Season’s Greetings: Richard Kilroy

Not to sound like a codger recounting the past fondly, but I first came across exceptional fashion illustator Richard Kilroy’s work back in the Summer of 2009. And although I considered him and his work reasonably well established even at that point, he’s really made waves in the meantime.

Richard’s been featured so many times here, he hardly needs introduction and to gush any more here about his work would only be to repeat what I’ve said countless times before (here, here, oh and here too). Without further ado, I thank him for his generous time in collaborating, and wish him a very merry Christmas…

Male-Mode: What are your plans for Christmas and the holiday season?

Richard Kilroy: To go home to Liverpool for a week with the family and eat until it hurts every day. Also, to catch up with friends and get pissed on less than £20 on a night out.

What is, for you, the spirit of Christmas?

Christmas is a time to indulge with those around you and enjoy it without guilt. I love catching up with everyone back home. I see Christmas as more of a celebration of the year than New Year’s Eve itself. In fact, I fucking hate New Year’s Eve.

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Oh god, there have been a few! The big one has been putting my book together, which has meant meeting and getting to know so many prolific illustrators; the final line-up is looking incredible.

Receiving invaluable help and mentoring from Richard Gray (the illustrator, not the journalist) whom I have the upmost respect for.

This one is a little self-involved but seeing David Downton and Julie Verhoeven mention me in interviews as their illustrator to watch – pretty surreal moments for a fanboy who has followed them for years.

Going to my first menswear shows and seeing the palaver that goes with it.

Tutoring drawing classes for the first time at the Royal College of Art and working with so many incredible talents. Also, many late night conversations on Facebook chat with Tara Dougans. We’re both emerging illustrators and friends so we’re always gossiping, bitching, and relating over everything that we’re doing.

If you could give just one gift this year, what would it be?

Fuck knows.

And if you could receive just one gift this year, what would that be?

A two week holiday. Or calf implants. Or funding for the next issue of Decoy.
Learn more about Richard Kilroy and his work | Learn more about premiere fashion illustration magazine Decoy | Follow Richard’s ceaselessly inspirational Tumblr


Season’s Greetings: Sean McGirr

No stranger to the blog, London-based menswear designer, Burberry and Vogue Hommes Japan alumnus, and lover of all things kawaiiSean McGirr bids you season’s greetings…

Male-Mode: What are your plans for Christmas and the holiday season?

Sean McGirr: I’ll be working on finishing my AW 2013/14 collection around Christmas but other that that, I’m going home to my family for one week! It’ll be the longest I’ve been home for a few years actually – so christmas movies and some trashy clubs are awaiting!

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

It’s been a really good year for my work so there are many highlights. I had fun working on a fashion film with Kevin Gaffney so we’re preparing to work on another now.

If you could give just one gift this year, what would it be?

Hmnm I’d give a subscription to Arena Homme Plus because I really like the new issues. Also, flights to Japan inculding round-trip on the Shinkansen bullet-train and bursaries for students – I’d be super generous!

And if you could receive just one gift this year, what would that be?

Roxxxy the robot!

See more from Sean on the blog here & here | Learn more about Sean McGirr

Season’s Greetings: Mark C O’ Flaherty

Depending on your disposition, this is either going to paint me the breaker of bad news or the bearer of good – it’s just over a month ’til Christmas. Now, although I’m as anxiety-ridden as the next person who has a mile-long list of friends and family to buy for, I’m far from grinch-like. To prove it to you all, I’ve assembled a few of my favourite people to join in counting down the days in anticipation.

Mark C. O’ Flaherty is a man of words and pictures. A London-based photographer, writer, and founder of global style guide CIVILIAN, O’ Flaherty oscillates between penning informed and analytical features on luxury fashion, gourmet restaurants and cutting-edge design, to photographing some of the most breathtaking architecture and interiors around the world. Above all, he does both with equal aplomb, somehow remaining modest all the while…

Male-Mode: What are your plans for Christmas and the holiday season?

Mark C. O’ Flaherty: Lots of lunches and dinners with friends and family. No email or phone. Champagne, sea salt chocolate, the Wizard of Oz (always!) and my slanket.

