Friday, 02 November 2018 17:11

ChicGeek Comment Tours De Force

Fashion factory tours Private White ManchesterCharlie Bucket spent his last coin on a chocolate bar in the hope that it would contain a golden ticket and gain entry behind the guarded gates of Wonka’s magical factory. If Roald Dahl were to write the story, today, Veruca Salt, the spoilt brat with the "I want it NOW, daddy!!!" attitude, would probably want to see behind the walls of Louis Vuitton or Chanel rather than Cadbury’s or Nestlé.

Her wishes were granted, last month, when LVMH expanded the fourth edition of its ‘Les Journées Particulières’ open days event. Seventy six venues across four continents held 'open days', with 38 never having been open to the public previously.

The event saw 56 fashion houses, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Tag Heuer and Nicholas Kirkwood, taking part. New experiences included the opening of the Les Fontaines Parfumées in Grasse, the perfume creation workshop shared by Parfums Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, the Louis Vuitton prototype workshop in the centre of Paris and the Louis Vuitton workshop in Ducey, Normandy. It was also possible to reserve an exclusive tour of La Colle Noire, Christian Dior’s last residence in Montauroux.

Left - Inside Private White V.C. in Manchester

‘Les Journées Particulières' launched in 2011 and is a LVMH marketing exercise in harnessing the desire and interest from people to see the inner workings of brands they admire and respect. It’s this element of being able to see things you feel aren’t usually on display, demystifying the processes and laying bare the inner workings of these brands that gets people to make the effort to visit.

Watchmaker, Vacheron Constantin, recently tapped into this enthusiasm by auctioning the ultimate watchmaking experience by putting two VIP tours of its workshop in Switzerland up for sale. The brand hired Sotheby’s to auction the experiences, which comprise two separate lots that it claims represent a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to witness its work up close. Each involves a behind-the-scenes tour through the Vacheron Constantin Maison, accompanied by style and heritage director Christian Selmoni.

It’s this ‘magic’ that people want to see and the attraction and interest in seeing how things are made and a celebration our industrial history is expanding as more brands open up their factories to the public. It gives products a halo effect of ‘special’ and really cements the brands into people’s minds and memories in a positive way.

I always say, when you go to a factory, it’s a bit like going to a friend’s house for the first time: you really get a fully rounded and immersive experience and a lasting memory. It’s a familiarity you can’t get in a shop or by simply wearing the product.

Fashion factory tours

Solovair produce their shoes in Northampton under their parental badge of The Northamptonshire Productive Society (NPS) founded in 1881 by five men in Wollaston, Northamptonshire. Ashleigh Liversage, Online Marketing Manager, NPS Shoes Ltd. says, “As more and more brands move their manufacturing outside of the UK it is important to us that our customers can come see for themselves how their footwear is made by our skilled workers in our factory in Wollaston, Northamptonshire.

Right - Exterior of the Private White V.C. factory in Manchester

“Our Managing Director takes the group on a tour through the factory offering an exciting insight into all areas of shoe production,” says Liversage. “The NPS Factory tour follows specific content-related criteria, giving guests access to all shoe production technologies: the ‘Clicking’ or cutting Room, Closing room, Levelling / Making Room, Shoe Room, while machines have made production more efficient, the fundamental process has remained the same at our factory for over a century,” she says.

“The feedback from our customers is why we continue to offer the tour, they love to see how and where their footwear is made and hear about the history and heritage of NPS Shoes,” says Liversage. “Even those with no particular interest in footwear have commented how interesting the tour is. We have people come from all over the UK to attend our tours and even had visitors from Canada once!” she says.

Over in Manchester, Private White V.C., has the last remaining clothing factory in the world’s first industrial city. Mike Stoll, Factory MD, says the reason they have a factory tour is, “To raise awareness: we actually are real and make our special garments near Manchester City centre.”

“Most people that make the tour either make a purchase or send someone who does. It spreads the word,” says Stoll, but, “It only works if you have something to see. This building is unusual and the way we currently manufacture is unique.”

North of the border, Johnstons of Elgin produce some of the world's finest knitwear and blankets. George McNeil, Johnstons of Elgin, Retail Managing Director, says, “Rarely does the public get an insight into how their products are made, and the entire craft behind the process, and so this is a chance to see quality in the making and also to understand our rich and unique history.”

Visitors get to see “Everything!” says McNeil. “Our cashmere goes from raw fibre, through dying, teasing, carding, spinning and hand finishing by the latest generation of craftsmen, all in our Elgin mill.”

“If a brand has the personal touch to each and every product, like ours, it is hugely beneficial to educate the consumer,” says McNeil. “We are in fact the last remaining vertical mill in Scotland to take raw fibre to finished product – from goat to garment – making this traditional process unique in current times. As consumers continue to prioritise where their belongings come from, and become more curious about the work that goes into them, they will demand to know more and brands will answer.” he says.

