British fashion has gained its name of being ‘fearless’, ‘Unpredictable’, ‘constructively innovative’, ‘designer-lead avant garde’ and ‘English sartorial’, from several seasons of London Collections: Men. Positioned as a world leading men’s fashion platform carried a city’s name (Big Four), similar to Milan, New York, Paris, London Collections: Men and London as a city has been strongly introducing the world how special and different of British Men’s Fashion and Style is, and how London as a city to host all levels of innovative diverse artistic creative talents and ideas.
Just finished its Spring/Summer 2017 season showcase not long ago, the expression of ‘Brexit’ (British Exit) has centred the world attention to the UK again on British’s referendum poll to either stay in EU or get out of EU’s control. There were loads of political campaigns, demonstrations, gathering and televised debate from two parties from London, dreadfully impacted every Brits’ pounding heart.
At the period of time from all the media coverage, from a theoretical understanding (the pro and cons analyses) and how media industry works (editors preferences), there was a trend showing that the party lead by (ex) Prime Minister David Cameron should be outnumbered (ex) London Major Boris Johnson. However, the poll result has shocked the world that our dear British voted to leave EU.
If you really think the story comes to an end, and you believed a saying what Brits always say: Keep Calm and Carry on, you might be wrong again. Google search index showed that a massive growth on keywords like ‘what is EU’ and its related fundamental questions, together with some interviews on how people reacted on what they voted, they want to have a second round of EU referendum. The number who signed up for it has reached 4 million, and hundreds attended anti-Brexit protest in London.
Places like London and Scotland with diversities and less connections to English, there are more votes to remain rather than leave. In addition, let’s leave Google search index on ‘What is EU’, and second referendum poll as British humour.
However, when you think about it again as an outsider, keyword like ‘Being English’ is the top to conclude this. From history, British aristocrat they hold their high hats saying ‘how do you do?’, comparing with ‘Bisous’ French kisses on the cheek from Europe continent. The diffidence showed that British tend not to express their feelings (Keep Calm and Carry on), as they regard Expressions embarrass the social occasions. The country still has their Queen as a spiritual arm to hold pieces of Great Britain together, British are allowed to have their nobility and knight spirit in their blood when it comes to protect their nations.
Awarding-winning British drama: Downton Abbey, when Lord Grantham was extremely furious, and decided to do anything he can to retrieve the letter which might impact the reputation of his Royal Highness of Prince, Lord Grantham did not hesitate even asked his valet to forge writings in order to get into another’s private accommodation.
This called loyal to his country and his king, and to his believes. This has somehow resulted in quite a great number of modern British who has that noble understandings in their heads, and sometimes also their lifestyle choices. They tend not to break a habit, you will find some of your closet British friends, they go to the same restaurant, on the same day of each week, order the same food, at the same table, and waited by the same waiter. The more even eye-opener thing is, they don’t even realise their habit.
Not only Downton Abbey, recent British film: Kingsman showed a modern aspect on how Loyal matters. In Short, Kingsman is a secret intelligence service. Founded by a number of noble wealthy aristocrats in 1919 First World War (as the founders’ heir died in the war), Kingsman is designated to protect his country and people by sourcing secret intelligence, and then acting on them. Kingsman is a team of agents who are nominated by descents of former aristocrats, generation by generation. The nominees should past a number of ‘loyalty’ test, such as ‘kill the dog you loved’, ‘betray your team member otherwise you would be crashed by a passing train’.
During the test, nominees will be send to Kingsman’s secret Gear and Equipment site: also called ‘Kingsman’ (filmed at 11 Savile Row, Huntman) for clothes fitting and getting to learn all those weapons. Kingsman’s agent will be dressed in bespoken tailored suiting, from shirt to suits, from lifestyle accessories like umbrella to coats, Kingsman’s agent represents a highest standard of tailored English sartorial look that inherited from their founders. More than 100 years, there is not much change on how Kingsman dress and behave.
Surely, from above, you have learnt that the idea of ‘class’ generates different habits of doing things, and how they perceive things as right or wrong. Maybe ‘class’ is bit too strong in modern believes, it can be translated as ‘social status’ or ‘surround background culture that one person raised in’, they social demographic reasons highly impact how people choose and live.
This group, called ‘Posh British’, or ‘Upper Class British’ has some shared characters that somehow influence their choices, from their family, wealth, accent, education, taste and related superiority sometimes. We are talking about a generic understanding of the group, like brand image/identity in marketing language, like you might think Waitrose or John Lewis might be slightly Posh than ASDA or Argos. Remember, it’s only generic understandings.
Education from younger age will help to gradually shape ones’ mind-set. Education from internal: family, and external: colleges and university, can be a good factor to result in a demographic reason here. To name a few important ones, such as Harrow School, Eton College, Oxford University, Cambridge university have their names out there, not only in Britain but also renewed in the world. Those education institutions have run for hundreds of years and showed the world has the abilities to give us well-known people with their styles:
Benedict Cumberbatch, student of Harrow, he is not only famous for its acting in Sherlock Holmes, but also his posh British accent.
Tom Hiddleston, student of Eton, and Cambridge, award winning English actor, see his roles in Thor, The Avengers, and recently peaked his social buzz with Taylor Swift.
Prince William, student of Eton, and St. Andrews University. Recent Polo with Maserati and Piaget.
Eddie Redmayne, student of Eton and Cambridge, Oscar award winning actor in The Theory of Everything (played Stephen Hawking, graduated from Oxford University), The Danish Girl, Les Misérables, featured in Burberry advertising, and recent face in Omega and Prada.
It’s not hard to spot out the shared tailored style those modern posh male celebrities/figures representatives. Being smart and presentable, the idea of fitting into a suit is not a modern idea, is also another form of being loyal to the English heritage in tailor suiting craftsmanship.
If you are in London, you will need to visit Savile Row to experience the seriousness of men’s bespoke tailored suits. You will find brands:
Henry Poole & Co
Gieves & Hawkes
Dege & Skinner
Davies and Son
Norton & Sons
Anderson & Sheppard
Nutters of Savile Row
Steed Bespoke Tailors
Cad and the Dandy
Whitcomb and Shaftesbury
You also need to visit Jermyn Street around St. James Park for men’s shirting:
Turnbull & Asser
Hawes & Curtis
Harvie & Hudson
T. M. Lewin
As well as shoe- and boot-makers John Lobb
Foster & Son
Also, Alfred Dunhill opened its first shop on the corner of Jermyn Street and Duke Street in 1907.
The rich history of Britain upper class system and the resulted posh tastes in choices, or the habit of doing things have provided a pattern of sartorial lifestyle for posh males, who are described as a distinctive tribe, dress and behave in a certain way, different from any other classes and backgrounds in Britain, even the world.
There will be more posts in this British Style series in the coming weeks. Please comment and send me email (firstname.lastname@example.org), on your idea of British Style (men).