What’s been the highlight of your year so far?

Visiting the temples of Siem Reap, getting engaged and finally pressing “go” on, which I’ve talked about doing for years. Not necessarily in that order.

If you could give just one gift this year, what would it be?

A signed first edition of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral.

And if you could receive just one gift this year, what would that be?

Can I have two? I’d like a John Wayne Gacy clown painting and a Richard Torry herringbone sweater please.

See more work from Mark C O’ Flaherty | Learn more about CIVILIAN


Continuing on from the sports spruced-up tendency I attempted to define, or at least draw attention to, a few months back, this is NUMBER: Lab; a label, for those of you unfamiliar, that at its core seeks to mesh a technical, sportswear influence with a tailored, formalwear-informed aesthetic. It’s triple-lined garments, reversible jackets and totes that double as backpacks that are created with equal attention to the matters of form and function. Five years since the brand’s birth, designer Luis Fernandez and business partner Greg Lawrence continue to deliver.

Male-Mode: What is NUMBER:Lab? 

Luis Fernandez: NUMBER:Lab is an American, men’s advanced-sportswear brand, for the man who is tech-savvy, athletically-minded and constantly on the go. We call it TECH+TAILORED, a collection geared towards keeping relevant in today’s modern world. Just like great architecture can impact the life of its inhabitants, we think that fashion too, should empower and enhance the performance of the wearer while still looking tailored and polished.

^ NUMBER: Lab Fall Winter 2012

Who does the team consist of? 

Greg Lawrence and I founded the company in 2007, and we both still run the company together. I am the Creative Director and Designer and Greg deals with the business and operations side of the company.

Who is the NUMBER:Lab man?

Our ideal man is a perfect blend of the intellectual-with-athletic-sensibility or the stylish-athlete-with-smarts.

Where do you glean inspiration for your designs?

Art and sports are always an initiating source of research and inspiration for me and architecture, for sure, is always very present. I’m always fascinated by athletic and performance gear; it’s such a rich and educational source, from the super-techy and futuristic to great vintage images.

Blurring the boundary between tech and tailored is your speciality, what is it about this combination of form and function that is so important to you?

I have a suspicion it might have something to do with my ‘modernist’ architectural training at Cornell. I still keep Le Corbusier’s Towards a New Architecture on my nightstand. Even 90 years later, this book still holds a very pure lesson of form plus function that can be re-interpreted for today’s modern world. Technology has started to rule and influence our lives in ways we don’t even perceive anymore. We are surrounded by apps and gadgets that enhance our daily life, and that give us more efficiency, speed and comfort. I think that our clothes should speak to that, and do the same thing.

NUMBER:Lab is currently involved in the CFDA {Fashion Incubator}; can you tell us a bit about how this program came about, and how it benefits your brand?

The CFDA {Fashion Incubator} is one of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s programs, which supports the new generation of fashion designers. There are ten designer brands that were chosen to be a part of it, for a two-year period. It’s really quite an honor. Aside from this great space in NYC’s garment district, there is an amazing mentorship program with some of the best industry leaders. It is an incredible support system which aids in fortifying our business and helps us to be competitive in the fashion industry.

Since founding the brand in 2007, what’s been the highlight so far? And the most difficult challenge?

Oh wow, that’s quite a loaded question. It has definitely been a roller-coaster ride. That’s the fashion world for you – never a dull moment. There are tons of highs and lows (sometimes just in one day alone), and you just have to keep bobbing and weaving. You know, rolling with the punches, and that keeps you on your toes. As a designer, anything that keeps you on your toes and that keeps you moving (sometimes even running) is a good thing. You can never stop observing, learning or asking questions. It’s what propels creativity. As for an all-time high, there is no better feeling than spotting someone wearing something you’ve created. Every time. And if they make a comment about how great they feel wearing it, or if they thank you for it, it really hits you inside. It tingles, in a really good way.

You’re done and dusted with SS13, what’s next for the brand? Are there are any particular long-term goals? Interest in collaboration(s)?

