Rokk Man: The Barber You Want To Know

Rokk Man: The Barber You Want To Know.

At Rokk Man, you’ll find all of the perks of a modern Barber: Chill tunes, a laid-back atmosphere and a rather generous range of alcohol. Three very friendly and knowledgeable dudes man the shop (Rob, Ben – my guy, and Jordan) who are ready to tend to any need you have – if it’s a simple trim, a mad fade or cutthroat shave. You’re also able to book an appointment with a dude you prefer, have a decent cup of coffee while you’re there, and (one of my favourites) a super relaxing hair wash afterwards.

Ben, Rob and Jordon
Ben, Rob and Jordon

It was late last year when I met Rob Ferlaino, owner of Rokk Man. He had just launched his new venture, and introduced himself to me as I was working in the area. Many months later, I’m proud to say I am a loyal client of this quirky old-world barber shop located in Collins Place, Melbourne. Only recently I was talking to some of my Melbourne mates who really take care of themselves (some who are frequently featured on my social media), and I realized that I was not the only one who has discovered this new gem – literally most of the stylish men of Melbourne frequent the establishment! It seems like Rob, Ben and Jordan have earned the respect of the guys I respect, and it’s easy to see why.

Rob messing with my hair
Rob messing with my hair

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rob for a coffee and had him answer some questions that were on my mind:

What first inspired you to cut hair?
Well, I grew up around the trade. My father was a successful Hairdresser and Barber, and it was around the age of 15 that my own real passion began to build. Not long after I first held a pair of cutting scissors, I found myself at home after school cutting my mates hair, and soon realised that I had found my true calling.

How long before you realized that you wanted to pursue a career as a Barber?
I’ve always had an interest in classic hairstyles, traditional cutting methods, male grooming and fashion. It wasn’t until around four years ago (and after a successful career in the hairdressing industry) that I decided to specialize in the fine art of traditional male grooming.

What is Rokk Man Barbers doing differently?
Our initial success has grown from our innovative concept – fusing old world masculinity and cutting techniques with our fresh, modern approach.
We are not just thinking about our clients’ hair, we’re also getting to know them – their lifestyle, what they wear. We are creating a welcoming environment that suits all ages and professions. Our focus with every client is not only to ensure they leave our barbershop with a great haircut, but with confidence and knowledge as well.

Jordon McKenny, Rob Ferlaino, Ben Kane

Who is your main clientele?
Rokk Man is only five months old, and we are already seeing men from all walks of life coming through the door. However, the thing these diverse men share is a passion for grooming and style. Even though we are a collaborative team, we all have our unique approach to our art. This allows us to create such a dynamic barber environment and connect with anyone who walks in.

What hair mistakes do us regular dudes commonly make?
The most common is that guys overuse their hair products. Less is more! Although to be honest, I am generally quite impressed with the overall efforts Melbourne men are putting into their appearance and hair style.

If you could give any styling advice to the guys reading this interview, what would it be?
Always maintain your beard. Ensure you’re using the right product for your hair style, and make sure your personal style matches your ‘do. Lastly, men are often embarrassed to have different products for different occasions – this isn’t a crime!

Rob Ferlaino and his crew definitely know what they are doing. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for his venture, and if you’re a local to Melbourne – I think you’ve just found the Barber you’ve been looking for.

Ciao,

Steve

Rob Ferlaino, Steve Calder

Steve Calder, captured by Elizabeth Kinnaird
Steve Calder, hair styled by Rob Ferlaino and captured by Elizabeth Kinnaird

How To Rock A Double Breasted Jacket

How To Rock a Double Breasted Jacket:

Rose and Born
Rose & Born, Swedish Style Maestros

We’ve all seen them. Those dapper dudes who ooze style – the kind of natural, unique sartorial finesse, at a level you only wish you could reach. There’s a high chance that these gentlemen have at least one awesome DB (if not one, fifty) in their wardrobe. As an avid supporter and wearer of this style, I’m going to share some ideas and knowledge so you can also master  the Double Breasted look.

