Thursday, 5 August 2010
A casual guru reveals his new season tips
Football aside, my main love is clothes. I thought, how best to start writing about fashion? A homage to my favourite Adidas trainer (the Trimm Trabb as you ask)? A look at the top terrace labels? A list of my favourite clothes? No. I couldn't prioritise one item over another. I would have felt guilty for overlooking my faithful old Gabicci windbreaker in favour of my favourite Fila cardigan.
Then it hit me. Who better to talk about togs then one of the gurus from casual mecca Stuarts?
So, Mr Ravi Grewal (pictured above looking like Jack the Biscuit) - take it away...
So, first things first, how did you get into men's fashion?
I grew in fashion as a young child, helping out my father and two older brothers on Sunday markets around England, also in the shop on Saturdays. It was a pocket money thing for me back then but I loved fashion and was always excited to see new arrivals of stock, keen to get a little freebee for myself, of course it meant I had to help sell more on the stall and in the shop. Wearing a Pringle jumper on the weekends out in the local park made it all worthwhile.
And how long have you been at Stuarts?
My father and Stuart had dealings with each other from the early days through business, when Stuart decided to sell up in 1987 we took over. Again helping out when I could was always exciting for me, I was 11 years old back then in 1987.
Once I completed my education gaining a Business Studies Degree at Thames Valley University years later, I was keen to move into advertising.
While job hunting, I started to help out the in the shop full time. I never applied for my advertising job in the end, and took a head role in buying for the store. Since then I never looked back.
Has fashion always been a big thing for you?
Always ... Always and Always
What was the first item of clothing you remember buying?
A pair of Adidas Munchin’s with my one week wages.
What is your favourite ever piece?
Lois Cords and Borg elite White gold Diadora trainers.
Any style tips?
Although 80s casual fashion is my passion, the work wear look is strong. Labels such as YMC, Garbstore, Universal Works are amongst my favourites. We are currently buying for Spring Summer 2011 and the key look is stripe tops, rolled up chino’s with suede footwear.
This winter it’s all about big chunky old school knitwear. We found a great gem in Antwerp, Belgium. It’s a brand called Howlin and all the knitwear is hand made in Scotland. Keep an eye on our site as these jumpers are going to be big, and we have them all for ourselves in the UK.
At the moment it’s Clarks desert boots, and in the winter big quality leather shoes. I love Grenson and Jeffery West, although expensive they are by far the best value for money.
Of your current stock, what is the best high end piece you currently sell?
We had a few Ma-Strum jackets in store, before we even got them online we sold out. It’s an archive collection from Massimo Osti’s son the creator of Stone Island. The quality is amazing. I know also Harrods sold out of stock within two days of putting them on the rails. I am really looking forward to getting these in and online for this winter. Also the Levis salvage denim at £210 a pop was a surprise volume seller.
And which piece under £50 is a 'must have'?
Anderson Belt - Hand woven and hand stitched – Made in Italy
How important has terrace culture been in shaping the lines you stock at Stuarts?
Heritage of Stuarts is related to a lot of terrace brands from the 80s. It’s a very important feature of our business to maintain the right brands for our customers. We carry allot of diverse brands that relate to allot of different pockets of fashion today.
What one item of clothing would you most like to own?
William Hunt made a range of golf shoes, and when I went to the shop in Saville row to pick up a pair they sold out. – I never seen a pair like that again.
What makes a good range?
Focus on what’s trying to be achieved. A lot of brands try to replicate one another with their own tweaks, but what makes me tick is when I see something original and that’s why every brand I stock will serve its own purpose and attract a unique customer.
Any labels to look out for?
YMC, Universal Works, Howlin, Garbstore, Ben Sherman ( Modern Classics) , Ma-Strum, Volta, Clae...some of these brands you may of heard of and others not. They are all on their way up and trust me you will have something from one of these brands in your cupboard very soon.
What would you say is the most popular label among footy lads that you currently stock?
Fila Vintage and Sergio Tacchini, Adidas, Barbour, Ma.Strum and Victorinox and Edwin Jeans
What team do you follow and who would you say has the best dressed supporters?
QPR , being a Shepherds Bush lad, and of course it would be our lot hands down...
Who is your style icon?
Steve McQueen, Paul Smith
What will be big on the terraces this season?
Describe the best terrace look available in your store from head to toe?
Make a visit to the store for your personal consultation...
So there you have it. Mr Grewal's guide to the latest looks. Stuarts is THE shop for buying terrace clobber and all but demands a pilgrimage from any serious dresser.
It also caters for all budgets, with both regular sales and new lines.
To see for yourself a) Jump on the train and head for the Big Smoke, or b) Click on the link on the right hand side of this page.