Well, sort of. Now comes the production and execution of the SS13 collection, which is almost just as important. It’s the last step in making that sketch a reality. But yes, as a designer, you are always living and thinking in the future. I’m almost done with designing FW13 (it’s a bit crazy, because it doesn’t even feel like Fall 2012 has arrived yet). I’m always thinking of collaborations and design partnerships. It’s such a cool concept to bring two points of views, and two different areas of expertise, together to create something. There are a couple of them cooking which are very exciting. But our main goal is, really, to continue to grow the brand, and to continue to explore and express our point of view.


Learn more about NUMBER: Lab | Shop NUMBER: Lab

C/Bruerberg: Voluminous Knits and Digital Prints.

Is it just me or is the bulk of the most interesting design to be seen off-schedule at London Fashion Week, rather than in the plush environs of Somerset House? I remember a couple of seasons ago attending the Vauxhall Fashion Scout shows at Freemason’s Hall for the first time and thinking the following: a) ‘It’s much less crowded in here…’, b) ‘Random people are talking to each other and not looking down their pointed noses and throwing each other daggers. Odd’, and c) ‘I’m seated! SEATED!’, as well as d) ‘These designers are bloody good…’
It was here that I saw the sharp tailoring and easy, sexy pastels of Satyenkumar for the first time and was pretty much captivated by the dramatic geometry and narrative of Orschel-Read, too. Basically, along with Fashion East and the NEWGEN initiatives supporting new talent, it’s one of the highlights of my London fashion sojourns.
This season Camilla Bruerberg, the designer behind men’s knit label C/Bruerberg, takes centre stage as she transplants her decidedly steely yet sensuous aesthetic from her native Norway to the madness of LFW. Having graduated from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Bruerberg has since gone on to collaborate with fab band Röyksopp, as well as the Norwegian Theatre. She v. kindly took some time from her insanely busy schedule to answer a few of my burning questions…

^ Archaeopteryx Spring Summer 2011, photographed by Veslemøy Vråskar 

MM: What attracted you to menswear design, and to knitwear, specifically?

CB: It was natural for me to choose menswear. You get to work with lines and silhouettes that are different to those in womenswear. What is so great with knitwear is that you get to make the textile from scratch, and can shape it as you like. It’s important to me to have that kind of control over the project.

MM: How would you describe your aesthetic?

CB: Casual silhouettes, playful, subtle and experimental, with a big focus on textiles.

MM: How has preparing for LFW AW 2011 been?

CB: I just had my show in Oslo, and it went well. It’s been busy preparing for two shows! Fun to get to show to the Norwegians because there the interest is just as big from women as it is from men. Will be interesting to see the response in London!


Camilla Bruerberg shows her Autumn Winter 2011 collection at the VHS Ones to Watch menswear show on Feb 23rd @ 3.45pm at Freemason’s Hall alongside A. Hallucination, Mr. Lipop and Asger Juel Larsen.

José Morraja: Madrid Multi-tasker.

Although I wouldn’t quite describe myself as an entirely redundant oaf, I’m no productive multi-tasker either, unlike the subject of this post who not only busies himself with fashion photography, but also somehow sources the time to make some of the most exciting fashion films I’ve seen, as well as art direct on projects from interdisciplinary projects to festivals.
Phew. No wonder, then, that it took José Morraja a few extra days to answer the lengthy list of questions I sent over in preparation for this Q+A. Having earned his BA in Valencia, Spain, Morraja has seen his work featured in big-time pubs like Harper’s Bazaar and has been commissioned for brands as disparate as Diesel and Mustang. It’s not difficult to see why; Morraja’s propensity for eclecticism and his evident enthusiasm both resonate in the works he produces, from a documentary on youth in Berlin to his latest endeavour – a photo and video shoot for the v. swish Spanish Neo2 magazine, which is equal parts sexy, forceful and disorientating.

Naturally, I wanted to know a little bit more…

“In Your Room” by José Morraja for Neo2 Magazine feat. clothing by Luis Manteiga, styled by Leticia Orúe

MM: What drew you to film and photography?