Fabio Attanasio at Pitti88 captured by The Trend Spotter
Fabio Attanasio at Pitti88 captured by The Trend Spotter

Fit is of utmost importance!

Double Breasted Suits and Jackets are seeing a resurgence with modern styling. The youth of today are wrestling away the antiquated popular stigma of the ‘80s and ‘90s sack-suit. These designs championed by the likes of Giorgio Armani prevailed on the backs of the previous generation. Essentially we have been reinventing a style that has been cycling in and out of popularity for decades. Except this time we’re doing it better.
When it comes to the modern fit, you will see a marked shift towards a slimmer silhouette. Your jacket should feature high armholes, a neat shoulder line and a gorge that sits comfortably atop the collar bones. You must (MUST!) do your research into which brand works for you. It is very important to get these elements right when searching out the perfect DB to begin your collection.

Steve Calder captured by Elizabeth Kinnaird
Steve Calder captured by Elizabeth Kinnaird

Now for the colour:

As you flick through endless photos of the latest Pitti Uomo (88), you’ll realise that your choice of colour palette is unlimited.  You’ll often hear that your colour choices should suit your particular skin tone, hair, eye colour, build and personality. However, I am a firm believer that staples such as black, navy and charcoal always work as the foundation to any jacket collection. I started my DB wardrobe with a black wool crepe number that I bought on sale for under $500 from Armani Collezioni. It was the perfect beginners jacket as I could wear it with pretty much anything – which meant i wore it alot. This ensured I quickly got used to the side-glances and comments from my friends and colleagues for wearing a garment distinctly different from the status quo.

My first DB Jacket.
My first DB Jacket.

Confidence comes later:

I guess the biggest piece of advice I can give to a first timer/menswear beginner, is that it will take some time to get used to wearing something so striking. This means you will have to suffer through a few jibes from your mates and a few awkward compliments from your mums friends before you get comfortable and begin to enjoy your newfound sartorial swagger.

Where to buy:

You’ll be able to find a DB fairly easy when shopping. Finding a GOOD one, now there’s a task. If you’re Australian, I would recommend searching out a small to medium sized local store which delivers good value for money (constructed with a full canvas or half canvas). It’s always a good idea to have something made for you, so I’d start by looking at local tailors and Made To Measure services first. If you’re in Melbourne like I am, or if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out the following brands doing it right in no specific order:

Trunk Tailors
Oscar Hunt
Patrick Johnson
The Finery Company

Ciao,

Steve Calder

Steve Calder, captured by Rocker Nguyen
Steve Calder, captured by Rocker Nguyen
Namha Nguyen (Nami Man) captured by me.
Namha Nguyen (Nami Man) captured by me.

Gerry Nelson: Do Your Research and Buy Quality.

FullSizeRender_2

I wanted to delve into the mind of one of Melbourne’s menswear lovers – somebody who works outside of the fashion scene, has no bias toward any brand, and has formed his own educated opinion on clothing. The other day I sat down with Gerry Nelson, the Melbourne man who has one of the most enviable sartorial wardrobes around. Gerry doesn’t spend big on “designer.” He knows what to buy, when to buy it, and how much to buy it for. I talked to him about how this expertise came to be, and how you are able to begin your journey down the same path of sartorial enlightenment.

Gerry Nelson

Where/how did you first do your research into menswear, and how would you go about it now?

I first became acquainted with menswear while flicking through the pages of GQ and Giorgio Armani catalogues back in the ’90s, trying to mimic the styling on the models and not getting very far!. It wasn’t until I properly started researching menswear back in 2011 where websites such as Put This On and StyleForum introduced me to guidelines such as fit, fabric and colour combinations. I’ve formed many great friendships through Styleforum (especially via the Australian Members thread). These friends have influenced me strongly in the way I dress, and continue to be great sources of information when I want to find specific pieces.

