Wednesday, 21 March 2018 11:48

Label To Know McCaffrey

McCaffrey cycle safety shoes MR PORTER

Annoyingly, when practicality rears its head, design is often compromised. But not this time. I first noticed the ‘McCaffrey’ brand, very recently, in Paris at the men’s trade shows. What looked like a selection of beautifully made shoes was quickly shown to offer an extra, simple and effective detail for cyclists. 

McCaffrey Robert cycle safety men's shoes MR PORTER

At the back of each shoe is a reflective tab you can simply flip up when on your bike. It would even work when worn as a pedestrian during the darker evenings. 

Left & Right - McCaffrey - Suede Derby Shoes - £370 from MRPORTER.COM

Founded by Robert McCaffrey, and available exclusively at MRPORTER.COM, the concept arose on Robert’s first day as a design lecturer at Glasgow School of Art. His formal shoes were unsuitable for even the short journey by bicycle so development began on enhancing traditional shoes to become suitable for city cycling.

Robert's background includes roles as Design Chief for Belgian fashion designer Dirk Bikkembergs and senior footwear consultant for LVMH and Adidas Y-3.

McCaffrey Robert cycle safety men's shoes MR PORTER blue slip on

McCaffrey footwear combines technical innovation with world-class craftsmanship - they are made in Portugal, near Porto, in the historic shoe making district, by a 3-generation, family run company - to provide performance and elegance for today’s smart city traveller. Said to be inspired by today’s zeitgeist movement of ‘active-travel’ which encourages walking and cycling, McCaffrey has developed and patented an exclusive range of features for pavement and pedal.

McCaffrey Robert cycle safety men's shoes MR PORTER

Left - McCaffrey - Leather-Panelled Suede Slip-On Sneakers - £275 from MRPORTER.COM

Right - McCaffrey - Leather Boots - £440 from MRPORTER.COM

Anti-slip soles and handy side zips increase their practicality and showcase Robert’s 20 years’ design experience in the fashion, luxury and sports industries.

It's not often safety looks this good. I don’t even own a bike and I want these. 

Published in Labels To Know

Shoes Men's Base London The Chic Geek campaign SS18

This is an exclusive behind the scenes peek of the new SS18 Base London campaign starring TheChicGeek. Move over Linda, Naomi and Kate, TheChicGeek is here and he’s blowing it out of the water. 

Shoes Men's Base London The Chic Geek campaign SS18

Left - In the studio - A preview of TheChicGeek's Base London campaign

Giving pure ‘Ginger-Steel’, TheChicGeek wanted to showcase every facet of his character while ticking all the boxes for the latest menswear trends. Pairing Base London’s latest collection of footwear with the biggest looks of the season, it’s a geek-fest of characters to see you through the entire Summer.  See how the magic happened!

Right - The Base London SS18 collection has everything from driving shoes to brogues to Chelsea boots

Shoes Men's Base London The Chic Geek campaign SS18

Below Left - TheChicGeek's selection of the all the hottest menswear SS18 trends to pair with the Base London collection. Which geek are you?

Below - You can feel the sunshine. TheChicGeek in a couple of the final images for the Base London SS18 campaign

See TheChicGeek’s full looks of the season - here

Shoes Men's Base London The Chic Geek campaign SS18

Published in Fashion
Monday, 06 November 2017 16:22

Label To Know Patria

Patria British Armed Forces Made in UK shoes

Good things coming to those who wait goes against everything modern retail has taught us. To test this theory, Patria is a new website crowdfunding made in the UK products in aid of Armed Forces Charities. All employees of Patria are veterans and 10% of profits go to the brand’s chosen charities which include The Royal Navy Charity, The Soldiers Charity and the RAFBF.

"Patria is a uniquely British company. We were founded by veterans, employ only veterans and 10% of our profits go to the main armed forces charities.  All of our luxury pieces are 100% British made.  We wanted a name that ties this together. Patria is derived from the Latin 'Pro Patria' or 'for one's country'," says Founder, Richard Thackray.

Left - Patria’s Cordwainer or shoemaker has been hand-making the finest footwear in Northamptonshire for over 130 years - £275 (Takes 12 weeks)

Launching on Remembrance Day, Patria hopes to deliver the best price in the market and have zero waste. Patria only makes onshore in Great Britain using the best materials and works with leading UK artisanal manufactures - leading to less impact on the environment and a better value product. 