Not all brands can offer this openness though. Brands often produce for other people, called ‘Private Label’, and many brands like to keep their producers and suppliers out of the public domain.

Fashion factory tours Johnstons of Elgin

“As a manufacturer for over 160 different brands, we actually don't allow factory visits because of the issues they can cause,” says Rob Williams, Founder & Chief Financial Officer, Hawthorn International, who produce apparel for various brands. “Many fashion brands prefer for their manufacturer to keep their identity private, so that their costs cannot be revealed and so that their designs can't be shared between brands who all use the same manufacturer,” says Williams.

“Because privacy and confidentiality is so important to our clients, we found that it caused a huge logistical problem to organise factory visits without the visitor seeing any intellectual property of our other clients,” he says.

Left - Johnstons of Elgin's mill in Elgin, Scotland

Factory tours work because of a growing niche of people’s fascination with being educated about the things they buy. It works for brands who want to tell their story and, often, explain why you are paying a premium for the products. Admittedly, you get shown what they want you to see, but, it's this openness and sharing that creates an atmosphere people want to buy into.

This is the National Trust for the fashion geeks amongst us and it’s growing in popularity. Johnstons of Elgin has tea shops and restaurants attached to their mills which can also be a revenue maker for the company.

The tour makes the product come alive, you can picture what you’re buying being made and this really is the ultimate souvenir. People love a factory tour with a final stop at the factory shop for a bargain. Who needs a stately home when you can have a Victorian shoe factory?

Read more ChicGeek Comments - here

Published in Fashion
Monday, 15 October 2018 17:12

Best Dressed ChicGeek Timothée Chalamet

AW18 menswear trends Timothée Chalamet Louis VuittonHollywood’s golden boy, and probably one of the coolest actors of the moment, Timothée Chalamet, is currently on his press junket for the new film ‘Beautiful Boy’. When you’re this in demand you can have your pick of the newest and best clothes, so it’s always interesting what they choose.

He’s quoted as saying, “I can wear cool clothes from some of the nicest designers in the world. [So why] am I going to pay someone to figure out what I should be wearing?” 

AW18 menswear trends Timothée Chalamet Alexander McQueenTrue, Tim, but sometimes you need somebody to help with the logistics and the ringing around, oh, and the returns!

This beautiful boy has got a lot to learn, but looking at him, he’s doing a pretty good job at stylising himself and is the perfect leggy shape for designer clothes.

Be inspired by Timothée in Call Me By Your Name - here

Left - Louis Vuitton SS19

Right - Alexander McQueen AW18

Below - Saint Laurent AW18

AW18 menswear trends Timothée Chalamet Saint Laurent

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 05 June 2018 13:47

Trend World Cup 2018 Style

World Cup 2018 Style Bobby MooreI’m always fascinated with those World Cups during the 1960s and 1970s where the players sat around drinking and smoking like they were spending two weeks on the Costa Brava. Sunning themselves and taking the missus with them, this was World Cup as lad’s holiday. Today, it’s much more serious, and if all the bungs, corruption and violence hasn’t put you off, it’s still a spectacle bringing the world together.

Left - Bobby Moore with locals on the beach 1971 NPG

As well as a sporting contest it’s also a cultural and style moment, celebrated every four years. Recently, photographs of the footballer Bobby Moore were acquired by the National Portrait Gallery and have gone on display to mark this year’s World Cup and the 25th anniversary of his death. The photographs were acquired from the collection of Roberta Moore, his daughter, and show Bobby, the golden boy of British football, throughout his career both on and off the pitch.

World Cup 2018 Style Nike England Shirt ASOS

Right - Nike Football - England Home Vapor Match Shirt In White - £90 from ASOS

World Cup 2018 Style Umbro Unforgotten Russia collection

Umbro has released the  'Unforgotten' collection. Back in 1966, Umbro did a deal with all 16 competing teams in the World Cup finals to wear Umbro kit.  Everyone agreed, but, when the tournament started, one team didn't wear the kit: the Russians. The Unforgotten collection is inspired by what that missing kit could've looked like and the colours and iconography of the Soviet era. Part of the collection is inspired by Lev Yashin, Russia's goalkeeper in 1966 and arguably the greatest goalkeeper ever - still the only goalkeeper to ever win the Ballon d'Or.  He was also famed for always wearing head-to-toe black when playing, hence the Lev pieces in the collection are predominately black.

Left - Umbro 'Unforgotten' Collection - Prices range from £35-80

World Cup 2018 Style book Simon Doonan

Left - 'Saturday Night Fever Pitch' by Simon Doonan, read TheChicGeek's review here

Below - Bobby Moore & Family 1975 NPG

World Cup 2018 Style Bobby Moore national portrait gallery

 

World Cup 2018 Louis Vuitton FIFA world cup holdall

Louis Vuitton has released a FIFA World Cup official licensed product collection - they also make the travel case for the World Cup trophy. Available in 3 colour combinations - red, black and blue, and made with the Maison’s textured Epi leather, the pattern is inspired by the official ball of the 1970 FIFA World Cup. There will also be a range of 35 country name tags - 32 qualified teams of the FIFA World Cup competition + Italy, USA, and China. It is available from the Louis Vuitton boutiques in Harrods and Manchester.

