Move over Bieber and Calvin Klein, even (dare I say it?), move over David Beckham… there’s a new star underwear model in town. Say hello to Calvin Harris for Emporio Armani underwear.
Now, as has been pointed out, the missed trick my Klein to nab the world’s highest paid DJ as their face will forever go down in history as the biggest missed easy win ever. ‘My Calvins’, hello?! But nevermind, as Harris is looking on form in the Armani campaign.
There’s not much I find more exciting than discovering a new label. When you come across a new brand whose designs perfectly emulate your own style aesthetics, wants and needs, it’s just darn well great. This is what has happened to me over the last few months with Foxhall London. Queue modern, transitional style, utility, clean lines with a rugged masculinity – or as the label calls it, ‘Progressive Urbanwear’.
The new Forbes and Lewis men’s bags collections offers contemporary style in timeless packages.
Long-term followers of The Science of Appearance will no I’m a big fan of Dorset-born label, Forbes & Lewis. I first got in contact with them over a year a go when I was first asked to review their debut collection of men’s accessories. You can read my first review in my Master the Art of the Man Bag blog post.
The first collection was impressive, it was a focused range with a clear aesthetic, it payed homage to traditional styles, blending in a modern, masculine aesthetics with a fashion conscious edge. It was a great first outing but the brand still had some steps to take.
Moving on to the present day an Forbes & Lewis are asked me to look at their latest additions to the range, I got my hands on the Devon rucksack, Wiltshire messenger bag and Somerset holdall. I took these bags out on a shoot with the lovely Emma Hoareau from Notion Magazine last week so all photo credits go to her.
Well, it’s a all round thumbs up from me. Forbes & Lewis has paid close attention to their target market and their needs. The new bags are well-thought out, progressive and well made, all while keeping hold of the label’s country-born, city-worn style.
My first outing was with the Wiltshire messenger bag, it’s a modest size cross-body style with two front pockets under the flap fastening with a central main compartment and internal zipped pocket. The bag is made from 16oz waterproof canvas, a speciality of the brand, with a tonal leather flap fastening. The bag is detailed with Forbes & Lewis’ now signature colour pop on the cary handle, this time in lime green. One key area of improvement over debut styles like the Dorset satchel is loosening of the internal lining, this was something I picked up before and it’s great to see the brand making these changes, the new lining is flexible and moved with the flap opening. The bag is light, cleanly styles and has everything you need in a good day bag. It’s a little on the small side for myself, but that’s because I tend to carry half the kitchen sink with me (work docs, gym kit, multiple food/tupperware boxes etc), so I usually need to carry a holdall or additional kit bag. The Wiltshire retails at £125 and is available in black, khaki, tan and blue.
Up next was the Somerset holdall. This is a beautiful bag, well constructed, stylish with it’s canvas and leather build and best yet, the perfect size. It’s small enough that you can get away with it as a day-to-day bag for folks like me who cart gym kit about but don’t want to be seen with a shabby sports bag, yet is big enough to be the ideal travel partner for overnight and weekend stays.
The bag features the signature colour-pop handles with a webbing shoulder strap (detachable) and two internal slip pockets for quick-reach essentials. Hardware comes in the form of polished brass D-rings and clips and the finer details include branded leather logo tabs. The bag is available in black, khaki, tan and blue for £140 and is also available in full-leather vintage leather and electric blue styles for £190.
Finally we have the Devon rucksack. I am slightly obsessed with this bag. I have been looking for a rucksack for ages but finding it difficult to not end up looking like a juvenile or not being quite ‘street’ enough in my look to pull off contemporary styles. Then this bag came a long and saved me.
Above all it is the perfect size, it fits in all of daily stuff including food and gym kit with ease and hangs effortlessly off your back. It’s so slick and masculine with it’s boxy shape and tonal black leather and canvas. contrast straps at the front pay homage to the brand’s signature style and the brass hardware gives a contemporary finish. Inside the flap fastening is lined in the canvas for a premium finish. and theres also a drawstring fastening for extra security – I love this feature and it’s tie in with the Arnold bag’s traditional duffle style. If I had to find one fault, and this is me stretching, is that there is no internal pocket, when I hit the gym I’d like to have somewhere to through my phone/keys/wallet for quick access later, but this isn’t a hindrance as I just put it in my accessories pouch where I hold moisturiser etc and grab that. This bag is about a near perfect as I have found any accessory lately, so much so I have been using it almost every day for 2 months. No matter what my styl eof dress is that day. It goes with everything. The slim canvas straps are understated and the clean proportions and solid colour make it effortless to wear. The Devon rucksack is available in black, tan and blue for £85.
