I grew up with H&M.
My mum worked there as a visual merchandiser for most of my childhood, so in a way, my style today was shaped by the Swedish brand. This made it all the more surreal when I walked into their headquarters across Great Portland Street, being directed to the lift to take me to their glacial showroom on the fourth floor. Their airy, white concrete space; delicate, yet imposing. Greeted by the peppy PR manager, I made my way through the room and found myself in a princely little candy shop, well, from the future. The regal purple hues of the lights shimmered down the tin foil wall constructs. With a capsules machine filled with goodies (H&M gift cards? Yass) and a bounty of drinks on offer (double yass). Welcome to the H&M AW15.16 press day.
I've lived in central London now for just a little under 10 months. Moving there from Essex, which is very much on the cusp of the countryside and the city was a pretty odd experience for me. I've always wanted to live in the city, I still do, but sometimes, it really can all get to you. The synthetic, liberal arts techno pop that litters the atmosphere of the streets can be a little much sometimes. It's funny how living in the city has made me yearn for the simple pleasures of life.
And this is where, in seemingly the most unlikeliest of places, I found my solace. In Matalan of all places! For the brand's Autumn/Winter range for next season, everything's been stripped back. Returning to an earthier, masculine route for their menswear, and a rustic, bare aesthetic for homeware.
"Why did you start blogging?"
A joke I always like to make is that within about 2 weeks of being my friend, you'll end up starting a blog. Believe me, so many of my friends have toyed with the idea of being a blogger when they meet me. When a website of just you mumbling for about 500 words becomes such a incredible part of your life, it really puts things into perspective when people are in awe of that.
I started my blog over two years ago, as a bored, disenfranchised with life teen. Even back then, living in my bubble of Essex, there weren't many, well, guys like me who I could look up to. Bloggers such as David Evans, the refined mind behind the blog Grey Fox, was a blog I'd read in my bedroom, hoping that one day, I could be like him. Goodness, this post is becoming cheesier than a Nick Jonas song.
After meeting him at a talk about the relevancy of men's fashion in the industry at the University of the Arts London, I was inspired. Age is but a number, as the adage goes, the apparent unacceptability of older men wearing, say coloured trousers makes no sense. I'm going to be rocking bow ties and coloured chinos for years to come.
It's an odd feeling meeting someone who's entire perception you have is made of images on a laptop screen. The light of the drinks receptions was roughed and powdered, exchanging business cards, we chatted and talked with Lizzie by my side, airy champagne in hand. I asked to have a minute of his time to interview him. how could I pass up the chance?
I might as well clear this up form the start. I honestly had no idea how I was able to control my ovaries during this whole exhibition. My gawd.
Beards. The stubbly tufts of hair that grow around a guy's chin (or chins, for some. There is no shame in having primary, secondary and tertiary chins) have seen a ridiculous upsurge in popularity in recent years. Even Robert Pattinson disastrously attempted to grow a beard, heck, even I attempted to grow a beard. To say the least, it ended as bad as the ending to Twilight: New Moon, Part 2.
On its final day, I attended the BEARD exhibition at the Somerset House, The scent of Lush's Strawberry Beard Wash gently floated around the air, with the Terrace Hall being crammed with hipsters far and wide. I've never seen so may circular glasses in my life before.
It's a lukewarm Saturday night. The location: Liverpool Street Station. The ground is lightly shaking as the Central Line trains trembles below. You're walking through the hustling station site, the people unwittingly walking past your nervous frame, floating around their own business, their own debacles and stresses. You make your way to a small alcove just outside the brash station. There he stands; your date. He's not.... what you quite expected, but you mutter to yourself "I think I'll give it a shot, I paid the £1.40 for the bus here anyway."
This was the scene for me just after attending the book launch of author Tamara Dumas. The evening was spent with a group of darling ladies, the raucous laughter of the guests and the clinking of champagne glasses forming a backdrop of debaucherous sound. I walk out of the Ninety Eight Bar, an eclectic little pocket in Shoreditch. Dumas' book resonates with me as I trot up the metallic steps. Her new book, rather ironcially, is a light exploration of the dating scene in the metropolitan city of London.
As my date came to an end, one thing was clear, I have to talk to Tamara Dumas and get to the heart of her new book, 'While You Were Awake' (well, that and that I really need to check out a guy's profile before meeting with them, oh dear...).
copyright © josh milton 2017