Friday, 30 July 2010

The cool kids and the East End thrift store.

So I put my leg together with some duct tape, jumped on the Hammersmith and City line, had a pint at the Blind Beggar pub where a certain Ronnie Kray blew the brains out of a rival gangster for calling him a poof and hobbled to a cobbled passage where I thought young trendsetters may be grazing. Oh, and also to spend some of my dole money.

A free bar and a chance to rummage through cheap second hand clothes seems to attract the snappy dressers, and last night was no exception. The East End thrift store, just off Mile End Road, was awash with the style conscious, the retro fanciers and the forward thinkers. With a glass of wine in one hand and vintage pieces in the other, the London fashionistas had a chance to pick out a bargain for those long awaited summer days. Check out the guys I spotted as I scanned the rails.

Craig Holloway, a 28 year old tailor, described his look as "Classic English." Looking effortlessly stylish in denim shirt, tailored khaki shorts and espadrilles, teamed with cropped hair and groomed beard, Craig pulls off the 'just out of bed' look with ease. The perfect outfit for weaving in and out of that London traffic.

Luke Ferris, 24 year old manager of the East End thrift store, looked edgy in a classic Ralph Lauren shirt, cut off denim shorts and brown brogues. With his closely shaved back and sides with lip and nose piercings, Luke brought the 70s punk look into 2010. Describing his look as "Johnny Depp in Cry Baby meets dodgy Ralph Lauren," he mirrored the individuality of the Hollywood star.

I love this look. Gene Mcquillan, a 22 year old student, brought the country to the city. Tailored barber jacket, turned up drain pipe jeans and tan deck shoes transform the young lad into pipe smoking gentleman. A simple outfit, but none the less, stood him out from the trend setting crowd.

Simply teaming a red tee with skinny jeans, deck shoes and slanted hat, 25 year old photographer, Kris Myhre, shows us all how to pull off the perfect summer look. Add a distressed leather jacket, handlebar moustache and sailor tattoos, and you have a style hungry, human cannonball lookalike, perusing the thrift store rails.

Conor Fitzgerald, 17 years old, student.
This fresh faced youngster was doing it in soft leathered boots, cut off drain pipe chinos, vintage rock tee and worn denim jacket. Perfectly suiting his slim frame and adding class to a ruffian look, Conor could have stepped off a boyband stage. The swept red hair enhanced his individuality.

With grungy hair, battered boots and baggy grandad top, you could mistake Ed Parmer for an East End vagabond. However, the 18 year old student brings the chic to the hobo. The muted colours work perfectly with his happy disposition and I love how Ed brings confidence to such a dressed down look.

So, this is my mate, Mr Adam Mulhern, a 26 year old Red Bull rep. I thought I'd put him in here because he's got that Klaxon/Drums look going on at the moment. In double denim, which everyone loves (as long as they're contrasting colours) school plimsolls and vintage looking t-shirt, Mr Mulhern has that edgy 'boy next door' look, or as his Mrs calls it, "unclean and unironed." That's love for ya.

Tim Metcalf, 35 years old, lecturer.
I love the NHS specs, buttoned down shirt, old man's brogues and flannel trousers. I reckon Mr Metcalf looks trendier than most of his students. The one thing I hate about English society is that men don't dress like men anymore, but Tim brings back the 50s gentleman. I just wish lads would iron their trousers like him now and again.
So, I woke up this morning and the leg was fucked again, couldn't walk, tried, but couldn't. But when I'm up and running I'll be papping those stylish peeps out there. I might pop down to Walthamstow market or see what's happening in Loughton. So keep reading.
Spare change guv'ner?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Harping back to the old days

The effortless style of Mr Frank Sinatra, the grace and authority of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, or the notoriety of the Kray twins. Why is it that as a nation we have rejected the suit from everyday life? We smirk at the City Boys, we demonise the politicians, we feel sympathy for the grey bank workers.

However, I love the three piece suit. I love slanted hats, I love pins in ties, pocket watches in waistcoats, newly shined brogues and argyle socks. I love the gentleman.

However, as generations pass, I am worried that the gentleman is a dying breed. In fifty years time will men put on a suit to buy milk from the corner shop? Or will they pull on a pair of tracky bottoms and a kappa t-shirt? Yes, standards have dropped and they will carry on doing so.

I love harping back to the good old days, I love watching films from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Men were smart, men were refined. Now we are a bunch of baggy jeaned, baseball capped, conversed scruffs. Even the young mods donned suits to beat the shit out of rockers on Brighton beach. The gangsters of London ran the streets with style, ties at the correct length and pressed white shirts. Not the happy slapping neanderthals of 2010.

I for one long for those days to emerge from the flames. Proud Second World War veterans must

look at us with shame. With medals shining on their suit pockets, handkerchiefs perfectly aligned and trousers sitting at the correct length, they represent all that is wonderful about Great Britain.

So when that lottery money rolls in, I'm off to Saville Row. I'm off to an era where the gentleman ruled. Where doors were opened, cheques picked up and manners were free.

Spare change guv'ner?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Style Council postponed!

