blog | 05.11.2014
Nick Wooster; social media mogul, dapper gentleman and menswear kingmaker dropped by Harrolds in Melbourne recently to share his thoughts on Australian style, his career and the place of the department store in the fashion landscape.
It’s your first visit to Australia, do you have a first impression of Australian style yet?
There is such an interesting mix of super laid-back style (people in beachwear) juxtaposed against more avant guard fashion. You really get a sense of the “joie de vivre” lifestyle in Australia. Also, even though Australia is so far away from other global fashion hubs, you see so much similarity at the retail level. We are so connected through the digital space today that I felt a real sense of familiarity as well.
In some ways, Australia reminded me of Italy…beautiful country, beautiful cities and with a persistent I-Just-Want-To-Enjoy-My-Life attitude.
Australia’s fashion industry is very young when considered in a global context, where do you see menswear progressing and what role can our young Australian designers look to play in that progression?
Highly disruptive events like the rise of social media and of course the global financial crisis, have forever changed the way men view the world. It has made them more interested in how they look, turned them into savvy shoppers and most importantly allowed them to feel more confident when expressing individuality. Part of this comes from a survival instinct, but mostly men have simply found enjoyment in fashion.
For the most part, all brands have the same challenges globally. Of course Australia also has to deal with distance and seasonal differences, which can make the process more complicated. At the end of the day it simply starts with great talent and great design and I saw plenty of that in Australia. I always say designers have to be patient. They should master what they do in their own backyard and then look to expand to other markets. Too many brands make the mistake of over-distributing.
Harrolds are delighted to be welcoming Lardini into our brand mix from next season, a brand that you have worked closely with, what is about the brand that attracted you to working with them?
First and foremost they are a family business, which I am always attracted to. There is a sense of history and continuity, so you know you are always going to get consistency. Second of all, so many other great brands work with them which to me is a major seal of approval. And last but not least, I really like them as people.
You also consulted with the house of Thom Browne, why do you think the Thom Browne aesthetic has become such a global success?
Thom is one of the very few designers who can be credited with completely changing the way men dress. He introduced a slimmer, shorter silhouette to the global arena, which has now become the norm. His design aesthetic is permanently engrained in the psyche of the fashion consumer.
Your personal style is such an iconic reference point for modern menswear what do you think about when you get dressed each morning?
Honestly, I wake up and watch the weather. It completely influences my daily choices.
What is the most important thing for every man to consider when buying a suit?
Always buy the very best you can afford and make sure it fits impeccably. Fit is always the great equalizer. If it looks perfect on you, it doesn’t matter how much you spent. A perfectly tailored wool suit is the cornerstone to every man’s wardrobe.
Your adolescence was spent working in a department store and you have since worked for some of America’s finest, do you feel a special connection to the luxury bricks and mortar experience?
Yes, I am a shopper first and foremost. I love going to a store that provides an immersive experience. That said the rise of digital and ecommerce has also influenced my shopping behavior. I truly enjoy the privacy of shopping at home and the extended choice the web provides.
To me it is never about one versus the other…both play an important role today and when the experience is consistent across channels it can be extremely powerful.