Tips for the Groom from Men's Wedding Stylist, Sammy Aki
It’s official. Wedding season is firmly in action and we know how hard it can be to choose the right outfit or pick the right groomsmen gifts. That’s why the team here at Alice Made This are always on hand to suggest some ideas - offering refined pieces that can be kept for life and used again and again. Get in touch with one of our team on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss some of our new wedding bundle savings opportunities.
To celebrate the launch of our wedding bundle savings opportunities, and to give you a bit of extra inspiration, we speak to groom stylist Sammy Aki about how to pick the right accessories for the big day. We’re also delighted to have partnered with Balance Me, London Sock Co. and Bloom & Wild to present you with a clean and precise photography series from Jane Looker to accompany our conversation. Whether you’re a guest of honour or taking the leap yourself, we hope these help you with your preparations and that you have a fantastic time.
Sammy Aki’s wedding involved three celebrations and five outfit changes. Having worked as a stylist and producer in luxury menswear for the last two decades (including styling shoots for us at Alice Made This!), it’s little wonder that, when her turn came to take the plunge, a bold and contemporary aesthetic was weaved through every element. After travelling the world extensively, taking inspiration from art, fashion and music, Sammy’s work evokes ideas of adventure, diversity and a warm sense of worldliness. I ask Sammy about her career to date, groom styling and how it has taken her from London to New York.
“When we started The Groom Style Consultant in 2012”, Sammy begins, “we wanted grooms to have more than just their wedding suit. We wanted them to understand what they could have and build an everlasting experience for them.”
“This was fuelled by my experience and relationships within the luxury menswear industry - an industry I have been growing in for the past two decades. From the shop floor on Jermyn Street to the production line of factories - and not forgetting the fashion shows- I’ve been piecing together the full picture to share with our clients.”
“For me it’s most interesting seeing how the end client builds a relationship with and interacts with a brand and the garments he buys,” she continues. “I found it bizarre that at a time that’s so important to them, they ended up choosing clothes that did not reflect them or their relationship in the slightest. I wanted to alleviate this pressure and showcase the wonders that are available if you quieten the noise.”
This reminds me of the beginnings of Alice Made This. When Alice and Ed were searching for cufflinks for their own wedding, they were surprised to find that nothing clean or refined had been done in that segment of the accessories market for some time. Faced with novelty pieces and a lack of quality, they struggled to find anything that fit with their personalities or tastes. Alice saw an opportunity to create a collection of cufflinks that would connect with the buyer and offer them a story. I wonder what makes Sammy connect with the pieces she chooses for her clients.
“Firstly I would say it’s the aesthetic that draws me in”, she tells me. “It’s what I see, but then I have to touch them. I’m one of those people who shops with the tips of their fingers. If it feels good then I look properly. Each of the products I fall for, be they beautiful leather shoes or a crisp white shirt, has something special to their touch, because at the end of the day you want to feel great and that’s what will draw others to you too.”
“Then secondly and most importantly it’s the people behind the brand, the creators and the makers. I’m fortunate to be able to really take the time to get to know those I work with. Each season I attend the international trade fairs, and later their studios, and I get to learn about what drives them to produce their “work”. This in turn makes me want to share all I learn with my clients.”
It’s the stories of people, processes, materials and inspirations that we aim to tell through things like our Journal and our Instagram. Like Sammy, we believe that value and understanding can truly be added by knowing where a collection has come from, how it was made and what the thinking was behind it. Through telling these stories, we aim to start a dialogue with our customers. I ask Sammy whether these kinds of conversations have helped to elevate groom styling and the menswear industry as a whole.
“What I’m overjoyed about is that the luxury menswear industry has really sat up in the last few years and is now speaking directly to men about their wedding outfits – it’s no longer deemed cheesy. Men can now feel considered and experience the best that there is on offer. The tricky part is the balance of dressing for the event together and being unified without losing your personal style.”
“Each of my clients’ personalities shines through - from the music producers who have never worn “smart” shoes (let alone a suit) before, to those who only ever wear tailoring. What’s important for the relationship we build is that we create a look that’s true to them. A great wedding outfit shows you at your best so that when your partner and everyone see you they are overwhelmed with pride.”
“One of the outfits I did enjoy making the most was for a client who was looking for a relaxed summer feel for their wedding in France. They were getting married in a beautiful cathedral so we had to really analyse what they meant by ‘relaxed’. When I went to his home to show him some fabrics, my eyes caught sight of a framed vintage illustrated GQ cover with Robert Redford dressed as Gatsby in his pink suit. We decided to build his look around this and we made him a bespoke double-breasted pink suit in lightweight cool wool.”
Feeling comfortable and confident, as well as buying into the history and roots of an accessory or piece of clothing, is what will make you feel your best at a wedding. A special day deserves special finishing touches. As we bring our conversation to a close, I ask Sammy what her go to pieces are when pulling a look together and whether she has any stand out pieces of advice for grooms.
“I recommend tailoring fabrics from the best mills in Italy and the UK to make Sammy Aki suits and ties,” she concludes, “evening shirts from Emma Willis and dress studs from Alice Made This. And shoes…that’s my secret!”
“Oh and remember to eat something light before the ceremony. With all the emotions, excitement and heat, you’ll need some additional energy to keep you on your feet till 3am!”