You really cant beat the value of Forbes & Lewis bags, pound for pound and style for style. Anything comparable on the high street would still hit in at a similar price yet comes with the tag of being mass-produced for the commercial market. With Forbes & Lewis bags you are not only getting great style and quality, but your getting an independent story, I love it when people ask me where my bag is from, which they do frequently when I am toting anything by Forbes & Lewis, and I get to tell them about this awesome little country brand I know.
And a final massive thanks to Emma for the pictures!
Be sure to take a look at her blog Lolita Says So and check out what happened when I put her in front of the camera.
Well, what an amazing London Collections: Men it has been. SS14 has given us some great new collections, spark intense debate on fashion versus art as well as giving us some beautifully wearable, timeless styles.
It has been a great 3 days, and I have had a blast partnering with the Ministry of Waxing during LCM. Men’s grooming is a big interest of mine and it’s been great learning more about the treatments available to men with MoW and looking at how they can help men achieve runway looks.
Before we started are journey together however, Ministry of Waxing put an offer on the table I couldn’t refuse. They offered me the chance to come and try one of their treatments first hand, to get preened and groomed in preparation for the collections.
Ellie at Ministry of Waxing’s Covent Garden spa performed my wax. The venue it’s self is a welcoming and calming environment and the girls at the reception are inviting and friendly. Just what was needed as I walked in, slightly wobbly-kneed with fear over my first ever wax. I was given a squidgy monkey (the mascot of the label) who was to become my best friend over the treatment, as I beat and squeezed him).
I was booked in for a chest, stomach and shoulder wax and it lasted under an hour. I won’t lie to you, it was not pain-free, but it was by no means unbearable. Ellie was such a pro, chatting away to me and keeping me occupied that a large amount of it was done will little reaction. Nipples and lower stomach caused a little wince, but otherwise it was ‘smooth’ sailing.
Here is my before and after, thoughts?
As for the London Collections, ‘sleek & chic’ (a great term I picked up from MoW) was definitely the call of the day. From underwear models at HOM to the offbeat and playful East Side Story from Sibling, torsos were smooth, faces were shaved and any other hair was preened to within an inch of it’s life. Check out some images below of the shows with recommendations from MoW on the treatments you can have to achieve the look.
At the amazing HOM X Jonathon Saunder collaboration, all chests were bare and faces were clean-shaven showing of the model’s bodies to perfection.
Ministry of Waxing recommended treatment: Upper body Wax: Chest & stomach, shoulders, nipples & midriff
The Sibling show also followed suit with flashes of torso being silky smooth.
At the Mr Start and Mr Hare presentation the models were groomed to a T, not a single hair out of place, look at those eyebrows (and eyes for that matter!).
Ministry of Waxing recommended treatment: Full Face Wax: Including eyebrows, jawlines, sideburns
Polar opposites were on display at Orlebar Brown, with the fresh faced versus bearded battling it out, but even with a full beard, the model is clearly maintaing his facial hair with strong lines contouring his jaw and preened eyebrows finishing the look.
Thanks again to the amazing guys (especially Genna) at Ministry of Waxing for asking to partner with me for LC:M, it was a huge honour and one I hope we can do again.
Check out treatments on offer at Ministry of Waxing over at www.ministryofwaxing.com
And don’t forget, if you book your appointment over twitter you get a 10% discount!
Based amongst the rolling hills of Dorset (also my home county), Forbes & Lewis is an emerging accessories brand focusing on small, luxury leather and canvas goods. Named after it’s founders, Samuel Lewis Windridge and Katie Forbes, F&L pays homage to world heritage and traditional fashion styles, incorporating the old with the new.
I caught up with Forbes & Lewis founder, Katie Forbes, recently to find out more about the brand first hand.
TSOA: So how did Forbes & Lewis come about?
KF: After much research, a passion for leather and a love for fashion, Forbes & Lewis was launched. We launched F&L as we could not find any decent entry-level luxury brands, the market either had high-end designers charging a fortune or at the lower end, tate. We wanted to create a brand, which had all the styling, detailing and quality of a top designer label with a reasonable price tag.
TSOA: Which product did you design first?
KF: We designed the whole range as a collection so we try to interlink each product to the next with colour and design styles but I think the first silhouette I drew out on paper was the Leisel satchel with the opening back section. It’s hard to limit the design of new silhouettes when you’re starting out with so many ideas in mind.
TSOA: Now we know TheScienceofAppearnce.com is all about the Arnold gym bag, but do you have a favourite style?
KF: Sam’s favourite is the Arnold Gym bag but I love the 13″ Dorset Satchels, so cute and such nice leathers so I would have to put them first!
TSOA: Where do you get your inspiration?
KF: We get our inspiration from all over really, keeping an open mind and letting our ideas lead from one to the next.