World Cup 2018 Louis Vuitton FIFA world cup wallet

 

Far Left - Louis Vuitton - Keepall 50 – Epi leather - £2970 

Left - Wallet - Slender Epi Leather Wallet - £460

 

 

World Cup 2018 Style Vilebrequin football

Vilebrequin’s signature turtle shares the spotlight, this time, with an especially clever cephalopod: the octopus. With eight tentacles to dribble, he represents the famous ‘Paul’ who captivated the football fans crowds with his predictions in the 2010 World Cup.

Left - Vilebrequin - Soccer Turtles - £175

World Cup 2018 Style OIBOY Superstars football t-shirt

The design is based around the footballs that made, well some of us, into Ronaldo or Messi in the playground. All for the price of £19.66 to celebrate the last time England did anything!

Left - OIBOY - Super Stars Made in Playgrounds White T-Shirt - £19.66

Below - New Balance + Paul Smith Signature Stripe Leather Football - £195

World Cup 2018 Paul Smith New Balance Football

 

See what to wear while watching - TheChicGeek's OOTD World Cup Casual

Published in Fashion

Online shopping is allowing luxury brands to get away with lower quality

It’s subjective, I know, but if you’ve bought something from a ‘luxury’ brand, recently, you will probably notice the quality isn’t quite what it once was. On the unstoppable growth trajectory of higher prices and sales, the quality hasn’t stayed consistent: no doubt increasing already inflated margins.

I’m not naive, I understand you pay a premium for a designer name or brand, but there was always a minimum quality to the product, leaving you, the customer, satisfied and at least without the feeling of being ripped off.

I’ll give you an example. I bought one of those new GG buckle Gucci belts online, 18 months ago. I hadn’t felt it, or seen it, I just ordered it online. It was a simple black belt after all. You think you know what will arrive.

What turned up felt like a free pleather school belt. I’m not being facetious, but there was no quality there. When you’re charging £250 and you can’t even offer a decent strip of leather to take the strain of holding your trousers up, there’s clearly something wrong.

Why didn’t I send it back? When it arrived at home, in insolation, seduced by the packaging, and Gucci was so-hot-right-now, you just shrug your shoulders and think, "okay, so it’s not the best, but it’s what I wanted and it’s cool ATM". (Damn you hype!)

It’s when I look back, and think about that belt, I feel, that if I’d handled and seen it in the shop, I probably wouldn’t have bought it in the first place. I would have felt the quality and moved on.

And, so to my theory - the growth of online is allowing mainstream luxury brands to get away with lower quality products. Consumers are more accepting in their own homes, they have nothing to compare it to at the time and the thought and hassle of sending something back is making people keep things they wouldn’t have necessarily bought in a physical store.

“Shopping is very much a human multi-sensory experience so it follows that we want to use as many of our senses. Emotion plays the dominant role in our buying decisions so the in-store experience will always be far superior to the online experience. As Boxpark MD Roger Wade put it ‘Shopping online is like watching fireworks on TV’ says Andrew Busby, Founder & CEO of Retail Reflections.

There’s no doubt online has contributed to the massive growth of these brands, whether on their own websites or third parties. Last year Gucci’s online sales posted triple-digit growth on their branded website and that’s without all the other online retailers. Gucci didn’t hit €6.2 billion turnover in 2017 on physical stores alone.

“This all depends on your definition of ‘Mainstream Luxury’. The word ‘Luxury’ is banded around all too often. True luxury is confined, generally, to bricks and mortar shopping, hence the resistance of major houses to enter the online market. When I consider ‘Luxury’ I think of brands such as LV, Chanel, Loewe etc,” says Darren Skey, Founder/Director of Nieuway Limited, and former Head of Menswear at Harvey Nichols.

“I wouldn’t class brands such as Off White, Amiri, Vetements as ‘Luxury’.  What we are seeing is the luxury brands such as Loewe and LV seeing the growth potential of hype products and as such are designing products with this in mind.  This leads to more quantity produced and a lower quality, compared to their main ranges,  Fashion details are hard to produce on a large scale.  Unfortunately, there is no correlation in price reductions, as you would expect with economies of scale,” says Skey.

It’s hard to prove this point, but it’s an interesting factor to think about. Net-a-Porter group recently introduced a new service  for their “Extremely Important People”, where the delivery person waits to see whether you want the item or not, after they deliver it. It’s an instant reaction to the item(s) and it would be interesting to know whether this has increased or decreased returns. Obviously, they want the latter.

