Up Close With: Jack Edwards

I have returned ladies and gentlemen!

Feeling refreshed and ready to roll after my trip to Dubai (more information to come!).

So back to what you want to see…
I am always very passionate about sharing good resources with you and I am not shy about promoting other bloggers!

I have been lucky enough to make some good friends through this blogging malarkey … and it just so happened that one of the first people to check in with me (pun intended) following my Dubai trip was the good lad Jack Edwards from The Jack Experience.

I decided to grill him on your behalf…

 

Hi Jack, great to speak to you again.

Hello!

So – I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now…but how long have you actually been blogging? What inspired you to start in the first place?

I launched my blog The Jack Experience in September 2014 after months of tireless work on the website’s design. I tried out different servers such as WordPress but nothing I was creating felt quite right. Instead, I designed my own website entirely from scratch; a blank canvas which allowed my creative reservoir to flow freely without being confined to the boundaries of strict layouts. Although it did take a lot more time to produce, I’m really proud of the outcome.

The effort was definitely worth it … the website looks great and is responsive across all of my devices. In terms of the content though, you’ve managed to create a space where you can quite literally blog about ANYTHING you want. That can be quite difficult to achieve without readers feeling that a blog is “off topic” … is that something which was quite important to you from the offset? 

That’s exactly what I wanted!
My blog derived from a passion for writing and sharing my perceptions of the world… it’s a hobby. Writing in the real world involves lots of strict guidelines and rules – “we want you to write this number of words on this number of topics with a deadline of this number of days” – but on a blog you can write about anything your heart desires! I can write just about anything I like, and the broad ‘lifestyle blogger’ title umbrellas so many different topics. I love setting myself challenges and stepping out of my comfort zone, but I also love creative freedom. I’m like a little pug let loose from its cage which just jumps around excitedly because there are so many different places to explore and bums to sniff – or maybe not the last bit.

We don’t judge. You can do with your spare time what you like haha.
Having just left school – you are younger than most of the other male bloggers I have come across. This is a breath of fresh air in a sector which can become quite repetitive. However, I know as well as anyone that when you write …you open yourself up to serious criticism. I can’t imagine dealing with that kind of thing while at school. How did you find that?

Most comments I get about my blog or my writing ALWAYS somehow gravitate back to my age. In the blogging world, it’s important to never judge based on number of years but simply by the quality of the content; yes, I may be younger than many of my peers but that’s not to say that I cannot produce a kick-ass article for you just as well as anyone else can.

Opening yourself up to the world is absolutely terrifying – it’s daunting to completely expose yourself like that. However I can’t say I’ve received much criticism at all. In my experience, I’ve found people in the blogging world to be very accepting and friendly, so this hasn’t really been a problem for me. Of course I’ve had the odd ‘mean tweet’ but sometimes you just have to laugh – the haters gonna hate hate hate….

I think that’s exactly my point. You write as well as anyone …better than most if we are honest about it. I highlight your age as it gives a frame of reference for the level of talents you have. I’m glad you haven’t received many haters. I agree that the blogging community (from my experience) is full of really lovely people!

I always find myself laughing on your website, you write with a comedic breadth I haven’t seen on many other blogs – is comedy important to you?

I think that comedy is the most important thing; the ability to make someone laugh or smile should never be under-estimated. It’s one of the greatest feelings when someone tells me something I’ve written cheered them up or helped put a smile back on their face – what more could anyone in the entertainment industry ask for? The blogging world is so rewarding because you get to see this impact directly.

You have a very popular blog – with expectedly similarly popular social media accounts. I love your Instagram account. The photos are incredible…but I’ve noticed you DON’T have much video content across your blog or social media – is there a reason for that at all?

I’ve just launched my first ever YouTube video and I’m really excited for what the future holds with that. Stay tuned!

Very mysterious …looking forward to seeing what you come out with.
Moving on, you recently teamed up with ASOS – working with a brand as well known as ASOS is pretty much what most male bloggers strive for. Can you tell us a little about how that came about?

