Charles Rufus Felix Speed, known better to you and me as Charley Speed, Models 1 superstar and judge on Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model.
I met Charley at Clothes Show Live, I had the pleasure to work backstage dressing the contestants of BINTM for their catwalk shows. It was there where I was beckoned to sew a button onto a jacket by Mr Speed himself. Yelling at me in a joking fashion for my lack of home economic skills (but an appreciation of my fashion). It was after this harrowing first acknowledgement, (he referred to me as a “helmet”) when I started talking to Charley between shows (as he immersed himself into his Bad Piggies app on his phone) which seemed to be the only free time we had.
I managed to squeeze in a quick interview around all the chaos of hair & beauty, the frantic dressing of the BINTM girls and the management team yelling out show times and requirements.
- HJB: How did you become involved in the fashion industry?
- CS: A really good friend of mine (while I was still at Art & Design college) sent photographs in to some competition she saw on a kids TV show, well, a Saturday morning TV show called Massive… I think. Then she told me about it and then the first I knew of it is that they wanted to see me and I went to see them as I was at college doing… not much. They said “You can do it part time or full time, we think you’ve got a really good look for right now, if you do it full time we think you’re gonna do pretty well”. So I just thought I’d go for it. It was a chance to travel and all sorts.
- HJB: What was the biggest campaign you were involved in?
- CS: One of my very first campaigns within about three or four months of signing with Models 1 was Calvin Klein which was pretty much international. Times Square with Kate Moss, it was everywhere. Then I went on to do another three campaigns with him and Kate and that’s what cemented me.
- HJB: So how did you get involved with Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model?
- CS: Essentially, the winner of the show traditionally gets a contract with Models1 who are my agency and who are the ones who first signed me up. Back when [Lisa] Snowdon was doing it, I think they wanted to get a new judge on the panel and they came to Models1 to perhaps get a male model on and they rounded a few of us up who’d had a lot of experience and I just went through the interview process, screen tested with her. They really liked me but eventually at the last minute, the money-men went “Oh, lets get someone a bit more flamboyant”. Thankfully, they called me back again when Elle Macpherson took over, so in a way it was a blessing in disguise and then I got another two years with Elle and the show was elevated by the time I joined.
- HJB: If you could work with any designer for a show, who would it be and why?
- CS: [Pause] That’s a difficult question. I haven’t modeled properly like that for years, when I was modelling, if someone had asked me who haven’t you worked for, that would be an easier question. And that’s not me showing off, I just kind of… When you’re an ‘it’ model, you work for everyone! I always love modelling for Gucci when Tom Ford was at the helm because he really reinvigorated the brand. He brought back that classic, lovely tapered, well-cut suit and I opened countless shows for him which is a big thing when you’re a model. Opening shows is kinda cool, there’s a bit of a prestige to it and he was such a charming man to work with and having seen his visual work to his film, I’ve just got so much respect for him. I did drama when I was younger and I have an affiliation with that. So it’s gotta be Tom Ford.
- HJB: If you could only wear one designer for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
- CS: Probably the same answer. I should really say a British designer, and I have a huge respect and love for Saville Row and that tradition that goes back such a long time. There is nothing like a bespoke suit. There are so many brands that I like in that respect… I’m sorry guys, I’ve given them a plug and I adore Saville Row, I love Richard James, I love Richard James Custom, it’s very cool and I’ve worked with him a lot, but I’m going with Tom Ford man, as its just my style.
- HJB: While on the topic of suits, what are your three rules of ‘How To Wear A Suit’?
- CS: I don’t really have any rules, I mean, make sure it fits properly man. Okay, there’s also the obvious things about cufflinks, just the right amount of cufflinks showing below the suit jacket. I personally like a slim-fitting suit. Anything that’s boxy, forget it! You know what, you can buy off the peg suits very reasonably priced and you can find tailors who will take them in for you for like fifteen quid. Yeah? They’ll just pinch the back and it will transform it. Those are my best tips.
- HJB: Thank you so much, it’s been a pleasure.
- CS: You are most welcome.
I can honestly say that Charley Speed is a very open and friendly man, he seemed well up for a laugh and didn’t seemed fussed by the hustle bustle that was going on around him.
I loved working with Charley and the Britain & Ireland’s Next Top Model girls and would love to work with him again on another project… If you’re reading this Mr Speed, contact me !
[Photography: Nicole Gomes – www.facebook.com/NicoleGomesPhotography]
After a brilliant pre-LCM show from Joshua Kane Bespoke (and an after party to match) it was time start London Collections: Men in proper fashion. I threw on my bright red Moschino sweater and a large hat to try and disguise my raging hangover and we were off!
First show of the season was Topman Design and what a bloody show to begin with. I was in pure ecstasy watching endless amounts of tall, young skinny creatures adorning large tartan suits and big oversized fur coats. It was a bizarre nostalgia trip with models sporting what looked like bowling shoes, western shirts, boiler suits and a whole lot of attitude while the video screen played some sort of acid trip not too dissimilar to The Beatles’ more “experimental” days. The video beautifully transitioned into different colours and shapes which complimented (or dare I say clashed) with the collection nicely. It was perfection watching Topman boldly and brashly capture a spectrum of cult clothing and key trends of yesteryear, from the punk movement to the mod scene and with teddy boy fit coats and all the charm of Marlon Brando in the film The Wild One. And Oh The music! With the song Crazy Horses being blasted out with such ferocity it was clear to see why everyone was bobbing there heads and tapping their feet and thinking about ‘the good old days’ of the seventies.