Quality is subjective and brands vary. But I think we’re seeing an overarching trend towards higher margins and lower quality from brands trying to still offer ‘luxury’ and compete with other brands’ stratospheric growth in turnovers.

There’s also a generational shift to think about. Since 2016, the global luxury market has grown by 5%, with 85% of this growth generated by Millennials according to a report by A LINE, a global branding & design studio. These younger consumers don't have as much experience and product to compare the quality to and brands are taking advantage of this.

“The expectation of the younger consumer is also changing and I think this is an interesting observation. For the younger consumers it is more important to have the latest hype piece regardless of the quality.  And, as we know, the majority of the Millennials shop online,” says Skey.

Brands have made it easier to return products, but unless it’s the wrong size or nothing like pictured, I think people are more accepting in terms of quality.

“I don't think that shoppers are unwilling to send things back once purchased online. Fashion is not cheap and I don't believe we are in an economy where this can be an option. I also think retailers are making the process of sending product back easier,” says Skey.

‘I am predicting a backlash to the returns culture we are currently witnessing - both from retailers and environmentalists. The average returned purchase in the UK passes through seven pairs of hands before it is listed for resale. According to Iain Prince, supply chain director at KPMG, "It can cost double the amount for a product to be returned into the supply chain as it does to deliver it”.’ says Busby.

What brands have to remember: when you’re not cool or hot anymore, the thing that will keep consumers returning is quality. This lowering of quality is short-termism and greedy and will ultimately be a big factor is diminishing future sales and brand loyalty. 

I’ve also written about brands which offer great value, like Fiorucci. here

Published in Fashion
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 17:38

Menswear Trends AW18 Paris Chic Geek Scrapbook

Paris men's is the home of the big fashion hitters and it didn't disappoint for AW18:

AW18 menswear trends Paris dunhill leather trousers business

AW18 menswear trends Paris paul smith leather trousers business

AW18 menswear trends Paris Hermes leather trousers business

AW18 menswear trends Paris paul smith leather trousers business

AW18 menswear trends Paris Ami leather trousers business

AW18 menswear trends Paris Wooyoungmi leather trousers business

AW18 menswear trends Paris Cerruti leather trousers business

AW18 menswear trends Paris Louis Vuitton leather trousers business

Business Leather

Thought leather trousers were just for the Hoff?! Think again. Leather shakes off its stereotypical rockstar image and gets smart enough for business attire.

From Far - Dunhill, Paul Smith, Hermès, Berluti, Ami, Wooyoungmi, Cerruti, Louis Vuitton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Paris chubby dunhill

Chubby Shine

Once the sole preserve of Moncler wearing European language students, the ultra shiny puffer is the future of cold weather jackets.

Left - Dunhill

AW18 menswear trends Paris Kenzo triple layers

AW18 menswear trends Paris Kenzo triple layers

Triple Layers

Why have one boring layer when you can have three colourful layers all showing at the same time? Rollneck, polo shirt and tank. Tick, tick, tick!

Both - Kenzo

Male Floral Twinsets

If you're going to wear a twinset, it may as well be covered with flowers.

Below - Both Kenzo

AW18 menswear trends Paris male twinset Kenzo floral

AW18 menswear trends Paris male twinset Kenzo floral

 

AW18 menswear trends Paris dunhill silver accessorises bag

AW18 menswear trends Paris Kenzo silver accessorises bag

AW18 menswear trends Paris Lanvin silver accessorises bag

AW18 menswear trends Paris Louis Vuittom silver accessorises bag

Silver Accessorises

This is the season for  reflection with silver accessorises. From bags to boots, choose something you can see yourself in, literally. 

From Far Left - Dunhill, Kenzo, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Paris Kenzo Fun Fur Coat

AW18 menswear trends Paris Fun Fur Pigalle

AW18 menswear trends Paris Fun Fur Sacai

AW18 menswear trends Paris Kenzo Fun Fur Coat

Fun Fur

No animals were harmed in the making of these. It’s not supposed to real or fake, but fun.

From Far Left - Kenzo, Pigalle, Sacai, Kenzo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Paris Kenzo box jacket

AW18 menswear trends Paris Wooyoungmi boxy jacket

Box Jackets

Big shoulders and longer jackets continues to push the tailoring boundaries.

From Left - Kenzo, Wooyoungmi

Magic Marble

Look like walking Matchesfashion.com packaging!

From Left - Louis Vuitton, Dries van Noten

AW18 menswear trends Paris Louis Vuitton Marble Effect

AW18 menswear trends Paris Dries van Noten Marble EffectAW18 menswear trends Paris Dries van Noten Marble Effect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Accent

Yves Klein blue is the bold, primary accent colour of the season.

