Tonight, British shoemaker Clarks launch their first dedicated men’s pop-up in Covent Garden. To mark the opening, I photographed four London gents in their favourite Clarks' styles around Seven Dials.
In this interview, Adam Titchener talks about growing up in London's music scene and tips for buying the perfect suit. See the full feature below and head to 55 Neal Street from the 23rd onwards, where you can find my photography as well as a curated selection of Clarks' coolest mens footwear.
Adam is wearing Edward Lord boots in tan, photographed at St Giles in the Fields Church - 1025 feet from the pop-up shop at 55 Neal Street.
Adam Titchener, Editor-in-Chief of The Sartorial Guide.
Where did you grow up and where do you live now? My whole family are Battersea born and bred and I grew up just outside of London. Made the small journey back into central as soon as possible and I now reside in Hoxton, East London. Much to my dad’s annoyance.
What's your star sign? Aries.
Current album on repeat? Loveless - My Bloody Valentine (but thats always on repeat). At the moment it’s anything by St. Vincent, I’m obsessed with Annie Clark, her back catalogue is on while I’m working.
Describe yourself in 5 words? Optimistic, Positive, Tailored, Chelsea fan.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a professional footballer. I grew up surrounded by it, my whole family have been going to Chelsea since god-knows-when. This year is my 21st season going to the Bridge. Unfortunately after numerous trials and playing at under 13 level and what-not, I wasn’t in that 0.001% of incredible footballers, so I didn’t pursue it any further. After that I wanted to be a musician, I gigged every week from the age of 17 to 22, my band did quite well but circumstances were against us and I stumbled, wide eyed, into the world of menswear.
You've just started a new men's style site The Sartorial Guide - why did you create your own channel of communication? The main idea was to create an online publication that was as reliable and informative as a print publication. You tend to find websites that start great features that you like but then they tail off before you’ve had a chance to enjoy it the second time around. I wanted original content, in-house photo and video content. Creative people working together to come up with new and exciting ideas, I have a fantastic team working on the website, people that may not necessarily have qualifications in journalism but those who are able to express their knowledge of menswear, dining, culture and all the good things in life, with passion and personality. Working for other publications you realise what they have done well and what they could do better, and all you can try and do is better that, be more creative and deliver your readership what you would want to read everyday.
You're a man who knows his way around a suit - are there any points that men generally get wrong with buying a suit? I think the one thing most guys get wrong is they simply buy the wrong suit. You see it so many times where a suit isn’t ideal for their body shape. If you work out at the gym, don’t try and squeeze yourself into a skinny fit suit from Topman, it just looks ridiculous. A suit should be a second skin, it should accent you in all your best places and disguise all your not-so-good places. Attention to detail is important. Sleeve length is imperative as well as shape across the chest, arm hole and sleeve width. A tailor is your best friend here, you must get your suit altered if you buy it off the peg. I guarantee it won’t fit you perfectly otherwise. A cheaper, well-fitting suit, will look much better than an ill-fitting expensive suit, remember that.
If money were no object - what one outfit would you buy? It would have to be a bespoke suit and shirt. Something I think every guy should buy at least once in their life. Find a tailor that you share an affinity and understanding with and let them craft you a masterpiece. Without a doubt mine would be made by Joshua Kane, one of London’s most exciting and original tailors. His cut, fabrication and detailing are something that I really love and find suits me well (excuse the pun). His ready to wear collection fits me like a glove already so thats always a good indication to go from.
You're a proper Londoner born and bred - your swagger is everything I guessed a proper London bloke to be before I came here. What do you think makes a great Londoner? Someone who has their identity but embraces everything that there is to love about London, which is its diversity. London is the best city in the world but like all good things in life, you have to put something in to get something out. Embrace London with open arms, be open to opportunities and new experiences and it will reward you greatly.
How was it growing up with a father in the music industry in London? You must've been to some amazing gigs over the years - any highlights? I had some incredible experiences, although at the time, they really didn’t seem like anything special to be honest with you. It was completely normal at 13 years old to hang backstage at a Motörhead show, or sit in a recording studio aged 7 and play the congas, albeit incredibly badly, on someones record. It was also a great learning experience, realising that its not all glamour. It definitely saves disappointment at a later date. When you don’t witness it first hand you think it’s all helicopters, sex, drugs and rock n roll. Then you realise it’s just a lot of waiting around in the back of a Mercedes.
We shot in Covent garden as the new Clarks pop-up is opening at Seven Dials. What's your favourite thing about that area? It’s has a lot of history and some great shops. There's something for everyone there. I’m liking the way it’s going at the moment with more and more pop-ups, independents and quirky flagship stores.
Any hidden secrets you love in Covent Garden? Slam City skates in Neals Yard, New Row Coffee and Laird & Co (best hats out there) on New Row and Red Wing boots from American Classics on Endell St.
Leave us with some words of wisdom. Never settle for second best.