If I was starting my journey again, there are a few articles and blogs I would find invaluable as sources of style inspiration:

Put This On’s The Essential Men’s Wardrobe would be my first port of call, which is a list that contains pretty much every basic piece a man needs for any occasion.

I would also be regularly checking out the eBay Round Up article in Put This On for the items I needed. They’ve done the work in finding some great stuff on eBay and save me a lot of time and money in the process.

Once I had the basics, i’d decide the direction in which I would want to point my style depending on my personal taste. For example, I would try to gauge whether the way I wanted to dress was more akin to “American Ivy,” “The British Gentleman,” “The Italian Industrialist,” or perhaps more along the lines of streetwear. After finding the style I enjoy most, I would look at lots of pictures (say on the What Are You Wearing Right Now thread on StyleForum, The Armoury blog, the Linen For Summer, Tweed For Winter blog and too many others to mention) and see what appealed to my sense of style – not just what looked great on the person in the picture but what I would feel comfortable wearing for whatever I do everyday.

The key is to be relaxed and comfortable in whatever you wear. If you are not comfortable wearing certain things, it will show and people around you will pick up on it.

I would also get to know the staff in my favourite menswear stores, once they know my style and size they will be able to inform me about the fit of the brands they stock and what might suit me each time I visit them. I would buy accessories (ties, pocket squares) and the best footwear my budget permits. I would also take my time – there’s no rush as these items will be quality, and i’d use them year after year.

tumblr_njp4flM8bl1s5fve2o1_500

FullSizeRender_8

What makes you deliberately seek out quality clothes, even though they might cost more?
I think that quality clothes look better as they age and feel better the more they are worn. If you are willing to wait for new season items to go on sale and occasionally buy secondhand, you don’t necessarily have to spend alot. Sometimes there are really great things to be had in thrift shops, but you really need to be able to recognise quality, know what you’re looking for, and disregard the labels.

Why do you spend more on a garment you feel is worth the money?

I tend to spend more on pieces that are hard to find and I will get alot of use out of. However sometimes it is purely because I give in to temptation!

What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe and why?

My favourite pieces are versatile, and can be worn for many occasions and situations. I have a considerable amount of items I love in my wardrobe, but the following are my go-to pieces:

My navy “open weave” sportscoat works well with nearly all the trousers I own. When I can’t think of what to wear, I can throw it on together with a white shirt, brown tie, grey trousers, white linen pocket square and suede shoes and know that I look presentable in nearly any situation.

My dark brown suede chukka boots are comfortable and work well with jeans, chinos, grey wool or flannel trousers.

My navy field jacket is the more casual version of the open weave sportscoat. I’ll wear this with a white shirt, jeans/chinos and and a pair of suede chukka boots and away I go.

tumblr_ngjs5xI8Db1sjwp3so1_500

Any pieces that you dream of owning, but are just out of reach?

At this point, I don’t really have anything that I dream of that is out of reach. I’ve found that there are acceptable substitutes most of the time. However, this could easily change at anytime!

Any general advice for us average dudes wanting to step up our sartorial menswear game?

Get the basics first while focusing on fit and quality. Learn how to polish your shoes, iron your shirts and tie your tie with a four-in-hand knot. The time you put into learning these things will pay off.
Most of all, enjoy wearing your clothes!

FullSizeRender (2)

FullSizeRender_7

FullSizeRender_5

Jared Acquaro: How I’d Start Over As A Sartorial Beginner

“Putting clothes on shouldn’t be as difficult as a Rubik’s Cube.”

Jared Acquaro Full Frontal
Jared Acquaro showing us how it’s done!

Jared Acquaro is undoubtedly the king of good-ol’ classic and manly tailored style here in Melbourne, and is often mentioned on a global scale with his blog “A Poor Mans Millions” (Instagram @apmmillions) which is full of sartorial content and menswear golden nuggets for those in search of inspiration. He also keeps telling me he makes a mean Gnocchi.

