GQ Magazine UK does a personal style profile with Dunhill creative director Kim Jones. Before Jones was changing the way we look at men’s suiting, he was bring the world of streetwear to brands such as Umbro. In this profile the designer goes into his love for chinos over denim, the interesting history of the Dunhill archive and why you should be wearing something neutral to a job interview. One of the most interesting highlights of the article is Kim’s take on personal style, quoted as saying “As you get older, you either get stuck in a rut or you develop a style. You refine what you like. I graduated nine years ago, but I don’t think I’ve changed that much. It’s just that everything around me changes. It’s fine to look at the past and tradition but you have to realize that you need to exist in the future. Otherwise you’re nothing”. Some excerpts of the interview are seen below.
It’s fine to look at the past and tradition but you have to realise that you need to exist in the future. Otherwise you’re nothing.
There are so many random, fun things in the Dunhill archive but they’ve all got a really interesting purpose behind them. The key watch [from 1937] is insane but brilliant. There are bags that were made for Mary Dunhill that had a light inside so she could go to the theatre and not interrupt everyone by hunting around in her bag. There’s a lighter that Picasso etched his mistress on. They’re all perfect examples of luxury: things you don’t really need, but you have to have.
Before you buy a pair of jeans just make sure they suits your body shape. I’m finding skinny jeans a bit much these days. You see a lot of big potato bodies on twigs. But I’m liking the pin-rolling phase we’re going through. You just need to leave your girlfriend’s jeans at home.
Walking along Oxford Street now, you see a lot of “metrosexual hairdresser males”. Dodgy haircut (that’s a bit chippy/choppy), spray tan, a distressed diamanté T-shirt and denim that looks raped and pillaged. Some of those things are nice in context, but you can’t wear it top-to-toe. It’s a look I can’t fathom as attractive to anybody.
Checked suits can look a little “old man”. Windowpane is looking at checks in a new way. It’s an old fabric but it’s very sophisticated. I also love any sort of chalk stripe when they’re done subtly.
I was looking for a pair of boots. These Visvim ones that are really great. [For Dunhill] I wanted to do some that felt lasting and wearable – a lot of fashion ones get a little bit unreal.
Buy your basics sensibly and at an affordable price. You can update colours of shirts and T-shirts easily with Topman, Gap or Uniqlo – that’s what’s great about those stores. When you know you can buy a shirt for £10, you can then save up for the jacket you want. Then you can invest in pieces like a great jacket or a great suit – things you know will last and you can wear for a long time. Look at the things that are going to last longer and transcend seasonal wear.
Men always look at each other’s watches and talk about them. So have one you really like and want to talk about. I’m not a watch connoisseur, I don’t want to know what’s going on inside the watch, I buy things visually. When we worked on the Moonphase Dunhill, my favourite watch ever, it’s purely all black so it looks great dressed up or dressed down. If you’re only going to buy one watch, and that’s what your budget is, wear one on different occasions. You need to be able to wear it casually, wear it smart – and wear it when you’re diving in the sea.
When I was 14 I went to the Stüssy wearhouse in Marylebone. My sister’s friend was going out with someone who worked there. I got some T-shirts and trousers and thought I was too cool for school. It was 1990, everyone was obssessed by it but I got it direct from the source. I remember vividly seeing the clothes in magazines, being able to wear them and thinking it was amazing.
Lee McQueen probably gave me the best advice. We didn’t really talk about fashion so much but he just told me the best places to get things. The key is always to wear what you want to wear – don’t wear things for other people.
Being cool is about how you are, rather than what you wear. That’s what’s important. Just look at David Attenborough. He’s the most trusted man in the world, isn’t he?