Below - Officine Generale, Hermes, Acne, Facetasm

AW18 menswear trends Paris blue Officine Creative

AW18 menswear trends Paris blue Hermes

AW18 menswear trends Paris blue Acne

AW18 menswear trends Paris blue Facetasm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Paris Paul Smith Petrol Blue

AW18 menswear trends Paris Facetasm Petrol Blue

AW18 menswear trends Paris Paul Smith Petrol Blue

Petrol Blue

The AW18 colour of the season.

From Left - Paul Smith, Facetasm, Paul Smith

AW18 menswear trends Boxer Shorts SSS World Corp

Boxer Waisted Short

A true boxer worn high over the hips.

Left - SSS World Corp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shiny Bottoms

PVC, trust me, is the material and finish of the season. Black bin bag? Yes, please!

From Far Left - Balmain, Acne, Wooyoungmi, Louis Vuitton, CMMN SWDN, Haider Ackermann, Walter van Beirendonck, GMBH

AW18 menswear trends Paris Balmain PVC

AW18 menswear trends Paris PVC shiny menswear acne

AW18 menswear trends Paris Wooyoungmi PVC

AW18 menswear trends Paris Louis Vuitton PVC

AW18 menswear trends Paris CMN SWDN PVC

AW18 menswear trends Paris Haider Ackermann PVC

AW18 menswear trends Paris Walter van Beirendonck PVC

AW18 menswear trends Paris Gmbh PVC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Paris Dior Homme denim AW18 menswear trends Paris Vetements denimAW18 menswear trends Paris Dior Homme denimAW18 menswear trends Paris Dior Homme denimAW18 menswear trends Paris Cerruti denimAW18 menswear trends Paris Louis Vuitton denimAW18 menswear trends Paris Dior Homme denimAW18 menswear trends Paris denimAW18 menswear trends Paris Dior Homme denim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Jean

The worst wash, in the worst cut. Hello, new jean.

From Far Left - Dior Homme, Vetements, Vetements, Wooyoungmi, Cerruti, Louis Vuitton, Facetasm, GMBH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Paris Hermes sceneAW18 menswear trends Paris Hermes scene

Landscape Poster Knits

JW Anderson may have done this first, but I still like it.

Both - Hermes

AW18 menswear trends Paris Alexander McQueen Game of Thrones coat

Game of Thrones Coats

Jon Snow way?! Look like a warrior

Left - Alexander McQueen

Clear Thinking 

This is granny mac territory, and I love it!

Below both - Maison Margeila

AW18 menswear trends Paris Maison Margiela Inside OutAW18 menswear trends Paris Maison Margiela Inside Out

 

 

AW18 menswear trends Paris Vetements Inside Out

AW18 menswear trends Paris Maison Margiela Inside Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside Out

Don't over think this. Just turn your coat inside out. 

From Left - Vetements, Maison Margiela 

Leg Warmers

Weak calves?! This could be your winter leg solution.

Below - All Thom Browne

See TheChicGeek's New York AW18 Scrapbook

AW18 menswear trends Paris Thom Browne Leg WarmersAW18 menswear trends Paris Thom Browne Leg WarmersAW18 menswear trends Paris Thom Browne Leg Warmers

 

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 02 January 2018 18:07

The Chic Geek Style Awards 2017

Happy New Year, Chic Geeks. What a crazy year. Things all went a bit Back To The Future II with our Trumpian dystopia, jaffa cakes got reduced from 12 to 10 in a box - the tragedy! - and online started to really eat into, and effect, traditional retail models. 

It feels like we’re in an in-between period, right now, looking to the past, while waiting for the future. Prepare yourself, it’s definitely coming. Here’s a bit of TheChicGeek looking back, rewarding and remembering the past year. 

Join in on social media with #TheChicGeekAwards 

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Balenciaga Brand of Year 2017

Best Label of 2017 Balenciaga

You had me at ‘rubber car mat skirt’. Anybody who can make a blue leather Ikea bag, at £1800, desirable, is on to something. Demna Gvasalia, the Georgian fashion designer, has made looking drab and unglamorous an art form. While not a massive fan of Vetements - his own label - Balenciaga still has some of the luxury polish left which makes something desirable. ‘Interesting’ could be the word, but what he does with this label is make you think about what you are looking at. It makes you question what you like and what you don’t, and that has to be interesting, no?

Left - Balenciaga Lookbook SS18 Glamour!

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Martine Rose Menswear Brand of Year 2017

Best New Label of 2017 Martine Rose

Before you scream 'it’s not new' at me, I know, but this year Martine Rose broke through. After 10 years on the margins, and, I’ll be honest, I never really quite got it, everything changed and fashion turned towards her style. 

She also started working at Balenciaga, above, and, used their manufacturing, giving her collections the polish it needed. She's making some of the best items of the season and if you’re into fleeces and cycle shorts, you’ll be in 90s heaven.

