Menswear guide to Monmouth Street

October 23, 2016

After ten weeks away it’s great to be back in London. Going away for a summer and then coming back to it, I have a new wave of appreciation for this city. I feel after a few years of visiting London, I now have a grasp of what the place is like. Overtime Shoreditch has turned into my go-to, walking around with confidence (kind of) and knowing where I’m going. But I don’t just want to know the ins and outs of East. London has plenty to offer and menswear on Monmouth Street in Seven Dials is one of them.

Seven Dials is a hub of shops that are just a short walk from Covent Garden. If you’re like me and enjoy a shopping experience that involves independent retailers, interesting conversations and learning the ins and outs of a brand, then maybe Seven Dials is for you. With Nik Speller – one half of Buckets&Spades – we visited a few stores on Monmouth Street. Not forgetting a lunch pit stop at Cure+Cut for lunch and Timber Yard for coffee.


Kit & Ace, 15 Monmouth Street

Let’s start with Kit & Ace. Placing importance on technical clothing, they don’t want you to worry about what you’re wearing. For example, Kit & Ace doesn’t crease! While in store I got to learn about how the brand continues to improve and uses the community to do it. Having customers feedback to the designers, they make changes to their pieces accordingly, which I think makes perfect sense. Inside you’ll find pieces for all lifestyles, whether that is trousers for the cyclist or shirts for the city man.


Natural Selection, 46 Monmouth Street

A few doors down there is ready to wear brand Natural Selection. The shop has recently been refurbished and the new A/W collection has just landed on the rails. Perfect time for a visit don’t you think? Manager Sam was on hand to talk me through the brand, explaining the materials, the cut and the practical uses of this seasons offering. While their statement coats have received press coverage on Highsnobiety, there are plenty of navy and grey basics to keep minimal styles occupied. Natural Selection also houses: No. 288 footwear, Dr Jackson’s skincare, Histoires de Parfums along with a few print reads, most notable being Cereal.


Le Labo, 48 Monmouth Street

And just next door you’ll find Le Labo. If it’s your first time going into Le Labo you’re in for a treat. As expected, the small shop on 48 Monmouth smells incredible from the minute you walk inside. With plenty of fragrances laid out you’re definitely going to find one to suit you, with Santal being my favourite. Slightly on the expensive side, it’s definitely a measured purchase.


Larsson & Jennings, 53 Monmouth Street

Last stop on Monmouth Street was a chance to look at some simple timepieces. Larsson & Jennings is a watch for the guy (and girl) who likes to keep things simple. I’ve grown accustom to a clean watch face with no bells or whistles. But just because they have a simple face, it doesn’t mean that the mechanics are likewise. And while you’re pondering your next watch, enjoy a coffee in-store and have a flick through their new ‘twenty-six’ magazine, named after the day they sold their first watch.

Check out the full list of shops over at Seven Dials here. Thank you for stopping by and reading my new post!


Manchester hangs and freelance chat

October 16, 2016

Rollneck Realm&Empire Trousers Initial Trainers Adidas Originals Travel Pouch Campbell Cole (c/o) Watch Mondaine

Somewhat a rarity, I managed to see the sun shining on Manchester and what a difference it makes! Travelling up north to meet up with Matthew Pike of Buckets & Spades for a long overdue catch-up. We discussed all things freelance and my travels in Hong Kong and Asia.

Yes, if you haven’t heard, I’ve turned freelance! The job that most wouldn’t dream of doing and others would love. I’m so excited to be working for myself as it’s always appealed to me. The idea of selecting my own projects and being flexible to travel suits me perfectly to the ground. Although it’s early days for my freelance ‘career’, I’m learning what can make it so difficult at times. From jobs falling through, to how easy it can be to press snooze on the 8am alarm. Motivation is key!

Since being back in England I’ve travelled down to London and up to Manchester to chat to friends about freelance life. I’ve been making these trips to gain little tips and advice on something Mat is well versed in. Managing to successfully make freelance work for him, who would be better to quiz.

We hit up Takk, a new coffee shop I was yet to visit (top marks for the flat white) to start our day in Manchester. Then we kind of took some snaps – as you can tell – around the city with some lovely Campbell Cole leather goods (c/o) and just mooched for the day. Sometimes it’s nice to walk around with no agenda and get your camera out when it feels good.

A few photos and shops later (Oi Polloi draws me in every time), we ended up in Rapha Cycling café for an excellent filter and a pie in Pieminster. You could argue we didn’t really do much on a rather sunny Thursday, but that’s what you need some days.


Streets of Hong Kong

October 9, 2016

To end my travels I visited to one of my favourite places, Hong Kong. With it being my first solo trip to Hong Kong, I wanted to explore as many new areas as I could. Hopping on and off the MTR was the best way to travel and it was fascinating to simply walk in and around a city with so much colour and noise. Through the Instagram accounts of Flosslai, Jesso, Lauralaviani and Edwardkb, I was in good stead in knowing where to go. This post is dedicated to the cityscapes of Hong Kong.

First stop, go where nobody tends to go…

Not on the top of many lists, I chose to visit public housing buildings. There are so many people now living in Hong Kong, the place only knows how to build up. Almost half of the population live in some kind of Government housing that reach incredible heights, meaning they were great subjects for photos. Rounded, rectangular and symmetrical, they were pretty ace on camera. The first building on my list was Oi Man estate and from the top it was pretty crazy. Though small on the inside, the hallways and open spaces made for some good shots.

Hong Kong has the same vibe as London but just much, much busier. Infamous red taxis, market stalls, neon signs and just a general bustle makes Hong Kong a place that consumes you.

Away from housing and on street level, there is something interesting happening on every corner. There are people negotiating over price in food markets, the elderly playing games of draughts while the business people skip past from day until night. Hong Kong is prime people watching territory.

When it comes to finding new independent coffee shops or the latest Instagram café to visit you are spoilt. My personal favourites are The Cupping Room and Omotesando Koffee in Wanchai. Beside from food spots, personal style seems to be quite limited to the few who are in the know, but an independent shopping experience can be found at PMQ in Sheung Wan.

To end my trip I met up with Laura who ended up being my local guide for my last day, albeit on a very rainy day. Meeting up with ‘internet friends’ is great, hearing what they think about the place your visiting. To you it’s a new unexplored city, whereas to them it’s just their backyard that they have probably outgrown. We managed to make the most of the day and found ourselves ending the day on top of Hong Kong, and for the first time, I could hear myself think.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my travel posts of late, it’s been cool to do something different. At the same time, I’m excited to talk about menswear again and share with you some exciting brands, both old and new.