Patria British Armed Forces Made in UK sweatshirt dog

Cashmere jumpers start at £200 and Merino wool from £100.

Patria prides itself in being a non-seasonal brand. Not about trend led pieces, but staple quality and timeless garments that are built to last. The brand even offers mending services to their customers.

Right - Patria ‘Jack’ Sweatshirt - £120


Published in Labels To Know
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 16:13

ChicGeek Comment Choose Your Rip-Off

Burberry Cap Check Horseferry Fashion Rip Off

A "rip-off" is defined as a fraud or swindle, especially something that is grossly overpriced or an inferior imitation of something. Sound familiar? The two meanings have become somewhat intertwined in the crazy world of modern luxury fashion.

Okay, let’s talk about that cap. Vilified, objectified and chastised, the Burberry check cap has been waiting for its reintroduction since we saw the preview of the Gosha Rubchinskiy SS18 Burberry capsule in St. Petersburg where he’s produced a capsule collection based around the famous beige “Horseferry” check.

Burberry once wanted to distance itself from its famous check, using it instead for discrete linings and the like. But, now it’s back and they’re are trying to champion or own the new chav-chic look dominating fashion. Worryingly, the vast majority of people have missed the Burberry in between - which was rather good.

Left - Burberry - Vintage Check Baseball Cap - £195

Burberry are playing catch up and I put that down to “See Now, Buy Now”, but that’s a whole other #ChicGeekComment.

Anyway, the cap got me thinking. The cap is kinda cool, but not the real one. It’s cool to have the copy, the naff pastiche, the nod to, the rip-off, because ultimately you’re getting ripped off with both. 

Dune Gucci Loafers Pinnochio Shoes Mens RedWith the rip-off you’re in on the joke, proud of the made in China label and almost taking the chav-factor to the max. Buying it from a stall on Oxford Street and not a store on Bond Street is truly in the spirit in which the item was intended. You’re playing with it, subverting it and not blinding paying nearly £200 for a cap. #ripoff

The same could be said for the new Dune London “Gucci” loafers. The Gucci loafer really is a classic in the pantheon of fashion, but obviously has been everywhere recently due to Gucci’s huge success. Getting a real pair just feels a bit lacking in imagination.

It’s not even about the money. The Dune rip-off makes you part of the current fashion, but it’s more laissez-faire and carefree and makes you a member of fashion’s great unwashed rather than inspiring to own a piece of footwear inspired by the British aristocracy’s love of horses.

Are those Gucci? No, they’re Dune. There’s something confident about being okay about wearing a rip-off. Just think about all the money you're saving too.

Right - Dune London - Pinocchio - Classic Snaffle Loafer Shoe - £100

As Christopher Bailey says goodbye to Burberry, read TheChicGeek's Ode To Christopher Bailey - here

Published in Fashion
Wednesday, 19 April 2017 13:10

Hot List - The Union Jack Loafer

Loafer Gucci Union Jack"If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends" or so the song goes. The Union Jack was the symbol - obvs - of “Cool Britannia”, when Liam was in bed with Patsy and everybody wore Wannabe loafers by Patrick Cox. 

Left - Gucci - Union Jack Horsebit Leather Loafer - £530

I’ve been wanting to do something on this for ages, since Gucci took over Westminster Abbey to show their UK-inspired Cruise collection, last June, but, I'm not sure where the time went. Luckily, because Gucci are holding onto products and not putting them into the sale, they're still relevant.

If we’re talking about who owns the loafer then historically it’s Gucci, but during the 90s it was Patrick Cox. Selling 100,000 pairs a year, it was part of the Britpop wardrobe and while not cheap, they were suprisingly affordable with the silver 'W' on the side.

He sold his label and name and then the brand disappeared into the ether. He returned a few year's ago, designing a range with Geox and then decided to establish his new brand Lathbridge. The Lathbridge brand name is Cox's middle name and the company logo of the bulldog is inspired by Cox's much loved 2 English bulldogs, Caesar and Brutus.

I spoke to Patrick during a trade show in Paris where he was previewing this collection, I asked him about the Gucci homage, he knew about it and I think he was flattered. His version is slightly simpler, but with all the same positive 90s nostalgia. Now, to dig out those Benetton sweaters!