Today, I’m taking Jared back in time to his pre-sartorial self, so that we may all take a glimpse of how a true maestro would build his wardrobe as a beginner!

If you were starting from scratch as young Jared, but knowing what you know now, what are the first handful of items you’d focus on? 

Well first of all, if I was young Jared again I’d be focused on becoming a tailor and in doing so I’d find out what works for me and be able to make myself everything I need. Anyway, that is only a dream, so as young Jared I’d start with two basic Navy and Charcoal solids for suiting, a couple of subtle pattern sports jackets, white and blue shirts and your typical black and brown quality shoe. Now in saying that, you said if “I knew what I know now,” it’s a completely different ball game. I would need to slowly build up a wardrobe; I’d already know what works for me through my previous trial-and-error, how something should fit me and why and how to take care of all my clothing too. It’s not always suits and smart wear either, I love to mix casual elements into it too such as t-shirts, cotton pants and polos.

Jared Acquaro "The Don"
Jared Acquaro “The Don”
Christian Kimber Boots
Olive Green Christian Kimber Boots

Where would young aspiring menswear Jared shop in Melbourne? 

I would get my suits, shirts, trousers and jackets made for me from a made to measure tailor here in Melbourne – there are many around these days. It’s best to create your own long-term relationship with one, rather than go to who’s trending each season. I really don’t want to name drop just one brand because I get specific things from all sorts of random places. I think that’s the key to further your own style; For example, you could buy your nice suits and jackets from Oscar Hunt, get your accessories (ties, socks, cufflinks, skincare) from Henry Bucks, buy some seasonal one off’s from MJ Bale, spend a bit on shoes from Double Monk and for those extra special suits or jackets maybe see Joe from The Finery Company when he’s in town. Broadening your horizons will broaden your style. Just try not to jump on too many “band wagons” and “illusions,” focus on quality over quantity.

Who are your current style inspirations? How would you do your research? 

I don’t really have any right now. Back in the day I used to take inspiration from a lot of guys from around the world, the Internet, people in streets and stylish friends. But now I just know what I’m after and like to design or create my own thing. Now I look at not the person per-se, I pay more attention to the colour combinations they choose against the person’s natural tones. Whenever I need some inspiration, my research starts with an idea or colour and typing www.google.com.

What popular fashion trends would you personally steer clear of? 

High fashion or runway doesn’t suit my personality, either does Avant Guarde/Couture. I like more practical and simple constructions. Putting clothes on shouldn’t be as difficult as a rubik’s cube.

Finally, any life tips you might give young Jared

Put your clothes on and walk out the door and never look in a mirror more than once. Confusing yourself takes away your comfortability. Buy for yourself, and nobody else.

If you enjoyed this post, please add your email to the subscribers list on the top right side of this page. Thanks for reading Jared’s opinion and feel free to add a comment. The Melbourne Style brought to you by Steve Calder. Ciao.

Suits and Sneakers Done Right

When it comes to wearing clothes and talking about mens style, my emphasis is on comfort, comfort and more comfort. “All pieces in your wardrobe, formal and informal, should be based around comfort. If they aren’t, you’re not doing it right.”

Even though I advocate comfort, it is very easy for myself and many traditional sartorialists to critique and even shun the use of sneakers in sartorial style. Granted there is a time and place, and when done right this look is very striking and visually pleasing. The trick is to maintain elegance when dressing in this way, and it can be tough to master.

There are two key ingredients to sneaker/suit success. The first is a damn cool pair of sneakers, and the second is to ditch all conventional thinking on what you know about suit wearing. In the examples I give here, I will analyse the specific use of these ideas in non-business wear.

Two Individual Inspirations: Alessando Squarzi and Nami Man

Alessandro Squarzi Suits and Sneakers

Analysis:

Alessandro has the innate flair that many Italians posess, which certainly gives him an advantage on the style front. He’s likely been paying attention to details in the clothing he wears since he was a kid – even more reason we should learn from him!

