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Thursday, 22 January 2015

GarconJon meets...Vintage Gym Collective

With a serious lack of quality design in the sportswear market, I was happy to hear that Original Penguin are launching a new collection called 'Vintage Gym' - inspired by classic American design. It's mixture of Letterman jackets, comfy knits and cotton jersey bottoms suit my aesthetic well and so was more than happy to shoot their launch imagery in East London. We selected three influential men, each fast becoming leaders in their chosen fields, and followed them on their morning keep-fit routine to see how they spend their time of out of the workplace.


La Touche, 24, Apprentice Hat Maker

As a man who's never without a hat on his head, it's hard to not recognize La Touche in the street. That and the fact he's impossibly tall means that man is unmissable. With a powering frame, there's no prize for guessing which sport he is a master of. Watching him play, it would appear basketball is a part of his DNA. We headed out to his local court in London Fields to shoot some hoops and shoot the shooting of some hoops.

What's your sport? I play basketball because it’s a sport I enjoy. Of course, I'm tall which helps and means in school I was always picked first for the team - hopefully my skill reflects that!

What's your life motto? I live my life to always be happy and grateful for every new day and never leave the house without a hat.


Jamie Millar, 30, Associate Editor of Men’s Health UK

As an editor of one of the world's leading fitness publications, I'm sure the pressure must be pretty high to keep fit. The idea of slogging away in a gym doesn't really appeal to me so when I heard Jamie was a fan of calisthenics I was excited to see how it worked. At first, I thought it'd be a bit like parkour and although not a world away, it seems a lot less dangerous and a lot more convenient. We met up at Jamie's local park to document his morning routine before work.

How did you get into Callisthenics? I was interviewing the actor Charlie Hunnan about his training regime for the cover of Men’s Health and he told me he was into callisthenics, which is a fancy way of saying bodyweight exercises but with a gymnastic element. The word actually comes from the Greek for “beautiful strength”. I was so curious that the next morning I went down to the park to train and a week or two later I managed my first muscle-up – like a pull-up but you end up on top of the bar.

Is there a real benefit to the sport beyond working out in a gym? There’s something almost meditative about trying to master your own bodyweight as opposed to just mindlessly throwing weights around. It’s endlessly compelling – more like learning a skill than simply exercising – it’s outside in the fresh air and it’s free. Plus as Hunnam said to me: “It just feels like old-school man stuff.”

Life Quote – “By trying to be a little bit better than I was yesterday.”


Tom Clark, 24, Professional Dancer

Playing a principle role in Mathew Bourne’s Edward Scissor Hands, Tom know's a thing or two about workout gear. When we first met, it was hard to see the dancer within. He's clear tall, broad shouldered and lean, but it's not until movement is introduced that his skill really shines. I asked him to warm up and suddenly a dancer emerged - elegant and poised - I saw a new man come to the foreground.

How did you get into dance? I'm originally from a sporting background and I ended up getting into dance by listening to music like Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson. I would spend every evening jamming in front of the mirror at home and learning routines. Following a bit of acting and dance at a local school, I ended up going to a Hip Hop dance school in Watford in my teenage years. From here I decided I wanted this to be my job!

It's a notoriously difficult industry to break, did you find that? After many auditions for the big dance collages in London I ended up with a scholarship to Millennium performing arts for 3 years studying musical theatre and classical dance. That was my big break. I have been lucky enough to travel the world, be involved with film and perform on some of the most famous theatres doing what I love. It’s great to be able to earn a living doing something that I enjoy and also be surrounded by some pretty cool unique characters that are always up for a laugh.

What's the greatest part of being a dancer? I know this career won’t last for ever so I live in the moment. I have already had a hip operation but for now I’m going to push myself to the limits and enjoy every second of what this brilliant industry has to offer.

What's your life motto? I live with no thought of what tomorrow will bring. Live for the present because you only get to live that moment once! Most of all love those people close to you and forget those people who don’t have no love for you!