I first learnt about the pocket square brand, YHIM, about a year ago when I discovered the brand in the London Fashion Week Men’s accessories showroom while galavanting around town. I have however, known the founder and pocket square designer, Sophia Wu, for quite a few years now.
We first met at one of my first ever seasons of London Collections: Men (now LFWM) when I was approached to do a mini interview about the impact of a pocket square to a suit. We bonded over the interview where sadly, I had forgot to wear a pocket square as I left the house so I proceeded to do my interview with a Costa napkin masquerading as a gentlemen’s top pocket decoration. Never fear, a makeshift pocket square is always near!
Below is a video of my ‘In Conversation’ interview regarding the YHIM brand and what inspires my attire. It was great to be able to sit down with Sophia and talk about our inspirations and ambitions. In the interview, I talk about my fashion icons, why I appreciate eccentric male dressers and my love for YHIM’s pocket squares. Go on, have a gander, and I apologise if none of you can get past my mucky northern accent.
These two images both use the same pocket square. The beauty of the design is that you can get 8 different looks from one single product. This way you have variety without an overflowing accessories drawer.
Not only do you not have to worry about which pocket square to pick (as they’re all-in-one), but you also have a colour palette that transitions from day to night time if you’re wanting a bolder look for dinner plans.
The YHIM pocket squares are unique in design with 4 patterns on each side, and a tasteful colour palette running throughout each piece.
One side uses more muted tones and colours with pops of eccentric and bright colours. The other side is a more flamboyant and bold print to add a fun ‘party’ element to the otherwise sophisticated design.
During the interview, Sophia kindly gifted me with one of her stunning pocket squares. I also had the privilege of being able to choose which coloured design I would like.
I opted for the bold fuchsia pink and golden yellow design with navy blue as the base colour. I chose this design for the bright and vivid colour scheme as I like to make a statement with my suits.
I felt these colours worked for their brightness but also that the more neutral side would work when I wear a jazzier suit.
The website currently features 8 colour schemes. Some brighter than others, and some for a gentleman who just wants to add a minor touch of flair to their attire.
If you want to check out some of the folding techniques, may I suggest you check out this digital copy of the nifty booklet that comes with every pocket square. It’s well worth a look if you’re wanting to experiment with different shapes and styles. Sophia has created this gorgeous little booklet that gives you a multitude of different ways you can shape your pocket squares and a simple step-by-step with visuals to guarantee that you’re going to look as sharp on the pin wherever you may be.
YHIM started as a real passion project for Sophia. When I first met her, she was interviewing men on the subject of pocket squares in order to create a book that praises the dandyism of such a simple menswear accessory. Sophia created a Kickstarter page to raise money to create her book. And as a donation gift to those who pledged a certain amount of money, she designed a pocket square as a thank you. These pocket squares then became popular and she has since taken a little donation gift and turned it into a much-loved menswear accessory brand. And my word am I glad she did!
Also, you may have also recently spotted Sophia take her brand on Dragon’s Den. Though she didn’t end up leaving with an offer, what she did leave with was excellent exposure and a great showcase of her beautiful products.
To celebrate their feature on Dragons’ Den, there is a special offer of 10% off. Visit the website YHIM.CO.UK to enter your email address to claim the coupon code.
For information regarding these amazing pocket squares, I recommend you browse their website: https://yhim.co.uk
And remember, Be Confident, Be Bold, Be Unique, Be YOU!
Granted, it’s not the most eloquent interview I have ever given but in my defence, it was far more humid than my outfit suggests and I had just arrived to LFWM 2 minutes before I was hunted down for this interview.
Watch the interviews to see Robin James hunt down some of his fun finds at London Fashion Week Men’s. Robin is a men’s style, grooming and lifestyle blogger and YouTuber. He’s definitely worth a watch so have a gander at his channel and get inspired by his videos. https://www.youtube.com/ManForHimself
Day 2 was a hectic one! My word it was warm outside. When I checked the weather reports before packing my bags for London it predicted rain and coolish temperatures… After packing a small case and arriving in London the temperatures soared immensely and I became quite the overheated beast.
I have to say a big thank you to Laird Hatters for lending me this beauty of a panama hat which definitely kept my head cool in the heatwave and added a sophisticated dabble of dandy to my already quite ostentatious take on a traditional suit.