Let me set the scene, its a lovely summer evening in Walthamstow. The boys of East 17 are settling in for the evening after discussing another long awaited comeback at the Standard, Blackhorse Road. And I am on my way to Whipps Cross Hospital to get my fucked up leg checked out.
It has swollen to the size of a balloon and the break is throbbing. Mixed emotions, thoughts are bouncing across my mind. Will I need to be caged up again? Will I have to wear one of those moon boots that a certain Mr Rooney was spotted with in the red tops? Or will they put me out of my misery and chop the thing off? Only the skilled physicians at London's shittiest hospital will know.
The waiting room is full of crackheads, polish pricks with their chests stuck out and Asian families sprawled across the comfortable metal chairs. The nan is there, the cousin, the second cousin, the second cousin twice removed, I think I even spotted a goat. One women is mopping up her own blood as she stumbles to the consultation room. I heart Whipps Cross Hospital.
I get shown my own X-rays and asked what I think about them. Well let me see, the last time I checked I hadn't finished my doctorate, maybe you can tell me? I get told my leg is never going to be the same again, I was lucky to have kept it in the first place, I'll probably be on painkillers for the rest of my life. I know this shit, I've heard it all before, just tell me why I can't walk and why I can't fit into my jeans?
These are the ramblings of a pissed off guy, a guy who has had enough of the last year. But hey, ho, things can only get better!
Anywho, Style Council has been postponed until I can walk again. Until then, keep shining.
Spare change guv'ner?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

How old is too old to wear skinny jeans?

So, now I'm 27 years old and starting to gain a slight beer gut, can I still wear skinny jeans? It's that age old question that has risen from the dawn of rock and roll.

I'm not Mick Jagger, and I'll never be Iggy Pop, but is pouring myself into my girlfriend's figure hugging denim so wrong? I think I may have to start re-thinking my style.

It's the indie kids staple leg wear. We've all been to the Good Mixer on a Friday night sipping on our jack and coke, pretending to be the next big thing. We've sat at the Hawley Arms bar just hoping to see Miss Winehouse stumble through with a needle hanging out of her arm. But I'm not 18 anymore. My legs aren't as sculptured as they used to be, and my six pack is more like a crate. So when do we stop? Or do we have to stop?

Over the next few weeks I'm going to photograph the young and old, the fat and the thin, the indie and the ghetto, to see if they can pull off the style that hasn't faltered since the days of the Ramones, the skinny jean.

When I got run over by that lorry in September of 2009, I was forced to give up the skinny jean for nearly 9 months. Was there someone up there trying to tell me to put the tight trousers down? to switch to a straight leg? or god forbid, a baggy cut?

Hopefully I'll find the answer to this century old question on the streets of London, but until then, I'll keep growing my hair and wearing my skinnies until the dirty thirties creep up on me.

Spare change guv'ner?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Keeping cool in the London sun.

So the big question this year is what will all the bitches be wearing when that 28 degree heat hits the East End?
Spotted at a recent barbecue was 'Lola' from Walthamstow, home of the infamous boy band 'East17'.
Keeping on trend with this large floral print Hawaiian shirt, teamed with studded collar, Lola really stood out from the pack.
She described her look as 'country with a little bit of rock and roll'. I would agree; she looked effortlessly cool, and exuded confidence, which as Gok Wan argues, can make or break a style.
For more Lola outfits, keep checking the Style Council blog. I'm sure you are all excited to see what she will be wearing at events such as 'the walk round the block', 'dinnertime in the kitchen' and 'trip to the vets'.
Spare change guv'ner?


Some time ago I worked in a small shop on the world renowned Carnaby Street. One day, as I was minding my own business, cleaning shelves and hoovering dust bunnies, I was harassed into starring in a short film about 'Mods and Rockers' for Nylon TV.

Now, not being either a Mod or a Rocker, my answers were somewhat brief and lacking in depth. Comments appeared on the Nylon website calling me a 'penis'. But you know what, I wasn't upset because after watching it myself, I realised, yes, indeed I was a prick. But we live and learn. Happy watching.

Spare change guv'ner?

A new beginning.

About ten months ago, a lorry with a vendetta decided to try and rip my leg off as I cycled to work through the streets of East London. It upset me a fair bit and for a few months after the incident I was somewhat inconsolable.

Anywho, they caged my leg up for a time and the crying shame was that I had to wear 70s flares as the bones tried to knit back together! And as a lad who likes his clothes, I was livid! Not only had this inconsiderate truck driver took away my Independence (my mum had to wash my backside for a while) he had also taken away my right to wear strides that weren't designed in the BeeGee years.

Well, the cage has now been removed (leaving my pet budgies homeless) and now I have decided to follow a passion of mine that I didn't really do enough of whilst I was trying to make a buck, what people wear and what I think about it.

After a year of looking like John Travolta, I feel that I can make a judgement. And as I have no job to fill my time, I am going to hobble through the streets of London searching for the good, the bad and the ugly. My blog, Style Council in the city, starts here. So as soon as I get enough money, from my £65 a week incapacity benefit, to buy a digital camera, the judgement begins.

So help a hobo out, follow my blog and make your own mind up. Cos London is a great city and I know they'll be some great dressers out there.

Spare change guv'ner?