Category

STYLE

Category

Always Wear Red is getting narrower.

We’re focusing down on doing just one thing.

Really, really well.

And that’s jumpers.

Narrower. 

Great brands are almost always narrowly focused.

Duracell know what they do.

Batteries.

And they know what they stand for.

Lasting longer.

Yet as they have the greatest global market share of around 24%.

Common sense might suggest that such wonderful brand awareness means they are a perfectly positioned platform from which to launch other products.

Not so.

One of the reasons they are so dominant in the batteries category.

Is because batteries is all they do.

Always Wear Red

For 3 years I have ignored my own advice.

(I know!)

And I’ve explored.

I’ve mastered how to create, using Britain’s best makers and the world’s best materials, superb caps.

And scarves.

And hats.

And ties.

And pocket squares.

And socks.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

I didn’t know where my true love lay.

So I skipped about.

Learning my trade.

As I grew the offering.

Brand.

The Always Wear Red brand has never changed, mind.

It has always been about creating confidence.

And it always will be.

Making the wearer feel amazing.

So they do amazing.

But the offering was too broad, really.

Until now.

Jumpers. 

So jumpers it is.

And in the same way that Hiut Denim are on the or way to creating the best jeans in the world.

And McNair Shirts are creating the best merino wool shirts in the world.

Always Wear Red is creating the best 100% merino wool jumpers in the world.

Heavyweights.

And Lightweights.

They will be ready later this year.

Time.

It’s taken time.

And care.

And patience.

And money.

(And more money).

And a lot of love too.

But it will be worth it.

My newest and most crisply structured brand is Always Wear Red.

I thought AWR started on Valentine’s Day 2016.

But I am mistaken.

Always Wear Red actually started about 35 years ago.

When I was 15.

Claire. 

Claire lived up the road from me on Windermere Crescent.

She was no older than my 15 years.

Yet somehow, she was a young woman.

And I was a boy.

School. 

We walked to school together.

Each day I’d get ready in my blend-in school uniform and peer up the street for her.

She’d smile as I joined her to walk at her side.

I knew exactly when she’d walk down the street.

Claire was easy to be with.

And I loved listening to her.

She told me stories about me.

The me I wanted to become.

In the future.

In my head.

Boyfriends.

Claire’s boyfriends were very often older than Claire.

She told me tales of fumbling in cars.

Tales about sneaking off.

Tales about what happened when they got caught.

And (much more interesting) tales about what happened when they didn’t get caught.

15. 

As I was approaching 16, I decided that I should be Claire’s boyfriend.

And a big part of my plan to make this happen was for Claire to see me not in my school uniform.

But in my special tee-shirt.

I had bought this t-shirt from ‘town.’

On one of the occasions I’d been there mum-free.

With my mates.

Special Tee-shirt.

You see, upon wearing this special t-shirt it clearly made me infinitely more fanciable.

So I’d get my mum to iron it for when I thought Claire might be walking down Windermere Crescent on a weekend.

Or in the school holidays.

So I could accidentally bump into her.

I felt different with Claire when I was wearing my special tee-shirt.

I felt like I could actually be Claire’s boyfriend.

Always Wear Red. 

Always Wear Red started when I was 15 years old.

When my special tee-shirt turned me into James Bond.

When my special tee-shirt made me feel that I could do anything.

The feeling was real.

The feeling that, when you wear something so, so special – you’re unstoppable.

And I thought about this feeling in 2015.

I thought to myself:

…imagine a clothing brand born to make us feel amazing.

That created confidence for us.

Now that would be something.

And Always Wear Red was born.

Beware the kilt. 

Quite a few years ago now, I was on a stag night.

And I wore a kilt.

This experience revealed something quite startling to me.

Something that I have never forgotten.

Wee.

When I go for a wee, I stand up.

(If you are wincing reading that, probably don’t read on).

Occasionally, this is at a urinal as opposed to a sit-down toilety thing.

Now – and you can test it if you like (just get naked in a public toilet when you have a wee) – quite a lot of wee splashes back onto ones thighs with urinal weeing.

I know this because of the kilt (naked leg)/urinal combination.