JM: Photography and film are my ways of showing my feelings. I like to understand my work in an artistic way, using concepts and techniques close from different disciplines such as sculpture, performance and installation.

So, if you want to know more about myself, you have to first understand my work.

MM: Which medium do you prefer?

JM: Each medium has its own language, so it’s always very exciting to talk about the same concept via different forms. I think both of them are really important and are necessary in order for me to create interesting stories.

“About Young People in Berlin” by José Morraja for Jet Lag BIO 10 Festival, styling by Leticia Orúe

MM: Did you study to become a filmmaker/photographer?

JM: I studied Fine Arts. When I was studying in France I understood that fashion is more than a brand or a business, it’s a social feeling that we should investigate and talk about. Because of that I’ve always been interested in finding a perfect balance between art and fashion in my projects.

MM: What’s been your favourite project so far?

JM: I’ve got very good memories of my most recent project,“In Your Room” for Neo2 Magazine. It was really important for my own evolution as a photographer and filmmaker. I’ve found a new way to develop new concepts in fashion because of this.

^ From the “In Your Room” photoshoot

MM: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

JM: 2010 was a really good year for my life and career. After living in Berlin for one year, I decided to move to Madrid. Now I’m working in very interesting projects and magazines. Neo2 has been really supportive and they engage in risky projects that nobody else would publish. I’m very proud of that.

MM: Have there been any surreal moments that stand out so far in your career?

JM: Thinking about a new and crazy project is the most surreal and exciting moment in my life. I’m fascinated by how the mind puts all one’s thoughts together and creates a new story. That’s amazing!

MM: Do you have a favourite menswear designer?

JM: I’m obsessed with Karlota Laspalas’ clothes. In my opinion, she’s the best menswear designer in Spain nowadays. She’s found the perfect way to show a contemporary man and mixes romantic and sophisticated concepts in her work. I can really identify with her style.


See more of Morraja’s work here.

Q+A: Designer Krystie Daw.

One of the reasons I waxed lyrical on Fashion156 to such an extent was its seamless mixing of established, high-end industry heavy-hitters with recent grads just fleeing the roost. One designer who falls in the latter category is proving herself worthy of a position in the former. Or, in plain English, Krystie Daw is a pretty ace menswear designer. We chatted about achievements, aesthetics and aims for the future.
^ Fashion156 Soiree Issue features Krystie Daw (worn by Tristan, sitting on the left)

You completed your BA at Winchester School of Art this year. What drew you to formally study menswear?

I actually had a background of womenswear design from college when I started at Winchester, yet found myself increasingly drawn to menswear. I would go shopping with my brother and I would be more interested in choosing outfits for him rather than myself. I find I’m constantly inspired when designing for men and even now I’m still excited about the potential within menswear design. I think it was, what I found to be, the lack of options for men at the time, and I’m so happy about the growing coverage of menswear. It’s a really important section of the fashion industry!

^ Krystie Daw BA Collection

Few BA grads secure the attention of renowned press (Fashion156) so early in their careers. What do you think has distinguished you from the remainder of the mass of fashion grads?

Well I suppose Fashion156 should really answer that one. However, I’d like to think it has something to do with my fresh outlook and attention to detail in each garment I created. I’ve done a lot of research into menswear and its history, which has helped me to produce some original ideas in the current fashion climate. I feel I’ve captured elements of traditional menswear, but managed to keep my work appealing to today’s man.

Your BA collection seemed primarily focused on the synthesis of eveningwear/formalwear and casualwear with a distinctly sporty bent. Describe your design aesthetic.

I like to work with the traditions of menswear and tailoring but mix it with the more casual culture we live in today. I wouldn’t say I want to design sportswear but I do want men to look at my designs and say ‘yes I could see myself wearing that.’ I also take pride in my attention to detail, I like every aspect of the garment to be thought about and made as well as the whole ‘look.’

What was the process of completing your first collection like? Any interesting stories regarding the conception and production of this collection?

