the time and I flew there often, while drawing a lot of inspiration from whatever he was wearing. So, he was probably my first style icon so to say…I remember wearing Levi’s Sta-Prest in highschool which were “endorsed” by Eric Flat and featured a yellow furry back pocket; I had it stitched in every pair. You can imagine all the staring, comments and remarks I went through in highschool, but in a way I guess it encouraged me to wear what I really love and not think too much about third parties.
Tell us about your new Portuguese coats & capes line. How has your Portuguese culture influenced your style?
Although I decided to write the blog in English as a means to reach a global “audience”, I’m proud of being Portuguese and of our strong heritage and tradition in the textile and shoe industry. After starting the blog and leaving engineering behind, I started paying more and more attention to our national resources: everyone was producing in Portugal, from small independent brands to high-end luxury labels. Running Beyond Fabric and being Portuguese, it was only natural I should promote our national products and show them to the world, as I’ve done in several posts already.
For AW13 I’ll be delivering a line of traditional Portuguese coats and capes worn by shepherds for centuries in our country. These are statement pieces made to resist harsh conditions and keep you warm and can be made from wool or “Burel”, a national unique fabric produced only in two manufacturers. Originally, both jackets and capes feature fur collars and are a bit oversized, making them perfect to wear over a suit (photo of me and Alvaro at Style.com). My idea is to keep their essence while making them a tad more fitted with an exclusive lining, making them available worldwide.
What are your basic wardrobe staples?
I would say a white dress shirt, slim fitting jeans, slacks, cashmere v-neck sweater, brogues and an overcoat/peacoat. Ah, and accessories, always accesories… I think I’d be able to live on those alone, although I do have a big wardrobe.
What are you most looking forward to wearing in the spring?
Some basic essentials from my first Pre-Spring capsule collection FUSS (more on that later), everything linen and bare ankle, boat shoes and slippers.
What were some of the most inspiring things you saw at Pitti Uomo?
Pitti’s a blast in every way, you never know what to expect either from labels or the people roaming around. This time I got a chance to stay there for the whole event and snatch some nice pics of the atmosphere. So, besides the multicultural styles you bump into and are definitely inspiring, there was quite a selection of new brands with interesting products: 1st PAT-RN had really nice tailored knit blazers, Orley had unique waterproof knits and then some of the good old favourites who never disappoint like CAMO or Buttero.
What did you wear today?
Brown herringbone overcoat, striped blue spread collar shirt, navy/gold regimental tie, gray cashmere cardigan, beaten up Levi’s 511 and cognac leather boots.
Urbane Menswear for Beyond Fabric
By Gracie Razo & Nerie Valles
The world of menswear is slowly changing. It’s now more popular and accessible to men who are seeing how easy it is to look good with the least amount of effort. The Don Drapers, stylish musicians and men who look like they’re straight out of a GQ editorial are showing how to be more creative in day-to-day dressing.
This world of suits and shiny dress shoes is evolving into new ideas. Feminine accents, brighter colors and more patterns are steering menswear into a whole other direction. However, the days of clean, tailored trousers and sturdy pairs of leather boots are not dead. Men are now finding the middle ground between the two to create their own sense of personal style.
A man who has his own style, no matter what he sees in stores or magazines, is always attractive. This man has the confidence to wear what he likes and to wear what he feels comfortable in to best express himself. If he likes relaxed fit denim, he’ll pair it with his favorite T-shirt. But if this man wants to throw on a sharp three-piece suit, he’ll do just that. So regardless of what a man is wearing, his confidence will always be appealing.
As for actual pieces, we have our favorites. Blazers are a great piece to see on men. To us, they completely say “man” loud and clear. Dressed up or down, they can project his personality depending on how he wears them. A trusty button-up is another simple piece that can really be a good staple in a man’s wardrobe, especially if the sleeves are rolled up after a long day. A man’s scent - as long as it’s a good one - is also essential. Whether he prefers the clean fragrance of his cologne or just his body wash and deodorant, a scent will always leave a long-lasting impression.
Other pieces like dark denim, brogues and a signature hairstyle are some of our favorites. But none of them would mean nearly anything if they aren’t worn with absolute confidence.
Just like we said, a good scent will leave an impression, but so can a bad one. Not showering or taking care of yourself is a definite turn off. But overall, not taking the time to show your personality on the outside is a negative for us. Playing with clothing to display emotion and feeling is just another way of seeing who that person really is.
Men who think wearing whatever is on the runway without incorporating their own personal favorites is not what we think of when we talk about style. Often times, people confuse style with fashion. We would take style - a personal array of likes and dislikes, no matter the current trends - over fashion any day. But this should also come with a willingness to explore new options. Progress and open mindedness is always a plus. If there is one thing we always stress to our blog readers, it is probably fit.
Is there anything worse than seeing a man with too-tight jeans or a suit jacket that looks two sizes too big? Not in our eyes.