They just asked and I obviously jumped at the chance! I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great brands such as boohoo, ASUS, ASOS, Harrods and Goldsmiths but this doesn’t just happen overnight. You have to work hard to build up a brand identity and a positive reputation in the industry before brands start to get interested, although it may seem unrewarding at first. I focus on every meticulous detail on my blog, pouring my heart and soul into everything I upload. You shouldn’t be in this industry for the money or for the freebies, you should be here for the passion and then watch those things happen as a side-effect. If you write with passion, it will radiate from your blog like rays of light, I promise!

Great advice for all those hoping to make their mark.
You’re obviously a man with style; what shopping tips do you have for the Gallous Lad readers?

Firstly; wear what you want. Fashion is about you and your style, because no two people are the same. I’ve always tried to hear my blog away from telling people what they should or shouldn’t wear and what or what isn’t ‘cool’. As long as you’re happy and feel confident, dress however you want! My one tip would be that the best fashion inspiration comes from the streets; see what people are wearing around you and decide what you like. I love going to big cities and checking out the street-style for inspiration!

Brilliant, great speaking to you again Jack, thanks for taking the time out!

 

You can check out the debut Youtube video Jack mentioned above here:

 

 

 

Menswear Dog – My Favourite Thing on the Internet

It has previously been said that dressing well is 90% fit.

We’ll now … it would seem that dressing well is 90% fur!

 

In case you have not been privy to the growing phenomenon that is “Menswear Dog” – the principle is simple.
It is a dog…who dresses in Menswear.

It’s not very often you get a successful mix of humour with fashion. Menswear Dog not only breaks the mould of humourless, emotionless fashion models. He smashes it into smithereens.

To me, Menswear Dog is essentially the greatest idea ever, a perfect mix of the internet’s two favourite things … cute animals and strong fashion.

Bodhi, the Shiba Inu (it’s a type of dog) who stands in front of the camera has managed to create something truly original in the beloved Menswear Dog brand. What has been created is an easily accessible menswear guide with a greater intention.

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In fact, the endeavour has been so successful that it has already spun out into it’s only book:
 
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The book highlights menswear essentials organised seasonally and is filled to the brim with serious fashion advice to coincide with the hilariously posed outfit ideas.

Menswear Dog can solve two problems – if you are a pet loved, you will find this page endlessly amusing – if you are still trying to grasp the ins-and-outs of what works in menswear, this book can help with that issue as well.

Brand Overview: Jack Spade

It has taken a lot of concerted effort for me to learn to spend money on quality fashion items.

It’s hard to explain…mainly because I don’t fully understand it myself.

For some reason it simply comes much more naturally for me to spend a significant sum of money on an old, rare, out-of-print book or a piece of original artwork by Matteo Scalera than a gorgeous 100% leather holdall.

However, I have learned through experience now that the price tag attached to these items comes with an unspoken guarantee that these items will last a lifetime.  In short, they are worth the money.

The first brand that I spent more than £100 for an accessory on was Jack Spade. They were my gateway brand.
The brand may be familiar to those of you in the USA; however, outside of the USA, it is relatively unknown.

I can think back now and remember clearly what it was that convinced me to part with my hard-earned cash (I was employed as a music manager at this time, so all cash WAS hard earned to say the least). I was sat on a train to Edinburgh  and a fellow commuter flashed by me … and his dark-grey briefcase caught my eye.

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From a simple glance I could see the quality of the product and the attention to detail yet simplicity of the design.

I knew in that instant that I needed to own it.

How did I know?
…because in that quick flash as the stranger walked past I managed to both read and remember the brand name.

Jack Spade create timeless pieces, consisting of quality components.
High quality with beautiful style… but a reasonable price tag.
They are the type of brand I would expect to see regularly in Esquire magazine if you added £100 to the price tag of each item…

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Jack Spade was founded in 1996 with the aim to only create items which could be both utilitarian and stylish. This company moto was inspired by the creator’s experiences living in New York, where storage space is expensive. They wanted to create items which could service multiple needs.