TSOA: Do you road test each design before it gets put into production?
KF: Yes, we are really keen to make sure all our designs work well and are practical as well as stylish, so we sample and road test all products before production.
TSOA: What’s the process of a Forbes & Lewis product, from design to dispatch?
KF: All of our designs start with a sketch followed by a computer drawing which details everything from colour and style to stitch colour and pockets, and then the sampling begins. We get a first sample sent over to us to check and adapt if necessary. We then spend much time picking the best leathers and canvas types for each different silhouette. Once we are happy with all the materials, fixtures, fittings and designs we give the go ahead to make the salesman samples. Once these are approved we can place our order and visit the factory to make sure everything is going according to plan.
TSOA: A lot of Forbes & Lewis’ designs are very simple, modern classics. Was this always the intention or did you come across this style and think ‘well this works’?
KF: We have always wanted to keep our designs simple and understated with a modern twist so the aim was always to produce a classic range with a contemporary edge. We feel this is a good starting point, which we can look to expand on over the next few years.
TSOA: If you had to describe Forbes & Lewis in three words, what would they be?
KF: Stylish understated luxury
TSOA: What does the future hold for Forbes & Lewis?
KF: We are taking it one step at a time and really trying to focus on building our core styles whilst injecting new and exciting styles and colours. We are going to be introducing lots of waterproof canvas and leather mix products for Autumn Winter 2013/14, which will complement our full leather styles and collaborating with some great people!
After connecting, Forbes & Lewis sent me a couple of their current collections’ key pieces, the Arnold gym bag and the Dorset satchel to try out.
I was impressed from the get-go. The designs are focused, sleek and effortlessly refined. Blending a masculine edge with fashionable accents, Forbes & Lewis offers arm candy for any occasion, and at an accessible price.
I’m completely in love with the Arnold gym bag, and since having it I have used it nearly everyday. A beautifully designed bag, its canvas body moulds with its contents, and your body, for an effortlessly comfortable fit. The single strap is a versatile way to carry the bag, on the shoulder or across the body. The additional handle to the side makes for a quick grab and go. The leather trims give this bag a refined finish, taking up to a luxury level. A handy front zip pockets makes the perfect place to stash your essentials when hitting the gym, or for easy-access documents when travelling.
I honestly cannot shout about this bag enough, I have had a compliment about the bag every single time I have taken it out the house, and let’s face it – that’s a huge reason why we are so picky with what we where. We want to impress those around us and be noticed. Job done. And with a price tag of £50-65, the Arnold gym bag offers amazing value for money.
Find out more about the Arnold bag by checking out my article over on Fashionbeans.com.
As for the Dorset satchel, this classic-with-a-twist style is perfect for those who like to be fashionable but need their style with a little added water. A staple black-leather design, this satchel is given a bold pop of colour with a blue leather carry handle. Under the hood (a magnetic fastening flap), you find a sizeable front pocket, perfect for magazines and tablets, as well as a slim but spacious enough main compartment. The bag does have a negligible stability issue when placed upright while full, but that’s a mere comment and takes nothing from this beautiful bag. It’s a perfect work choice, carried as a briefcase with a suit, but is just as stylish paired with your weekend looks, toted by the removable shoulder strap when hands-free is needed.
Something I’d love to see from the Dorset satchel would be a raw inside, currently it has a durable poly-cotton canvas in tonal black that adds stability to the bag, but I’d love to see an exposed raw leather maybe even just on the front pocket as an homage to the earthy home-grown roots of the bag and company. Priced at £165, this bag offers a lot of bang for your buck. When quality, design and manufacturing are factored in, the Dorset bag is the epitome of the ‘investment piece’.
I feel honoured that Forbes & Lewis have reached out to me with their products. Their designs are high-class and the story behind the brand gives them a great connectivity with their consumer. I can’t wait to see the new additions to the collection next season, and can’t wait to collaborate with them again.
Check out the photos from my shoot with the F&L products below, or head over and view the rest of the collection at ForbesandLewis.com
Komono’s WIZARD print watches are killing it. The reason? They’ve got motif.
For summer 2013, Komono introduces eight new bold and brilliant prints to its coveted WIZARD print series, offering an effortless piece of wrist candy that will add character to any look.
“Go jungle-creeping commando-style or evoke memories of lazy Tropicana moments around a neon- splashed paddle pool… Pick the missing timepiece in your daily styling puzzle.”
Find out more about Komono’s WIZARD print series and check out the collection by finishing this article over at Fashionbeans.com
About What Neil Did
I’m Neil, a London-based editor (by day) and blogger (in the gaps between!) and here’s where you’ll find out what I get up to.
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