And this got me thinking that there will be quite a lot of wee on your trousers.

Most days of your life.

Wee that you won’t notice of course.

But it is happening.

PISS-LEGS…

…is a thing.

This Was a Public Information Message From 50odd.co.uk. 

You’re Welcome.

PS If you are a Scottish person, can you shed any light on this subject please?

Is PISS-LEGS a real problem? 

Is ‘aim’ a factor?

Is ‘standing position’ a factor?

Too close. 

Too far away.

Am I unique in recognising this as a phenomenon?

Is ‘get a life’ part of the response you want to send?

I thank you.

Genderless clothing brands are a good thing. 

Because they encourage people to share what they wear.

And because they (should) do away with any silly stereotyping.

Here are some to take a look at.

https://eckhauslatta.com 

Based in New York, quirky, quite nice and slightly bonkers.

https://t-o-o-g-o-o-d.com/clothing

Minimalist, cool and – again – a bit mad.

www.bethnals.com

Decent denim-obsessed basics.

Not terribly adventurous but yes – interesting and affordable.

https://vertigga.com

Another American brand.

Youthful.

The (odd) Wilde Boots are interesting.

Genderless.

I personally see genderless clothing as simple, common sense idea.

Not a political stance and neither for or against any particular group or persuasion.

Just something that, if done well so that it encourages us all to buy less and buy better, makes sense.

The examples here are early entrants to the category.

The category itself is young.

I suspect some enter it as it feels newsy.

The best will do it because of how it can effect our world positively.

They are the ones that will last.

Wear It. Share It.

We live in a world where over 70% of all clothing made is either burnt or buried within 3 years.

Things need to change.

And genderless clothing could be one small part of that change.

Wear it… then share it.

These two gentlemen are both highly respected for what they do professionally. 

Phil is a Producer / Director type.

Carlo founded and leads a property development brand. And he co-founded The Do Lectures.

Mucking About.

It has however come to my attention that, alongside these positions of responsibility (and I think that this photograph goes some way towards supporting my claim) they spend time ‘mucking about’.

It’s a disgrace.

When I was about 20 I imagined that 50(ish) old men should not be doing this kind of thing.

Rather, they should be reading the broadsheets in their sheds, watering plants and working out whether PEPs were better than ISAs or ISAs are better than PEPs.

The Baker Boy caps they are both wearing (blatant plug coming up) are as classic as they are cool.

They are from Always Wear Red.

Do I want the brand that I created associating with men that somehow manage to join the dots between  leading their profession, having a giggle and looking cool? All at the same time?

Yes.

I do.

I’ve been in luxury clothing design/fashion for almost 3 years. 

And I am 50 years old.

Nigel Cabourn has been in fashion for 51 years and he is (about) 69 now.

I watched Nigel for years. I love his single mindedness.

His focus.

And his expertise.

I first saw him in the flesh as he was served a noisy meal in a little cafe on Gosforth High Street in 2017.

The meal was noisy because it was one of those sizzling Chinese things.

I didn’t approach him. I’d have stuttered. I’m like that with my heroes.

And anyhow, he was eating.

London.

I saw Nigel talk in London, too.

Again, I didn’t speak to him one-on-one but I did ask him a question.

So that counts as ‘talking to him’ in my book.

PioNEers

In 2018 I had an idea for a photoshoot of people I considered to be pioneers in the North East of England.

Nigel is one of them, so I asked and he agreed.

The Always Wear Red team spent a couple of hours in his Jesmond studio.

Learning.

Listening.

Photographing.

Playing table tennis.

Design Network North

And just last week I went to a talk where Nigel was chatting to business people in the North East.

He shook me by the hand and we chatted away for 5 minutes or so before we went in.

Heroes

Meet your heroes.

Nigel is someone I’d admired for years.

And now I learn from him.

Not because he mentors me. Simply by being around him.

Listening.

Learning.

Watching.

Meet your heroes.

I have some good news for you today. 

It is:

There is no direct correlation between how cool you are and how old you are.

Most significantly, it is not true that the older you get the less cool you get.

In fact – if you do it right – you get cooler as you get older.

Classic cool.

I am in dangerous territory now.