Kate Spade: New York is an American fashion design house founded in 1993 by fashion power-couple Kate and Andy Spade. The company initially started selling mainly woman’s handbags, but now have also branched out to include a full women’s clothing line.

Jack Spade is the name for the Kate Spade brand’s line for men.

Jack Spade, is an entirely fictional name, inspired by the couples’ two idols – Beat novelist Jack Kerouac and business titan Jack Welch. They believed the combination of these two idols were the perfect fit for a company which aimed for art and commerce to comfortably co-exist.

From their initial offering of men’s bags – accessories followed – and now Jack Spade offer a full clothing line. However, in recent years, the brand has featured designs by guest designers and is no longer the sole creative output for the marital dream-team.

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I am still very attracted to the designs of the organisation, high quality leather goods that let everyone know you have a classic, effortless style. However, I also love the family aspect to the organisation. I have a strong affinity to family, it is very important to me.

There’s a reason menswear is consistently going back and revisiting the classic styles; Jack Spade deliver this in abundance.

The Importance of the Nike Air Force 1

Today I want to highlight to you the importance of the shoe Nike Air Force 1 (AF1).

The AF1 is without competition my all-time favourite shoe.
For me, no other pair of trainers have even come close to looking as stylish yet casual.

So where does the AF1 win out over other shoes?

I believe the sleek all white/black design of the current version combined with the thick sole and added touch of class in the rectangle medallion (which used to be circular by the way!) create a simplistic, eye catching design without being too brash.

The Air Force 1 has even been included in a few of my Instagram looks so far:

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Originally launched in 1982, the Air Force 1 was the very first basketball shoe to feature an air pocket in the heel for cushioning and support. For added information; the air pocket had been utilised before in trainers, just never in a basketball shoe.

This proved to be a very important milestone in Nike’s history. At this point, Nike had previously proven themselves to be one of the top brands in running shoes; however, were still very new to the Basketball market.

Although the shoe, which was originally named and produced as a tribute the plane that carries the President of the United States, was discontinued in 1984, the public demand for the shoes return remained extremely high.

For high-end trainer manufacturers at this time, once a shoe had sold out, reproducing them made no sense. Why would we as consumers want to spend our hard earned cash on a pair of shoes that were essentially old news?

This is why the Nike Air Force 1 is special, the demand for this shoe made Nike re-think the whole idea of discontinuing shoes.

Finally, the Air Force 1 did what no shoe before had done … and raised from the dead.

Today, there are nearly 2.000 versions of the Air Force 1 and it is still going strong.

Now sold in three different styles (low, mid and high) and in a multitude of different colour schemes, the most commonly sold are still the reliable solid white/black designs.

So there we have it ladies and gentleman …the Nike Air Force 1 … the shoe which changed an industry forever.

Travel Blog: Kilpatrick Hills, Scotland

One of the greatest parts about living in Scotland is the incredible scenery that is within driving distance.
It’s often something we Scot’s very often take for granted.

This week my partner and I decided to tackle the stunningly beautiful walk on the Kilpatrick Hills up to the very “Scottishly” named Loch Humphrey. We even managed to convince my old Border Terrier Harry to tag along for the walk too.

Neither my partner nor I had partaken in this walk previously and so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into when agreeing to this plan.

As we arrived at our destination and a VERY steep climb came into sight; I began to fill with a significant dose of trepidation.
I was not prepared for this … both mentally … and in terms of my clothing choices.

Situated 9miles from the heart of Glasgow, the Kilpatrick Hills are a remote, green-coated moorland.
However, the terrain was never too difficult to walk on; despite its steep climb.

The one bonus that came with the climb was that the added height gave access to some spectacular views over the River Clyde, Loch Lomond and the infamous, luxurious, Mar Hall Resort in Bishopton.