It was a lot of hard work and pressure, but I have to admit, it was amazing to watch it grow from my initial design to final collection. It was a proud moment to watch my collection go down the catwalk, at our show, as I had envisaged in the conception stage. When I first went to my tutor and showed him my designs and told him I wanted to make the shirts out of silk, he thought I was joking, but I was adamant I was capable of pulling it off. There was a point when I was scared it wasn’t going to get finished, I’m sure every designer finds that at some point. I was there till the final day burning the midnight oil but with no compromise to the quality of my construction.

Is there one particular source of inspiration that inspires you/Do you have a muse? Do you feel any other menswear (or otherwise) designers influence your aesthetic?

I don’t believe there is just one source of inspiration, especially not for me. I can find inspiration from films, art and most of the time from things just going on around me. I always have my camera on me to photograph anything I see so I don’t lose that moment to transfer into designs. I wouldn’t say I have a muse, I sometimes see people on the streets that I will use as a muse but no one person. I do love looking at designers (such as Burberry, Viktor and Rolf, Ann Demeulemeester) and really appreciating their collections. I admire their originality so I’d like to think they don’t overtly influence my work but just my desire to achieve that sort of status.

THAT trench coat. Can you talk us through the construction and fabrics briefly? Is it available for purchase anywhere?

Thank you, that trench coat seems to be a lot of people’s highlight. It isn’t officially available to buy anywhere but I am more than happy to recreate alternatives if requested or sell the original for the right price, haha! For the construction I just started with a basic coat block and continued working with the lines and fit until I was completely satisfied. The buttons down the back vents were inspired by my circus theme, but the shape and cut was just as important to me. It’s made from cotton drill which was a long sought find at the time, because the colour was a perfect match for the rest of the outfit.

Are you currently undertaking a MA? Any plans for the future?

I am not currently doing an MA but I am working hard on a new collection so there will be more from me in the future, watch this space…

Bucking Convention: Steve Doyle of Buckstyle.

While print publications such as Fantastic Man, 10 Men and GQ Style have consistently put forth quality content in the realm of menswear, online equivalents seemed non-existent until, that was, Buck Magazine took its gloriously Dandy-self to pages of the teh interweb to offer sartorial advice, purvey imaginative photo-editorial and clarify just what all the fuss is about for PJs this Spring Summer. I had a natter with Buckstyle editor-in-chief and genuine dandy article, Steve Doyle.

Editor-in-Chief Steve Doyle

1. You are a self-professed creative director, stylist and journalist. What’s your professional background? Did you study prior to taking these jobs?

I did study, yes, but not in these fields. My degree was in Japanese Studies, which I studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. I took classes in everything to do with Japan – such as history, economics, and cinema – and I speak the language (though since Buck started, my Japanese seems to get worse every day!). After uni, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself and ended-up taking a job in the city with an advisory firm called KPMG. This lasted about a year before I thought enough is enough, life’s too short to be bored doing a job I don’t care about, and decided to take the plunge into fashion and magazines. I had always kept up with fashion, and had often considered journalism as a career. I launched my school’s newspaper when I was 14 and from 16 worked every Friday at the BBC’s offices in Birmingham (where I grew-up) working on programmes such as Clothes Show Live and Style Challenge (one of the first makeover shows – I was completely obsessed with it at the time!)

Styling and Journalism are jobs that you can study but generally people get better at them with practice, rather than through college. Most stylists and journalists I know didn’t study those things in particular. In a similar way, creative direction is about having ideas and turning them into something visual. Anyone can do it but it requires a great amount of self-confidence – to instruct a team of your own vision and be able to listen to other people’s criticisms. I learn and, hopefully, improve with each shoot, and this is certainly my favourite work of all the things I find myself doing.