I definitely feel like I bare some resemblance to The Man From Del Monte, I think it’s the panama hat and waistcoat. I tried to give this devilish dandy attire a spruce of cool with a pair of cuban heels. Genuinely, one of the best purchases I ever made! If you want to get a pair of these ASOS Cuban Heels I would recommend. (I’ve provided a link). In fact, I would go as far as saying that they are probably the best high-street priced shoes I have ever bought. Genuinely £55 and they are phenomenal! I am debating buying a second pair in advance for when these ones eventually start to fade out.
Waistcoat: Jean Paul Gaultier – Vintage
Cuban Heels: Asos
Hat: Laird Hatters
Glasses: Bailey Nelson
Last week I was asked to take some photographs for the Leeds branch’s “Handmade with Love” in-store event. The focus was around Vivienne Westwood’s ethical collections which are handmade by local artisans in Kenya. The event featured a new collection of beautifully colourful and vibrantly patterned bags including an event-specific bag that allowed customers to choose their own patterns, straps, designs and colour schemes.
Below I have attached a copy of the interview from the London Conduit Street store with Marketing Director of Ethical Fashion Initiative, Robin McAndrew. The interview was hosted by journalist and TV presenter Billie JD Porter and talks about the brand’s “Handmade With Love In Kenya” ethos.
A big thank you to the staff at the Vivienne Westwood Leeds store for hosting a fun event. Also, if you would like to learn more about this project you can click this link to take you to the Vivienne Westwood website where they have spoken about the materials, the artisans and the history of the project as well as shop the latest collection of “Handmade with Love” in Kenya bags:
Yesterday I had the pleasure to attend a series of talks from some of my favourite working professionals in the fashion industry.
The event was arranged @FashionInLeeds and @LeedsIntFest and has had small catwalks, talks and presentations from a wide variety of fashion and technology based talent which started on the 22nd of April and runs through to the 30th.
The three speakers I had the privilege of listening to were; Lulu Kennedy MBE who is the founder of Fashion East and MAN, bold print designer and collaboration queen Katie Eary and “Remade In England” sustainability designer Christopher Raeburn.
The first of the three speakers I attended was Christopher Raeburn who is best known for recycling military materials such as life rafts, maps and parachutes. He talked us through some of his fashion films and his inspirations behind his collections and materials. The ‘Meridian‘ video from his Spring/Summer 2015 collection was a visual masterpiece using CGI to recreate his garments and showing an artistic story of the materials used in a somewhat Matrix style of dressing.
(Side story… The last time I met Christopher Raeburn, we were locked out of an Agi & Sam after party (with Agi) and had to tell the doorwoman that the person who was left outside with us was actually the person hosting the party.)
Katie Eary spoke heavily about her career building around collaborations and the importance of building an identity and the opportunities others can give you to build a brand. Katie has collaborated with some incredibly diverse brands including; Kanye West, KFC and IKEA. She spoke a lot about her groundbreaking collaboration with IKEA as the first fashion designer to work with this homeware giant and about the long process of designing home furnishings, plates and bedding.
I have been such a fan of Katie Eary’s work. She was one of the first designers I had the pleasure of seeing during my first ever season of London Collections: Men (now known as London Fashion Week Men’s – christ I still hate this re-branding) and I still remember her bright pink flamingo collection to this day.
Lulu Kennedy MBE is a woman I have wanted to meet for quite a long time but never had the chance to. Fashion East and MAN are two incredibly influential and important companies to grace the British fashion scene. I’ve been lucky enough to attend many of the Fashion East and MAN collections and these showcases have been a great source of inspiration to me as I have inspired a lot of my work around some of these designers who have been spotlighted through these companies. Charles Jeffrey, Katie Eary, Bobby Abley and Gareth Pugh are all designers who I have used as inspiration for various photo shoots and visual projects.
With these talks being relatively small in numbers (and the fact they were hosted inside a shipping container in the middle of Briggate high street) meant that as a group we had the opportunity to talk to each of the guests and have quite an intimate Q&A. Though this was a huge bonus for me, it was a shame to see such influential speakers be in the presence of such a small crowd. Events and talks like these in Leeds are definitely infrequent but are highly valued. Leeds College of Art is an incredibly established art school and with many other designers and artists coming from the Northern territories of England I believe it should have more of a direct address in these areas as a lot of focus (naturally) is on London and London art school graduated designers. I always enjoy listening to designers, artists and industry professionals talking about their careers and experiences and I definitely feel that these events would not go amiss in Leeds.Please, please, PLEASE can we get more incredible speakers like these heading to Leeds in the near future, not just for my sake but for the hundreds of fashion students and industry workers Leeds has to offer!