…when we finally made it up the hill to Loch Humphrey, it was worth it.
The water was beautiful and we instantly agreed, “let’s do this again.”

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The Gap x GQ Collection 2015: My Highlights.

Every year (since 2007), fashion magazine GQ has joined forces with fashion brand Gap and their selection of the “Best New Menswear Designers in America” to create one incredible collection. It is an incredible, positive, project which gives recognition to some of America’s most talented up-and-coming designers. Plus … the “Gap x GQ Collections” is always a constant source for getting great designers products significantly cheaper!

Last year, John Elliot’s hoodies sold out within hours and we can no doubt expect similar pandemonium this year. Each of the selected designers offers a unique take on what’s ‘new and now’ for men, channelling styles and influences from both coasts.

Now in its fourth iteration, GQ and Gap have teamed up with David Hart, Stampd, NSF and The Hill-Side.

The collection includes tailored blazers and trousers, overcoats, leather jackets, graphic and classic tees, sweatshirts, sweatpants, denim, and field jackets, along with accessories — including shoes, hats, bags, socks, and ties.

I’ve had a look at the collection and it is very, very, good. It’s everything you need to look shap and styled this Autumn/Winter, all sold in the one collection.

Here are my highlights from the collection:

 

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David Hart – Tweed Blazer

David Hart designs sophisticated clothing with a nod to the past. Inspired by the classic mid century American uniform, Hart updates the impeccable tailoring of the 50s and 60s with modern fabrics and colors. Think suits, topcoats, sweaters, and polos that are retro (without living in the past) and razor sharp (yet easy to pull off).

 

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David Hart Tweed Pants

Fantastic partner to the Jacket above.

 

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David Hart Windowpane Wool Pants

I love these. They stand out without being too flashy. Pair these with a crisp white shirt and a pair of brogues and you are winning.

 

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The Hill-Side Plaid Tie

The only accessory on my list. The Hill-Side are brooklyn-based brothers Emil and Sandy Corsillo who have traveled far and wide on a quest to find the world’s most unique textiles. Selvedge denim, authentic indigo, and unlikely camos have all made their way into a collection that’s influenced in equal measure by Japanese street style and American vintage.

 
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STAMPD Long Striped T-Shirt

Forget color and logos. Instead, mix athletic gear with streetwear—and focus on how it all fits. That’s the formula for Stampd, Chris Stamp’s mashup of West Coast surf culture with East Coast street attitude. The result is a line of futuristic sportswear with a gloriously simple color palette (black, white, repeat).

 

Up Close With: Sam Squire

This week I was lucky enough to spend some time chatting to well known blogger, style champion, and designer, Sam Squire.
Sam is pretty much living the dream; a young guy,  running a popular (and excellent) style blog and launching his own footwear brand, Squire Footwear, over the coming months.

 

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We caught up with Sam to discuss his recent endeavor and even managed to get you a glimpse of the designs we can expect from his brand…

 

Hi Sam, its good to have you here on Gallous Lad.
Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself? What’s your background? How have you got to where you are now?
 
Sure, I’m Sam – I am a 20 year old male blogger. I started my blog a little under 2 years ago, since then I have had some really amazing opportunities that have enabled me to create a really promising brand, a lot of hard work has gone in to it so it’s really exciting to see things taking shape!
 
I’m glad it’s all going well. I have been a regular reader for a while now. I was wondering where you initially got your passion for menswear?
 
I think I’ve always really been in to style and fashion and I guess it is something that really evolved into what I do now. I think it’s the same for anything, if you’ve got an interest for it and you work hard then you’ll get some wicked opportunities along the way!
 
Now you’ve had the opportunity to launch your own brand! What was your inspiration behind launching the Squire brand?
 
I think when it comes to blogging you’ve got to have something different and be able to fit in to a niche area. There’s so many great male bloggers out there and I wanted something different. I think the brand over all is about quality and passion be it for style, travel or all the bits in between and I try to reflect this in quality writing and photography. My blog isn’t all about being suited and booted, there’s so many great guys that do that already I felt I wanted to take a more casual approach, I guess I aim to appeal to the 16-30 market with it really. 
 