You can find my other mini reviews from London Collections: Men on the Atlas Magazine website.
London Collections: Men
I attended the LC:M shows in June this year to network and find potential job opportunities. I attended some incredible shows this year, such as; Topman Design, Nasir Mazhar and Xander Zhou thanks to David Gandy.
I also met up with Callum Watt (Digital Marketing Manager for Topman) who I went to shows with and met a lot of my favourite menswear designers like Sibling, Katie Eary and Agi&Sam in the Topman pub.
The Ivy opened its doors for the Velsvoir champagne reception and presentation
Stylist Karen Mason was another person I met who I later worked with on a shoot for Jocks&Nerds magazine.
I managed to get a few front row seats with both David Gandy and Oliver Cheshire and attended Oliver Spencer’s after show party at Liberties and the Ben Sherman for Shortlist magazine (#BSSparty) party where I managed to meet more people (and got some magical goodie bags).
Jocks&Nerds: Svengali photo shoot
After meeting stylist, Karen Mason, I contacted her about working as a styling assistant with her on a photo shoot. I was fortunate enough to work with Karen on a shoot for Jocks&Nerds magazine with the cast of the new film Svengali.
We went to lots of different PR companies around London sourcing and selecting clothes for the shoot. This was such a great experience as I got to meet a lot of PR teams and find their locations which will benefit me in later life.
Harvey Nichols’ LC:M tour – Leeds
The other day I attended the London Collections: Men showcase at the Harvey Nichols store in Leeds with my friend Jessie Pink. This event was a brilliant way to network with a lot of top London menswear designers in my hometown (with the cocktails flowing).
The designers that were showcasing their latest collections were; Katie Eary, Casely Hayford, James Long, Mr Hare, Lou Dalton, Bernstock Speirs, Lee Roach and Christopher Shannon.
Being able to chat with the designers about their collections was incredible, especially since you don’t often get chance to do so at LC:M in general due to hectic schedules but here I was able to have a gossip with many of my favourite designers including Katie Eary who created one of my favourite collections of LC:M back in June and James Long who was the first menswear designer I was able to attend a runway show of.
The event was a great atmosphere with free drinks galore (which is always a good sign) and the chance to check out some incredible pieces and a chance to chat to the menswear designers about their inspirations and such.
I really fell in love with Katie Eary’s hoodie (which I wore in my photograph with her) and Mr Hare’s metallic trainers.
The event was a brilliant opportunity to meet some of my heroes in the menswear fashion scene (and have drinks and a laugh with them in the process).
After the event at Harvey Nichols finished, we all went out for drinks and kept the party going (with many a drink swilling its way around my body).
I would love to meet up with the designers again at some point and attend their next LC:M runway collections.
I worked for a week in the Sorapol offices with Sorapol (designer), Daniel Lismore (creative director) and the rest of the team. I worked within the office writing up press releases, researching, going around London to check out some beautiful fabric and textile buildings and other deliveries.
Pre-London Fashion Week:
Hype Black on Black x Topman & MTV Stayin’ Alive x Bjorn Borg:
The day before LFW had started, I was invited to two events. One was the launch of the Hype Black on Black collection in association with Topman which took place in Shoreditch. This was a great event in a really nice little flagship store with Rekorderlig ciders being handed out like tic-tacs and gifts of limited edition silk scarves and Hype beanies. The second was the collaboration with MTV and Bjorn Borg’s new underwear collection. This event was really fun to be at, free champagne and cocktails and a brilliant runway presentation mid-party. Once the show had finished we were blessed by an appearance from MKS (better known as ‘The Original Sugababes’ to you and me) which really got the crowd pumped followed by a brilliant DJ set from Jodie Harsh.
We were gifted with beautiful pink camo Bjorn Borg underwear (limited edition for HIV awareness) and a really nice fragrance… All in all a top party.
London Fashion Week SS14
To me, LFW this year was a bit of a let down…
Firstly, they didn’t have Mulberry sponsored tote bags (already off to a bad start). Secondly, the weather was so repugnant that the number of people had depleted to a substantially minimal level thus enthusiasm had dropped.
I wasn’t particularly fussed about seeing shows this year, I was more interested in meeting up with friends and business contacts.
The highlight was meeting up with my friend Cornelia who runs her own fashion brand called IRL LDN (In Real Life London) and I was blessed with a freebie t-shirt gifted which will be perfect to photograph for my project this year.
I also attended the KTZ show which was brilliant as always and bumped into Kate Nash again, and I went to her after party in association with Untitled magazine.
I also managed to go see my friend’s collection this year; Pritch London who is a phenomenal designer who creates beautiful leather jackets in ways you couldn’t imagine leather to work.
Other than that, LFW was a bit of a blow out.