I usually use the phrase “sweet and sinister” to describe a girl, but somehow that phrase perfectly fits Jonathan Quearney. He is charming like a typical Irish born and raised young man, but you can just tell that under the surface there is an edge.
I get the sense that he knows that if he is entering the slowly devolving arena of Savile Row that he better do it with his eyes wide open and search for how to make tailoring relevent to the modern customer.
One way he has done this is by understanding and embracing modern fashion, not fighting it. Jonathan is a partner in a very cool men’s knitwear collection in London called Aluma & The Tailor.
I met Jonathan when he was in New York recently and asked him a few questions about his personal style,
Must have item for Fall 2005?
If you want to add something useful to your wardrobe: softly tailored garments in plain velvets.
B- Store, Conduit Street, London W1 England
For me, it was my bro, Hamo Quearney. He was part of a 3rd wave of mod culture and our dad was a tailor; he literally had it all sewn up.
Worst fashion mistake?
I can remember at 14 wearing an indigo denim shirt, tie, braces, and a biker jacket a lot. It does not seem so bad now because it was an unconscious fashion sense, and that?s what style is for me.
Most cherished item?
My left-handed tailors shears; they are an irreplaceable tool-of-the-trade in my case.
Favorite item of clothing?
An Anderson & Sheppard top-coat that was regularly worn in the 90?s at High Grove Estate by Thomas Mahon when attending his duties as royal tailor to HRH Prince of Wales. It is a hand-me-down, and the softest, tailored, knee length over garment one could own,
Favorite ?fashiony? movie?
Michael Caines suits in ?Get Carter? look so modern even today.
Describe personal style?
When I first visited Paris in the late 90?s what caught my eye the most was the vagrants sense of style and how they dressed. It was completely uninfluenced by any trend, for obvious reasons. It came from necessity.
Once I observed a man standing inside the door of the restaurant; I thought he had an amazing presence while he waited for the leftovers. It was winter and he was head-to-toe in tailored garments combined in the most amazing patterns. This was not shabby chic; quite the opposite, this man looked his best. I don?t dress like a French vagrant, but their sense of style inspired me greatly.
You feel best wearing?
Wearing a suit when people least expect it.
Personal Style quirk?
I am a tailor, so I wear a combination of more garments in a day than a computer programmer, for example.
This gives me the opportunity to experiment with more colors and patterns in my style. Because my clothes fit well I can contrast that with a combination of different tailored garments.
Dress to impress whom?
If you can be trusted, you should dress to impress yourself.
Most overrated item in menswear?
$2000+ designer suits.
Really bad value for money and quality.
My dad always said, if you want somebody to care about how you look go to a specialist.
Craftsmen today are still around for one simple reason, they love what they do.
Most underrated item in menswear?
A hand-made suit,
We all need a staple wardrobe and its true that many people today say they don?t need to wear a suit – I think this says a lot. Technology and other industries that are heavily marketed are convincing us to part with a large part of our disposable income. I compete against Motorola and Nokia for the customers? money in today?s menswear market.
Most stylish city?
Never caught wearing?
Same color shirt and tie together; it?s the lazy option.
When I was high school I wore?
The school uniform colors but not the school uniform.
Shine your own shoes?
Always, when I have time
Clean excess dirt / then apply even layer of polish and leave to dry / use a piece of cotton to remove the excess polish / then shine with a polish brush / the brush strokes in an anti-clockwise motion paying particular attention to the toe and heel areas.
When I travel up an escalator I use the bristles by my feet to shine my shoes.
Learning about the crafts of shoemaking, shirt making, hatmaking, textile printing, watch making etc.
Favorite fashion magazine?
Good For Nothing Magazine (former editor of Sleaze, Slazenation Stuart Turnball) because it?s young and I never want to grow up completely.