I totally agree. My instagram feed is full of guys who can pull off the blazer and tie look. I actually find it more impressive now when someone can catch my eye with a simple hoodie and jeans combination. So, for the launch of the Squire Brand, was there a reason you have moved into footwear exclusively? Are you perhaps looking to expand the brand into clothing or accessories at a later stage?
 
I had this really awesome opportunity to work with an Italian shoe manufacturer to expand my brand into footwear. It was one I definitely didn’t want to turn down as they’ve worked with Christian Louboutin and other huge footwear designers. The plan has always been to create really high quality handmade Italian leather shoes that fit style and comfort needs, all for under £100! I obviously have loads of new things I am working on to develop the brand and do something new, that could be clothing…who knows?! 
 
That’s brilliant, can’t really miss an opportunity that great when it comes around! … it must have been a bit daunting though, is it something you have done before? Where did you learn your design skills?
 
I have always been a really creative person and design has been something I have done all my life. I guess it was just transferring my web and digital design skills to shoes, it was pretty simple, really! 
 
What’s your process for designing your shoes?
 
It all starts with a concept, once I have a slight idea I work with the development team to make the idea a reality, they draw up concepts and we work together to approve them. All of the ideas are by me, it makes it a very authentic brand as I would personally wear all of the collection.
 
How much do you pay attention to trends? Do you attempt to bring relevant trends into your designs?
 
I think looking at trends is a fundamental part of the process, I don’t want to release something that isn’t relevant to the current season, for example this Autumn we know white soles are really popular, so we have been striving to create really cool shoes with these really cool white soles. Everything I do has got to be right, because I want this to work and appeal to people!
 
Well the designs you have released to the public so far definitely appear to have appealed to your followers. I can’t wait to see more. What’s your personal favourite piece from the collection so far?
 
I have SO many pieces that are my favourite because after all I designed them so I definitely would wear them myself. I have some cool hightop sneakers that I am a real fan of so they are probably my current favourites – they feature monochrome black and white and it just goes really well!
 
Monochrome black and white is timeless. Always goes well and can pretty much be matched with everything! I look forward to seeing that design. I’ll pick them up for sure! When you are creating your designs you must take inspiration from all manner of sources. Who would you say is your style icon at the moment?
 
I don’t have one particular icon, I have guys that I appreciate their style for different reasons. David Gandy brings a really sophisticated approach to style and I am loving what he is doing right now, Oliver Cheshire adds a youthful and fun style to some really key on-trend pieces that I think is really great and really appeals to my age group. David Beckham really rocks some amazing style, he’s another I’d say definitely goes to influencing my style choices on a whole! 
 
Can you share any shopping secrets you have discovered with our readers? Any advice or shopping hacks that our audience should know or may not have thought of?
 
Look at the mannequins! Visual merchandisers tend to be pretty good at pairing items of clothing and ensuring the mannequins are super on trend, often they work to what their HQ has decided is trending. If you take a look at the mannequins you can definitely be inspired to create an outfit that will keep your style current, knowing what pieces go together is super important! 
 
Finally, when will we see the launch of the Squire Footwear range?
…and how do I go about getting a free pair?! 
 
The collection will be dropping soon…that’s about as much as I am giving you right now! We’re working on some exciting things and I’m not going to spill it all right now am I, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for a launch date in the coming weeks! As for free pairs, we make the shoes as and when we get orders to make sure they are bespoke to each customer, we can’t sample them just yet but I’ll shoot you over an exclusive discount code!
 
That’s what I like to hear! I knew there was a reason we interviewed you…
Listen, thanks for taking the time to speak to us and we look forward to the launch of Squire Footwear!

 

Sam was kind enough to give us a preview of one of Squire Footwear’s designs for their launch…
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I love them, I’ll definitely be picking them up. What do you think?