Left - Martine Rose SS18 - One of the must-have menswear pieces of the season - more about that later

Below - Boohoo has just launched activewear for men

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards high street brand boohoo man 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best High Street of 2017 Boohoo Man

Manchester based Boohoo has expanded hugely over the last few years. It was founded in 2006 by Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane who previously supplied high street chains such as Primark and New Look. 

Boohoo recently announced plans in June 2017 to build a 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) warehouse, costing £150m over the next three years, and would offer the capacity to deliver annual sales of £3 billion, alongside their existing Burnley warehouse. 

One of the most successful British online retailers, Boohoo has massive potential and is doing really well in the US. In fashion terms, it’s fast and cheap, and this is the only way to survive and thrive in this market, aimed at 16-24 year olds.

While they nod to the trends, Boohoo makes clothes these people want to wear and while they aren’t all hits, there’s enough choice to be able to make a selection to reflect your personality or the character you want to be that day. Affordable, yes, disposable, yes, but this market is fickle and you’re only as strong as your last product, but there’s plenty here to get excited about and it’s only going to get bigger.

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards La Roche Porsay Anti Shine Mist SPF 50

Best Grooming Product 2017 La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-shine Invisible Fresh Mist SPF50

Anything that protects, is easy to use and you’re not conscious of wearing, is the Holy Grail of grooming products. This spray goes on like a light mist and offers a high SPF protection. Sun damage is the biggest factor in visible ageing and anything that makes it simple and quick to add a layer of protection has to a good thing. You’ll actually enjoy using this and it shouldn’t just be restricted to the summer months.

Left - Get one of these for your holiday and then carry on using it - more here

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Grooming Brand of the year 2017 Perricone MD

Best Grooming Brand 2017 Perricone MD

The best grooming brands are those which make you feel like you’re in a knowledgable and safe pair of hands. Dr Perricone’s MD brand launched this 3-part men's CBx range, this year, containing a face wash, post-shave product and a moisturiser.

The 'CBx' part is a reference to Phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are non-psychoactive cannabinoids derived from the cannabis sativa plant - hemp. 

Expensive, but it feels like you’re getting more than fancy packaging here and with a new supplements range out this year - 2018 - and twists on his cult products, I think I’m going to carry on being a big fan. 

Above - Dr Perricone's first men's range - read more here

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards men's fragrance of the year Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous

Fragrance of the Year 2017 Tom Ford’s Fucking Fabulous

Picture the scene: Tom Ford walks into Esteé Lauder’s New York headquarters. He’s here to talk about the future of his cosmetics and fragrance business. It gets to new fragrance names. We have a new ‘oud this’, ‘something leather’ that, it’s all very predictable, and then, suddenly, somebody suggests, how about ‘Fucking Fabulous’? The room laughs. We all say it, don't we?!

The execs at Esteé Lauder look at each other, want to carry on laughing and then move over the joke. But, Tom’s feeling cheeky and he wants the name to stick. 

No other brand would do it and that’s the power of having your name, and the power that goes with it, on the product. Nobody is going to question Mr Ford. What he says goes and this is why many fashion companies struggle. It’s all bit beige, a bit done by committee, nobody is willing to stick their neck out. Especially in conservative America. 

Okay, so I’ve made this story up. But, this will be the fragrance people will remember from 2017. It’s just a shame the actually scent doesn’t live up to the name and is a cult for more than its name. If this had a memorable and individual scent it would be unstoppable. I just love how they have to blank out the f-word on the adverts.

Above - More than a name? Fucking Fabulous by Tom Ford 

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Most Stylish TV Programme The Deuce 2017

Most Stylish Programme 2017 The Deuce

If you know me, you’ll know I love a bit of 70s style. Think the pimps from ‘Live & Let Die’, and you’ll get an idea about the wardrobe for The Deuce. James Franco, annoyingly, and unnecessarily, plays twins in this, but Maggie Gyllenhaal steals the show. It’s a mix of mafia, prostitutes, pimps and punters in this grimy yet quite glamourous take on bankrupt 70s New York.

Left - The Deuce's pimps getting pimped

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Topman Stranger Things Menswear Collaboration 2017

Best Menswear Collaboration 2017 Topman X Stranger Things

The right product, at the right time, driven by a massively popular Netflix series made this a big success for Topman and Topshop. It’s been a tough year for Topman and they need to think clever in order to take on the ASOSs and Boohoos of this digital world. Think ringer tees and washed denim in a collection of early 80s teen-wear.

Left - Taking a trip to Hawkin

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards Christopher Bailey Special Award Menswear Brand of Year 2017

Special ChicGeek Award 2017 - Christopher Bailey

Bailey is Burberry and Burberry is Bailey. The giant luxury goods company we see today has been created thanks to his creative design, direction and his attention to detail. This doesn’t mean it can’t change, it just means, in my opinion, it will never be as good.