2. How would you describe your favoured styling aesthetic? You’ve mentioned New Dandyism, how do you define this look?

I guess my style is quite formal when compared to some stylists. I like restriction – buttoned-down collars on buttoned-up shirts. I like fitted pieces, sometimes tight, and traditional tailoring with sharp shoulders and pinched waists. But with this, the dandy element adds the frivolous, such as the bow-tie, and clashing colours. I love contrasts, such as clashing plaids or a pair of Doc Martens paired with a Barbour jacket. You could call it the Broadway Market aesthetic in some ways; more grown-up, never teen, quite sober and proper. I find it fascinating that sober, proper men’s clothing – such as bow-ties, cummerbund
s, black-rimmed specs, side-parting hairstyles etc – can today, on young men, look alternative and revolutionary. I am amazed that even now my moustache is greeted with stunned faces whenever I leave the confines of E2. It really throws some people because it challenges pre-conceptions and I guess that sums up the fashion styling I try to create – challenging pre-conceptions by subverting what a young man should be.

3. You launched, and are now editor and publisher of BUCK magazine. Can you tell us a little about the magazine and it came to be?

In the summer of 2007, I decided I could no longer take my previous job in the city and did a lot of soul-searching about what I wanted in life. My mum and sister were killed in an accident in 2006 and, as you can imagine, it took a fair while to just be able to get on with the normal day-to-day things. Eventually though, I came to a point where I felt strong enough to say to myself, life’s too short for this boredom, I’m going to seize this chance while I’ve still got it and go after my dream. And so I decided I would launch a men’s fashion magazine based upon my favourite men’s mag Men’s non-no in Japan, and then quit my job.

After that, I worked my way around lots of different magazines gaining experience of the industry, including Wonderland, Dazed & Confused and Vogue. And after Vogue I felt I was ready to start, or as I prefer to say, ready to start making mistakes! You need absolute confidence to start a business but also the knowledge that there will be mistakes and the whole thing could end-up a disaster. So, from May 2008, I began getting my team together, finding offices and a distributor, and we launched the first copy of Buck on October 30th. We printed three issues as a monthly and have now closed the print edition, focusing attention solely on the website I always wanted Buck to be for young men who are interested in style but want it presented in an accessible way. From the start, I developed a philosophy for our clothing pics called D.V.H – Designer, Vintage, High Street – and we included all three of these in every shoot, and still do on Buckstyle. Essentially, the magazine was for young Bucks who know their own style and do their own thing but want to see what’s new around and how other guys are styling themselves. The reaction from people like yourself has been overwhelming and I feel so happy that so many guys ‘got it’. When I receive an email, like I did the other day from a guy living in Yorkshire, who told me he’d read Buck and completely connected to it, it justifies all the effort.

4. Also, what with the closure of numerous magazines in recent times the environment must be growing tougher. How do these current economic troubles affect BUCK? Or do they?

Well, as I said, we’ve had to close the print edition. Times change and we have to adapt with them. Print is incredibly difficult now. In fact, the timing for the launch of Buck couldn’t have been worse really! But I don’t regret it for a minute. Now I’m focused on pushing forward online, trying out every new technology that comes-up; there’s still so much to try!

5. Have you a favourite menswear designer/brand? If yes, then why?

There are many that I love. For the Autumn/Winter season coming, my favourite show was by Les Hommes – they have a really strong aesthetic, strong but feminine at the same time. Amongst the new crowd, London has some wonderful menswear designers gaining more and more recognition – Carolyn Massey and Lou Dalton for instance. From the old guard, I adore Lagerfeld. Not for his menswear, but just for him. I think he’s such an inspiration if you work in fashion. As soon as the Chanel show ends, he’s over that collection; it’s all about tomorrow and the next new thing. That attitude is what moves things forward.
6. What’s your favourite film – something Godardian by any chance?

Haha! I like Godard but my absolute favourite film is quite obscure. In fact, it’s very difficult to get hold of now. It’s called Naniwa Elegy, by Kenji Mizoguchi. It was made in 1936 in Japan at the time the fascists were in power just before the second world war, and it’s an extraordinary tale of a young woman who decides she’s not going to be a downtrodden dutiful daughter to her drunk of a father, but instead is going to wear make-up, smoke and live her own life. It’s a very feminist movie and really surprising the first time you see it.

Photos (except top) from 3 Ways to Wear Pyjamas. Photographer: Guy Stephens, Stylist: Celia-Jane Ukwenya, Model: Ritchie Foster @ Select, Grooming: Sarah Barrow.

Check out Steve’s blog here.