The wrong kind of 50 year old guy using words like ‘cool’ or ‘disco’ is a terrible thing.

But I just wanted to point out that the coolness of Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Marvin Gaye is ageless.

And timeless.

So if you’re knocking on a bit, all is not lost.

Classic cool is the best kind of cool.

These days, most ‘cool’ is manufactured.

Vacuous.

Unauthentic.

So take a look at the images that go with this post at 50odd.co.uk.

And channel what they’ve got.

Most of them are sadly no longer with us. So they don’t need their ‘cool’ any more anyway.

Good luck.

Most of the Always Wear Red community are Generation X (35-50) or the Elastic Generation (50-69).

AWR talk a lot about brand purpose – the Creation of Confidence – and we tell our style story visually too. With images and film across social media.

Then, those that join us, join us.

Advertising.

I am aware that 80% of advertising budgets worldwide target 18 to 34’s.

Yet 80% of the UK’s wealth is controlled by people over 50.

This is very strange.

Because I think style is timeless and ageless.

Style.

For me and for Always Wear Red we’re nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with style.

That’s timeless.

Paul Weller (60), Nick Cave (61), David Byrne (66), Idris Elba (46), Tom Hardy (41), Lenny Kravatz (54) are creative pioneers.

They’re not ‘cool for their age’.

They’re just cool.

And even though AWR is menswear, we consider women like Tilda Swinton (57), Kate Moss (44), Kylie Minogue (50), Juliette Binoche (54) and Carine Roitfeld (64) as we design.

Such women would wear cool, classically designed, wonderfully made menswear in a heartbeat.

Worth.

As we age we gain experience and wisdom.

We more easily recognise the extraordinary from the ordinary.

We learn our worth.

I have to remind myself that, as a brand, we don’t have to ‘persuade’ the stylish, the liberated and the pioneering to join us.

We just have to be stylish, amazing, different and classic, with a little edge.

Because our customer is like that too.

Style.

Timeless.

Image: Pete Zulu, original Lead Singer of The Toy Dolls. Wearing AWR Skinny Bandage Scarf (Red. 100% Merino wool).

If you’re a guy aged 40 or above, take a look at http://www.greyfoxblog.com.

It’s run by a chap I know called David Evans. David champions quality British makers. Here is a link to his spreadsheet. Always Wear Red are on the list.

David is great for other reasons, too.

David looks at style for the older guy. Personally, I am not a fan of fashion where it is patronising or controlling – telling me what to wear. Always Wear Red customers wear what they want to wear.

But the way David does it is to, somehow, simply present cool options. Sensibly, simply and well.

Grey Fox Blog also knows what it is for.

This may seem like a strange thing too say but what I mean is that David understands the needs he is fulfilling.

Much of the fashion industry ignores the older guy, even though he is likely to have more money, more self awareness and – because he is less inclined to be worried about what people think of him – a more adventurous approach to style too.

So there you go. Grey Fox Blog. Spread the word.

Image: David Evans, Grey Fox Blog, featuring in The Rake Issue 56 March 2018.

I was invited to a White Ball last weekend. At Ramside Hall near Durham.

It was devised by a very cool chap called Sergio Petrucci. They’ve raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for CHUF (The Children’s Heart Unit Fund) over three years.

Amazing.

All In.

I am an ‘all in’ kind of guy. If I am going to do something I like to do it as well as I can.

So when Sergio told Lisa and I that we and every other guest had to wear all white to this 6 hour event, we set about getting outfits together.

For Lisa it was a dress and jacket and she looked great.

For me it was slightly more tricky. But as I’d decide to go all in I ended up with white Doc Martens, white jeans, white jacket, shirt and tie.

And white hair.

You can just about see this in the image accompanying this story at the 50odd website.

Crisis.

I think my mid-life crisis started when I was about 20. And this is probably just another stage I am going through.

I’d never dyed my hair in 50 years. So I thought, why not? I don’t have as much hair as I used to so it saved a few quid on hair dye. And a couple of whiskeys spurred me on to actually do it.

So here I am. Aged 50. With dyed white/yellow(ish) hair.

So when you see me wearing a flat cap or a beanie in the next few weeks… that’s why!