Another menswear season has been completed (though this time it has been rebranded). London Fashion Week Men’s – formerly London Collections: Men as always has delivered a brilliant array of designers and a multitude of styles for the eyes to feast upon. Though before I begin, I think it has to be said that the name change which has aimed to link itself with London Fashion Week has actually managed to make the whole event feel different. We couldn’t quite figure out why as LFWM (formerly LCM) has changed season to season trying to find new hubs and show spaces after the Old Sorting Office was renovated. With LFW also making 180 Strand its new headquarters for fashion week, it seems that the commercialisation has become quite noticeable over the past few seasons and sadly, menswear is starting to feel like regular London Fashion Week and being different and stand-alone was on of the most loved qualities of LCM. Rant over, though the name and vibe is one thing, let me focus upon some of the treats of Autumn Winter 2017.
There were a few shows that tickled my fancy this year for a number of different reasons. I’ll start with Liam Hodges‘ Dystopian Lives collection and his beautiful use of glitch motifs with urban streetwear. Shades of jungle green and neon yellow blitzed down the runway like the symbols in the Matrix loading screen. There was an overwhelming blast of textures and pattern reminiscent of old computer software and VHS quality visuals creating a military camouflage feel. Photo prints featured on the garments were taken by Liam during his recent trip to China. – Side note, he lectured at the same University (DeTao Masters Academy) that I worked at a couple of years ago. This collection tickled all of my glitch-based taste buds and I thoroughly approved!
Oliver Spencer never fails to deliver an excellent collection. There were a lot of pieces this season that I would love to own and normally I find his collections to be a little tame to my tastes but this season I feel as though he had gone in a more playful direction but still maintaining the distinguished Oliver Spencer aesthetic. The ushanka style hats were a must-have accessory for winter. But the piece that stood out to me the most was the olive green velvet bomber jacket and baggy pants to match. I think I may have to start browsing the shops for my sizes now as he may well have found himself a new customer.
One designer this year was celebrating his birthday this season and had a runway show to celebrate. Bobby Abley brought his usual flair of childhood memories to life with sweaters emblazoned with Power Rangers designs, helmets and dinosaurs. We also got a nod to his previous Rio inspired collection with green, yellow and blue shorts and sweaters and of course a his token teddy bear logo made numerous features including a white leather chest harness, because nothing fuses together better than bondage and childhood comforts. The music was blasting out and the colours were a-plenty. It truly felt like we were all part of Bobby’s big birthday bash… The only thing lacking was the candles, cakes and alcohol.
And of course, the menswear collections wouldn’t be what they are without an array of presentations and parties. There were plenty of highlights in this field including Fashion East‘s Art School collection which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The presentation featured a rabble of budding young thespians all in the rehearsal stages and theatre workshops that will be incredibly memorable to all who ever took part in a drama class in high school. There was a charming ‘New Romantic meets Club Kid’ feel to the collection and nostalgia kicked in when performers all started doing a two-step jive to “Give A Little Love” from Bugsy Malone.
Wan Hung delivered all of the Asian aesthetic that I could possibly ask for. Beautifully minimalist and boxy shapes with glorious oriental fabrics and textures. Also, its hard not to enjoy looking at men in 70’s style platform boots. It was a modern take on vintage stylings and with the glorious colours and shapes of the clothing bursting forward, it truly made me want to have this collection sitting in my wardrobe as we speak. Bravo Wan Hung and thank you for the Asian sweets we were given on the way out.