For many years, Burberry was flying high. It tightened up its licensing and became a must-have for the newly rich Chinese. 

It’s hit the buffers recently, so it’s probably time for something new, but some of those Bailey/Burberry collections were some of the best of their time. Leather sleeves on jackets? Yes, Mr Bailey. He made heritage Britishness modern and exportable and gave it a gloss that made you proud that Burberry was British. Read more here

Left - 2018 is the year Burberry waves goodbye to Christopher Bailey, what will he do next?

Chic Geek Menswear Style Awards 2017 Jeff Koons Louis Vuitton Turkey Bags Da Vinci

Turkey of 2017

Jeff Koons for Louis Vuitton was a double take when it first appeared on Twitter. What looked like a collection of bags straight from the back of a Chinese counterfeit operation, was, in fact, a collaboration with one of the world’s most successful artists. This tacky collection hijacked some of the world’s greatest artists and their most famous paintings and then emblazoned their name all over it: as if you were too dumb to recognise them. If you need a gold “DA VINCI” on your Mona Lisa then this collection was for you.

Left - Never actually seen one on the street, maybe rarer than the real thing?!

What are your thoughts? #TheChicGeekAwards

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 12:21

ChicGeek Comment Ode To Christopher Bailey

Christopher Bailey to leave Burberry tribute

News just in - Burberry president and chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey, who has been with the Burberry brand for 17 years, will stand down from its board in March 2018 and work with CEO Marco Gobbetti and team on a transition period until December 2018.

When Burberry’s renaissance began in the late 1990s, it was the perfect time to turn around a recognisable British name, dust it off and grow it into the new desire for luxury and branded products. We’d witnessed it at Gucci, under Tom Ford, and other languishing brands were thirsty for the same.

Burberry initially started with the Italian designer, Robert Menchetti. That didn’t last long and was soon replaced by an unknown designer, Christopher Bailey. 

Left - Christopher Bailey who turned Burberry into the billion dollar business it is today

Initially, and this was pre-Google, so you can forgive me, I thought it was the same Chris Bailey who had started Jigsaw Menswear and the soon-to-be defunct Uth. A great designer and businessman, I thought it was a perfect fit.

I quickly realised they were different people and I bought a shirt from that first 2001/02 collection. Admittedly, it was in the Harrods sale and it was very expensive, if I remember, and I still have it. It was in a stretch, striped fabric, one I hadn’t seen before, with metal Burberry branded buttons and epaulettes. There was something beautiful yet innovative which became the signature of the new Burberry.

I quickly became fan. Every collection had a strong theme and the pieces were well designed and had that all important desire factor. The brand got bigger, the shows became fancier and major events with Christopher Bailey overseeing every detail, from store fits to the music to the Testino campaigns.

Those Bill & Ben hats, the paisley collection and then there was the coats with the leather arms which are still yet to disappear off the British high-street.

Bailey is one of the greatest Creative Directors of our time. He’s up there with Tom Ford for a progressive and consistent luxury handwriting. Burberry’s growth and success is down to his balance of updating Britishness while respecting the past and knowing exactly what consumers want now.

While the average Burberry customer probably doesn’t know or care who Christopher Bailey is, for us fashion folk, we like to see the whites of the eyes of those designing and leading the brands we look at.

Seventeen years in fashion is a lifetime, especially today, and while “See Now, Buy Now” pushed him into a creative cul-de-sac, Bailey produced some great clothes and images.

I think he’ll probably take a break. Burberry has made him a very rich man. But, it is exciting what this talented man decides to do next. Perhaps he’ll join Angela Ahrendts at Apple, maybe a bigger fashion job such as Louis Vuitton, his own label or maybe something really radical like Amazon. Who knows?

See more Burberry related comment pieces:

Time to Ditch “See Now, Buy Now” here

Choose Your Rip-Off here

Published in Fashion
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 14:53

Menswear Must-Have The Bum Bag

Bum bags menswear must have AW17 Jared Leto

The bum bag or fanny pack, call it what you will, has been on the cusp of style acceptance recently. Teetering on the brink, it finally came thru this season. YAS! Now, it feels right. It could be all the 90s sportswear or its practicality, but from designer to high-street to online we’re seeing the renaissance of this hands free solution.

Left - Jared Leto Guccifying his bum bag

Bum bags menswear must have AW17 Jared LetoIt's perfect for festivals or when you want some extra security. You can wear it two ways: the classic around the waist or, like the kids, across the body. 

