When we were deciding who to ask to style our latest shoot for our new Midas collection, there was only one answer. Fashion editor and stylist Kenny Ho is the Creative Director of ARTICLE magazine, a widely respected menswear consultant and long standing friend of Alice Made This. His understanding of the importance of accessories and combination of textures, fabrics and tones creates a refined aesthetic that mirrors our love of precision. Today we talk to Kenny about his route into styling, how to accessorise gold and his upcoming projects with ARTICLE.
“I graduated from Wimbledon School of Art with a degree in Costume Design”, Kenny tells me. “While I was still at Art College, I was approached by David Bowie’s people to make stage costumes for him for his Earthling tour. After my graduation, by chance I worked in the wardrobe department of the Spice Girls movie, and soon after that I became their stylist, designing costumes for their Spiceworld tour and traveling with them on tour - and that’s how I ‘fell’ into the world of music and celebrity styling. I did that for a number of years, working mainly with British pop bands of the 90s: from Westlife to S Club 7, until I relocated to New York for a couple of years in 2007. That was when I moved into the high fashion side of styling and started shooting menswear. On my return to London, I had a lot of positive feedback on my menswear work, so I have decided to concentrate exclusively in this area ever since. Menswear was an emerging market back then, and guys were just starting to become interested in how they looked, their clothing and style.”
“Through working on ARTICLE,” he continues, “I am discovering how different British brands with great tradition have updated and evolved in order to cater for the different lifestyles of the modern man. For example, brands previously famed for their Savile Row style tailoring have now included great sportswear, travel pieces and accessories in their lines in order to broaden their audience, all the while staying true to their great heritage. It is also really interesting to learn how the newer British brands have incorporated modern technology such as 3D printing, laser cutting and ecologically friendly methods into their manufacturing process. A lot of passion and rich stories can be found behind a lot of the British brands of old and new, and we try to share these with our readers in each issue of ARTICLE.”
Kenny’s creative direction for ARTICLE champions the British, the contemporary and the exciting. With the right balance of tailored and casual, design and fashion, tradition and innovation, ARTICLE “shares the things that make Britain great from an independent, individual point of view”. The magazine echoes our respect for British factories, storytelling and industrial processes, something that we were sure Kenny would capture in our Midas shoot.
“During the pre-production phase,” Kenny says, “Alice shared this amazing location that she found in Farnborough: a private airport with streamline architecture that is almost quite futuristic. We discussed how the characters in this shoot are stylish, world class travellers with sophisticated tastes. From there I brought in luxury tailoring pieces that would complement this idea and showcase the golden tones of the new Midas collection.”
“What I love about Alice Made This is the perfect balance of luxury and modernism. In particular, a lot of cufflinks that are on the market are either quite gimmicky or old fashioned looking. But with AMT, the story behind each collection and the technique used in manufacturing are most fascinating. What you get with AMT is not just a beautiful product, but a piece of modern design made with innovative engineering and precision – and I love that everything is made in the UK.”
This balance of luxury and modernism is part of what led to the design of our Midas collection. We wanted to add a high polished finish, a ‘Midas touch’ of elegance and sophistication, to some of our signature Aerospace pieces. We wanted to pair the raw industry of our Aerospace process with the refinery of 22 carat gold and rose gold electroplating. We wanted to tell a story of engineering while focusing on a single, timeless material – gold.
“On men,” Kenny adds, “gold tones can feel a bit dress-y during the day. For daywear, I would recommend pairing gold details with navy or mid/light grey suiting, leaving everything quite minimal. Avoid patterns but play with textures instead: such as suitings with a surface texture in the same colour. For accessories, go for knitted ties or wool flannel ties, and pocket squares that are either plain or with very small patterns on them (such as micro dots).
“These details are what give an outfit individuality, personality and flair. Small details such as lapel pins, cufflinks and pocket squares can add an expression of what you would like convey to the world about yourself. At the same time, it’s all about balance: for me, accessories work best when they act as part of the overall outfit, rather than different components thrown in together. “Do the accessories all work together as a group?”, “is it too much with the fabric of the suiting?”, “does the pocket square compete with the lapel pin?” – these are the questions I ask myself when putting together looks for a photo shoot.”
The consideration and attention to detail that Kenny gives to each and every shoot is remarkable. Like a designer, every component is measured and precise. With Issue Eight of ARTICLE released in a couple of days’ time, I conclude by asking Kenny what his stand out shoot has been for the magazine so far and which British brands we should be exploring.
“This has to be the cover shoot for ARTICLE Issue Two with actor Aidan Turner”, Kenny tells me. “Aidan met with us early on the day of the shoot, but for one reason or another (mostly to do with hiring the van to drive down to Dungeness, the location of our shoot that day), we did not leave London until lunchtime, and by the time we reached Dungeness, we only had 2 hours to shoot the whole feature before we lost the light: that meant shooting 8 different images with outfit and background changes, as well as the cover! Luckily, everyone was really focused and we got some beautiful images shot within the time frame. This has to be one of the most speedy cover shoots I have ever worked on in my career so far! We were super appreciative to Aidan for his patience and support that day.”
“I am a big fan of Campbell Cole,” he continues. “I love their bags and leather accessories. I have also recently discovered a denim brand called Hawksmill: as well as jeans they also have a really nice range of shirts too. Talking of denim, Lee Cooper will be launching a special ‘Cooper Collection’ end of October: a high end line of selvedge jeans that will excite a lot of denim enthusiasts!”