Below - Lathbridge by Patrick Cox - English Flash Penny Loafers - £321 from FarFetch

Patrick Cox Lathbridge Union Jack Loafer

Published in Fashion
Monday, 23 May 2016 14:05

Label To Know Modern English

modern english shoes made in UK orange trainersI don’t usually feature Kickstarter campaigns. I like to wait until something is concrete and there’s something to see. Otherwise, the website can become a graveyard of sartorial dreams that never quite materialised.

Left - MDN English trainers in ChicGeek 'ginger'

I met Jamie Harris from shoe brand, Modern English, at LCM, last summer, and the recent Jacket Required men’s trade show in February. He had finished product and from what I could see it looked really good.

english white sandals modern englishHere's the Modern English story. Until the 70s, there were hundreds of shoe factories in England – capable of turning out almost 180 million shoes per year and the majority of shoes bought in the UK were made locally. Today, only a handful of shoemakers remain and imports account for 98% of UK shoe sales.

Founder and Creative Director, Jamie Harris, believed England's craft footwear industry could only survive if its products were relevant to today's consumers and, in 2013, Modern English was established with the intention of ‘evolving', rather than ‘preserving’ this 600 year old Northampton-based industry. 

The name, Modern English, is their manifesto; everything they make will be made in England, and will be modern in its thinking. He likes to point out that “Modern English is NOT another 'Heritage Brand’".

Right - MDN English sandals in this clean, polished white

Keeping it simple, there are just 2 styles of shoes - trainers & sandals - in 6 bold colours, all made in Northampton, the home of English-made shoes.

He first produced a small run (100), because he wasn't sure how they’d be received, and they immediately sold out. He's now doing an exclusive collaboration with Natural Shoe Store which will be a limited-edition of 65 pairs and available at their stores in mid-July.

Now, he’s decided he wants to go straight to consumers and decided to start selling by Kickstarter. He’s got the factory, made the all the mistakes and, now, you can grab a pair at the remarkable price of £125. He can keep costs low because the construction of the shoe has been simplified which, I think, also adds to its physical appeal.

A pair of contemporary and stylish made in England shoes for £125? It’s definitely worth a punt.

More info

Watch the video below

Published in Labels To Know
Saturday, 26 March 2016 18:53

Hot List The Elasticated Shoe

COS white mens trainers sneakersAs simple as it gets. It's either modern or retro modern, but a simple, large elasticated strap is making this shoe style look fresh and contemporary. There's this white, trainer style, from COS, which looks like it just stepped off 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is one part nurse, one part 60s futurism. While this pair from Jimmy Choo's pre-fall 2016 collection, which I spied at their recent press day, is dressy enough for a tuxedo or minimal enough for any business suit. Whether black or white, the future is definitely thick and elasticated!

Left - COS Unisex Sneakers - £89

Below - Jimmy Choo - Prefall 2016

jimmy choo men's black shoes elastic

Published in Fashion
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 16:01

Splash or Cash? The Apron Shoe

gh bass apron shoe the chic geekIt was on my recent trip to the Pitti men's show in Florence where I got to fully appreciate the sturdy simplicity of the apron style shoe. The apron is the stitched curved detail on the top of the front of the shoe. 

I think it gives them an almost Germanic feel and makes them handsome in their simplicity. Definitely a great alternative to a standard Derby or Oxford shoe and they look great on a thicker sole.

I particularly like this black pair from GH Bass.

Left - GH Bass - Monogram Apron Black Leather - £160

Below - Cheaney - Chiswick Derby - £330

cheaney apron shoes the chic geek

Published in Fashion
Friday, 15 May 2015 15:38

Big Foot

big foot issues treadle walk tallDear Chic Geek,

My boyfriend is 6'4"... That's not the problem. The problem is that he has size 13 feet and shoe shopping is a NIGHTMARE! And it's not just shoes, socks are also a challenge. He ends up cramping his feet into socks that are too small for him. Poor baby! Can you help?


Hi Maria,

If only he was a baby this would be so much easier! There's an online company called Walktall which sells a range of formal and casual footwear in sizes 12-19. You can simply click on your size and see what is available.

In a size 13 I would go for these Tredflex Chelsea boots. They look great with jeans and chinos and should last a while. Walktall also do larger socks, as well, so no more crushed toes. Just tell him TheChicGeek sent them!

Above - Tredflex Chelsea Softie Leather - £70

Published in Ask The Geek