Left - Louis Vuitton - Géronimos - £775

Below - Streetstyle cross body inspiration 

Bum bags menswear must have AW17 Jared Leto

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bum bags menswear must have AW17 Jared Leto

Left - Weekday - Nylon Bumbag - £20 from ASOS

Bum bags menswear must have AW17 Jared Leto

Left - Herschel - Khaki Orange Cross Body Bag - £45 from Topman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Bum bags menswear must have AW17 Jared LetoFar Left - Eastpak - Springer Bonded Blue - £22

Bum bags menswear must have AW17 Jared Leto

Left - Jack Russell - £305

Below - Supreme X Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton AW17

Bum bags menswear must have AW17 Jared Leto

Published in Fashion

marcus jaye the chic geekI recently went to Berlin, for their fashion week, which is dominated by two trade shows, Seek and Premium. I know Berlin is the city of the young hipster wanker and far from the bourgeois idea of fashion. Always has been. But, watching a young guy in adidas trackie bottoms, an old tour T-shirt tucked in and a fake looking GG monogrammed Gucci hat, it’s pretty clear that fashion, ATM, is looking like ‘cool crap’.

Pioneered here, but spreading: it’s about found, second-hand, vintage, charity and everything that is the opposite about looking expensive and ‘designery’.

Left 'Pensive Crap' at Seek in Berlin - Cap - J Crew, Sunglasses - Vintage Gucci, Top - Umbro

It’s been coming a while, and it’s something the fashion industry struggles with, because making something shiny and new is what they are used to. Plus, why buy something brand new when you want it to look old?

pony trainers SS18It’s about mass produced old items looking old. This isn’t the Gucci idea of decadent vintage. That’s over.

I know Italian brands have been doing ‘pre-distressed’ for donkey’s, and it’s always looked a bit crap. Ripped jeans, anybody? But, it was interesting to see brands, such as Pony and Valsport, doing options of trainers looking like you’ve been wearing them for months.

Right - Pony distressed for SS18 

Even if you buy something new, you style it in a way which looks old and not cared about. Maybe that’s why we’re seeing collaborations such as Louis Vuitton and Supreme in order for these brands to look less expensive, even though the prices say something else.

Some brands only know how to do new and this is leading to people raiding wardrobes and rediscovering things they used to wear or asking parents for their old sportswear. Hoping they've hoarded it.

Menswear is really experimenting in this area and the worry of looking bad is over, as that’s really the point. It’s about looking like an America tourist from 1985 or a post-Soviet Russian, aping western brands, circa 1994.

Could be a hard sell, or no sell at all, and this certainly won’t help the struggling fashion industry.

Below - Valsport SS18 worn look, Never too old for Vetements SS18

Valsport trainers pre distressed worn in

vetements ss18 Umbro

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 02 May 2017 10:30

Met Gala Menswear Lessons

Met Gala menswear Matt Smith Burberry bow tieMet Gala menswear Future H & M bow tieThe Met Gala - you may have seen the film, The First Monday in May - is the opening night of the annual fashion exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

This year’s exhibition is a retrospective of Japanese designer Res Kawakubo, the brains behind Comme des Garcons. As per, the opening party is the most fashion night of the year with celebrities and designers making a statement, both good and bad. 

Here are the 12 menswear things TheChicGeek learnt from last night:

Left - Bow ties - the floppier the better. Future in custom H&M & Matt Smith in Burberry 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Met Gala 2017 menswear Roger Federer Gucci cobraIf the Met Gala can make Mr Safe, Roger Federer, try something different then that’s inspiration enough. A Gucci cobra on your back, anyone? Asp-leisure?!

Jaden Smith Louis Vuitton Met Gala Menswear hairGo conceptual. If your hair looks like wheat-sheafs then take them with you. Jaden Smith in Louis Vuitton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Met Gala menswear lessons Puff Daddy Rick OwensThe Met Gala red carpet is not an audition for Star Wars. Puff Daddy in Rick Owens

met gala menswear Frank Ocean BalmainWhen your parents don’t want to buy you a suit you’ll grow out of. Frank Ocean in Balmain 

Below - Dress for the city, not the designer. Nick Jonas in Ralph Lauren

Met Gala Nick Jonas Ralph Lauren Art Deco menswear

 

Met Gala best menswear Migos May 2017Bad taste Claire’s Accessories. Let the whole jewellery shop fall out. Migos

Below - Red was the colour of the night. When a suit fits this well it works. Rami Malek in Dior Homme.

met Gala menswear Rami Malek Dior Homme red

Met Gala Thom Browne menswear Diplomet gala menswear Wiz Khalifa in Thom Brown white tuxedoLeave the Thom Browne to Thom Browne. Wiz Khalifa & Diplo in Thom Browne.

When you’re tall and thin, a la Alexander Skarsgard, in Ermenegildo Zegna, you can wear anything.

Met Gala white tuxedo Alexander Skarsgard 2017 zegna

Met Gala menswear best dressed Ryan ReynoldsWhen you try and do that cute-couple-colour thing and it doesn’t work. Ryan Reynolds 

Pharrell Williams Comme des Garçons Met GalaAt Comme, anything goes, so dress down is the new dress-up. Teletubbie optional! Pharrell Williams in Comme des Garcons

Published in Fashion
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