There was one presentation surprisingly had me stunned. Kent & Curwen was the epitome of a showcase. David Beckham’s collaboration with the brand was something I wasn’t expecting but it made for a pleasant treat. This was his second collection with the heritage sporting outfitter (designed by Daniel Kearns). Located at the Oxo Tower Wharf, we scurried into a large warehouse through big (and heavily guarded) barn doors. We then travelled through a maze of derelict rooms, the only lighting was that of a series of projections of videos and clips from the look books. Once we finally located ourselves into the main room, we were greeted by a cocktail bar filled with mulled whiskey and traditional pub snacks like pork scratchings and fried chicken skins. Christ on a bike! The chicken skins were beyond amazing. But i’m not blogging about food today so back to business… Giant glass boxes filled with flowers proved to be a beautiful way to display the garments. Vintage look bombers, shearling jackets, sheepskin coats, rugby sweaters and boating blazers filled the room with a cheeky Peaky Blinders nod in the cap department. “What more could you ask for?” I hear you ask. My inner fan-boy then burst out as we were greeted by David, Victoria and Brooklyn Beckham. Vicky B?! Posh Spice. Without going into too much of a fan-girl mode, it was excellent, the whole presentation was stunning and to be rubbing shoulders with the Beckham’s is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you don’t often get to have.
London Collections: Men Spring Summer 17 feature in Shortlist Magazine.
This photo was taken outside of the Topman Show Space on the first day of LCM.
Striped Short Sleeve Shirt and Wide Leg Trousers: Topman Design
Black T-Shirt: Zara
Black Leather Envelope Bag: Reiss
Black Chelsea Boots: Rokit Vintage
Transitional Lens Aviator Sunglasses: Vintage
“The Godstar didn’t subscribe to convention, a maverick pioneer, a scholarly intellectual who welcomed fame and fortune when it forced itself upon him with healthy scepticism but never set out with any aspirations of success. Life as a Rolling Stone is complicated he confided in 1965, who knows how long it will last? Brian Jones was the soul of the Stone’s, it’s founding father with a mission to bring R&B across the Atlantic and into the homes of suburbia. For S/S17, Pretty Green have taken inspiration from the coolest Rolling Stone. The linage of immaculate polo’s, block print sweaters and psychedelic fringes harken to a time when the ace faces swaggered along Carnaby St. in search of illusive attire inspired by French cinema, ivy leaguers and rude boys. Today, their destination is clear. Pretty Green are more than a clothing brand, they’re the personification of an aesthetic.”
Words: Robert J Railton
Reference – ‘Godstar’ : Psychic TV (vinyl single 1985)
Top 3 Pieces
Pretty Green is not normally one of those brands I would consider myself to be a fan of, but after attending the Spring Summer 17 show, I had discovered a brand full of visuals that really tapped into my world of appeal.
Everything has been revamped, styles were throwing a huge nod back to the glorious days of Mod Britain subculture with a swinging nod to the cult of the 90’s Brit Pop era.
Silk Scarves were a plenty this season and my word were they a treat to behold. Glorious paisley patterns embellished with the Pretty Green branding in gorgeous mustard yellows and various shades of grey. Skinny fit, ever so long and tasselled ends draws the eye from neck to naval in a beautifully understated sense of style. Words cannot describe the joys of receiving a wee sample in our gift bag of the scarf which I have been wearing more days now than I can count.
I was rather surprised but also overwhelmingly impressed with the collaboration that was ‘Pretty Green x John Smedley‘. These knitwear polo shirts drew me in as soon as I saw them and I find myself still dreaming about the striped mustard and white polo with Black collar today! When it comes to knitwear you cannot go wrong with John Smedley and to see these two British iconoclasts of fashion come together was a real treat for the eyes.
My final must have has to be this contemporary take on the houndstooth print. A beautiful short sleeve shirt with open collar in shape with such neatness in the cut drew me in based on the effortlessly clean silhouette it produces which is juxtaposed from the almost grungy and blurred houndstooth print they opted for. A beautiful blend of Mod meeting Modern Man which I believe should be a staple in every mans wardrobe.
Top 3 List: Harry J Bartlett
A couple of snaps of my Day 2 attire at LC:M AW16. These images were taking at the Velsvoir presentation at the Lights Of Soho gallery. As always the guys put on a bloody brilliant event with some stunning must have accessories (and cocktails a plenty).
Sweater Vest: Vivienne Westwood
Tie: Vivienne Westwood
Hat: Thomas Farthing
Shoes: My Grandad’s Wedding Shoes
I had the pleasure of working backstage as a dresser for the male models at the Kingston MA Graduate Fashion Show at the Vinyl Factory in London and while I was there I managed to sneak in a few backstage snaps of the AMCK models.
It was a treat to work with such a great team and a fun bunch of sassy gentlemen. The day consisted of a lot of running around, stress, laughter and panic… Oh and alcohol, yeah, lots and lots of alcohol!