The clear emphasis here is relaxedness. His trousers are roomy and braces help exaggerate this, his jacket is unbuttoned, and he has plenty of volume in his sleeves. Pair this purposeful tailoring with super comfy sneakers and a decidedly light (casual) colour palette, and you get clasically inspired weekendwear at its best.

Nami Man Suits and Sneakers

Analysis:

Nami is young, trendy and heavily influenced by modern streetwear. Pair his #streetorial background with his love for traditional tailoring and you get a dark, slim, punchy version of weekendwear with the same relaxed intention. In this instance the fabric of his suit is most likely woven to improve freedom of movement while remaining as form fitting as possible. Relaxed comfort in a different, sportified way. This particular look is very eye catching and makes use of (and is incomplete without) accessories. Widely accepted pieces used to complete this look are: Bracelets, Beanies, Eyewear, Rings, Scarves, Quilted Vests and Technical Outerwear.

If you’re still curious about this look, I encourage you to do a bit of your own research. There are many Tumblr’s and blogs that promote relaxed tailoring. Here is a list of a few of my favourite brands and blogs based around relaxed and natural style:

Gabucci

Rose & Born

BnTailor

Patrick Johnson

We Are All Alright

Ciao,

Steve Calder

Introducing Jack Liang: Trunk Tailors and his Style Journey.

“When I needed a suit for my first summer vacation job, that was when I became obsessed with so-called menswear.”

Jack Liang Trunk Tailors Linen Handmade Blazer

Every time I see Jack I think to myself “damn, I need to lift my menswear game.”

Jack Liang is without a doubt one of the small handful of Melbourne dudes who oozes the nonchalant Italian style we normal people wish we had. Luckily with his new Made-To-Measure menswear venture Trunk Tailors (instagram @trunktailors), alongside the legendary local Homie Yang, we all have a chance to take a leaf from his fabric book! Sartorial aesthetic aside, he is super intelligent and down to earth. Two traits that are hard to find paired together in the Menswear world. I sat down with him in his brand new showroom, and was very impressed with his professionalism and the cosy, friendly environment that his brand offers.

Melbourne Made To Measure Suits Trunk Tailors Melbourne Made To Measure Suits Trunk Tailors Melbourne Made To Measure Suits Trunk Tailors

You seem to have a very directional and specific sartorial style. How would you describe your taste in clothing?

I work in a professional environment outside of Trunk Tailors, and in that business less is more. I focus more on details such as my collar roll, button position, higher waisted trousers and being comfortable. When I dress for work in the morning I usually start by choosing a Drakes tie and brown suede Oxfords and my inspiration builds from there. With my suits, navy and grey are the foundation of my wardrobe (I always recommend two shades of each), and I much prefer to play with textures rather than colours.

How did you first become inspired to wear and promote your current style?

It was a sort of natural progression. At first, when I was younger I’d look at Gino in the skateboarding video: Trilogy. Then I was hooked on the brand Visvim in about 2006 and marvelled at their product innovation. Soon after, I became hooked on Japanese denim, Goro’s, HTC and Red Wings. It was when I needed a suit for my first summer vacation job that I became obsessed with so-called menswear. I just had to know what I was paying for, and became obsessed with the intricate details of every garment.

Who are your main sartorial inspirations and why?

Early on I was influenced by The Green Diamond in NY. Then drew my inspirations from Giampaolo Alliata for his friendliness, Yasuto Kamoshita for his elegance, Brunello Cucinelli for his signature earthy tones. I also am impressed by Hiroki Nakamura for his dissertations, the Isaia team for being bold, Hiroshi Fujiwara for his product knowledge – however these days most of my inspiration comes from everyday people in everyday life.

Any words of wisdom for our sartorially inclined readers?

Dress in the right context! Dress for the occasion! Wear a wool suit to work with oxfords, wear cotton suit for drinks with loafers. Own a tuxedo and a bow tie. Get a flannel suit, a cotton, a linen and maybe throw in some seersucker and Solaro for good measure. However there is always a balance. If I can paraphrase Glengarry Glen Ross’ quote, I’d say “put that pocket square down”. At the end of the day, don’t take dressing yourself too seriously, a lady would much prefer a six-pack to a 3-roll-2. Focus on staying fit and healthy and style will follow.

You’ve mentioned your travels when we’ve caught up – can you pick your one favorite place around the world, and why do you love it?

It is so easy to say Naples for its colors, chaos and hospitality. However, I’d have to rank Tokyo as my favourite place. I love how nerdy and OCD Japanese people are with products of all kinds. Their hunger for knowledge and pursuit of perfection is only matched by their respect for traditions. It is inspiring visually and ethically.

trunk_logo

Trunk Tailors looks like a very exciting new menswear venture. Why will you be successful, and what are you hoping to acheive?

It’s simple. We offer 100% handmade garments using the finest fabrics we can find from Italy and Britain at the most competitive price in the market. It is more about sharing the culture and history with our clients and letting our passion shine through, than two-for-one deals or high-end pricing. We prefer to have a more personal relationship with our clients and be able to call every one of them our friend.

Jack is a very passionate man, and I am absolutely looking forward to what he will achieve this year. 

Ciao,

Steve

 

Melbourne Made To Measure Suits Trunk Tailors

Melbourne Made To Measure Suits Trunk Tailors

Wide Lapels Are The Way Of The Future:

“There is a kind of confidence, a sureness of ones self…”

Jared Acquaro A Poor Mans Millions with Steve Calder Melbourne Fashion
Photo of Me by Kim Donggwan of @looongblack

A few years ago when my own “Sartorial Revolution” was well underway, I was trawling street style photos online one day. I stumbled upon a few photos of dudes hanging around Pitti Uomo wearing suits and blazers with huge lapels. I instantly fell in love with this rather classic, manly and visualy pleasing sartorial detail, and have embraced it with a passion ever since.

Lapo Elkann Menswear Melbourne Mens Fashion
My inspirations: Lapo Alkann.
Melbourne Mens Fashion Inspiration The Melbourne Style Chiaia Napoli
My inspirations: Alfonso De Francesco and Gennaro ANnunziata of CHIAIA Napoli.
Manolo Costa The Melbourne Style Mens Fashion Inspiration
My inspirations: Manolo Costa, CHIAIA Napoli and Lapo Alkann.
Steve Calder Melbourne Mens Fashion Inspiration Suitsupply The Melbourne Style
A photo of myself wearing one of my favourite wide lapel suits

There is a kind of confidence, a sureness of ones self when wearing a garment that has such presence that makes the “skinny” lapel trend look wimpy and insignificant – a thought that most local Australian designers are still struggling to come to terms with.

Ermenegildo Zegna Suit Melbourne Menswear Inspiration The Melbourne Style
Double Breasted jacket from my instagram archives by Ermenegildo Zegna

Alas, there is still hope! Slowly but surely this classic style is taking hold – starting with the Avant Gardes abroad a long while back (some of them never leaving this design behind since the last wide lapel outburst), and filtering through stylish local tailors whose clients request the design. After a couple of seasons of rest to let the new style sink into the market, new local brands wanting to make their mark on the scene (M.J. Bale is an example of this) finally popularise the trend and drag the rest of the local menswear world kicking and screaming out of last decade’s design aesthetic.

Some local brands I would recommend if you’re looking to cop a pair of wide lapels in nonspecific order:

M.J. Bale

Oscar Hunt

Henry Bucks

Patrick Johnson

Twelvetailors

Luxury Menswear brands accessible in Australia worth checking out for wide lapels:

Brioni

Tom Ford

Ermenegildo Zegna

Giorgio Armani

Happy hunting!

Steve Calder