What is a modern man like? What does he look like? Where does he take an inspiration from? What should he fight for? We have got a bunch of inspirations to show you how to feel good in your own skin and… fashionable clothes. We will also take an opportunity to look behind the scenes of the first fashion shoot that took place in the interiors of the PURO hotel in Poznań.
We are swelling with pride that the PURO interiors inspired you to make a photo shoot. What was the main idea behind it? Did you use details or the entire atmosphere of the place as an aesthetic point of reference?
First of all, I want to thank you for giving us the quick response, making the space available, and being very hospitable. I came up with the idea of a photo shoot in PURO, but I made it happen together with my friends - Piotr Chlewicki, a set designer and a couple from Hong-Kong - Kalun Ryou, a photographer and Susan Cheng who took care of the models’ looks. We had met in a totally informal atmosphere and we had much fun with the shoot that was our shared work. At first, it turned out we had similar taste and approach towards fashion, later, we found out that the making of a photo shoot was a successful enterprise. As a stylist, having taken the pictures of the hotel’s interiors, I completed the sets of clothes from different designers and brands I value. They willingly lent me their products and, eventually, the results pleased them very much. Just as much as they pleased PURO, I hope (yes, they did! :) ).
The deciding factor in determining the place to take shots was the connection of details and furniture which appeared in a photo. The aesthetic purity, geometry and consistency in the context of new trends in visual arts. PURO creates a new quality of experiencing a client and proves that, in contemporary times, design plays a role in a smart strategy of positioning a brand in the marketplace. I saw the PURO hotel when I was living in Wrocław and that is when I noticed the brand for the first time.
Your blog about men’s fashion is a real gem. Not only do you inspire, but you also give what men want the most - facts. Shopping advice, the selection of clothes according to style and even an online store. Where does such a professional knowledge about the needs of the opposite sex come from?
It is so nice, thank you. I was planning this endeavor for a long time. I am a self-taught person who has never felt the need to study art at a university. I was searching for the best sources of knowledge on the Internet, I was reading a lot of books from various areas. I want to warn those willing to copy my idea - I have spent over 2 years doing research! It is not an easy thing because I really have to go into the men’s psyche. Fashion has always been my passion and now I have connected it with marketing. However, I do not impose my own taste on readers. That is what makes me different from other male bloggers - I keep my distance and I am capable of presenting numerous styles. Everyone can choose something for himself - depending on profession, environment, occasion or personality. My “spirituality” does not fit into the narcissistic moves, selfies and brags – I do not associate them with good emotions.
I am giving facts because I find myself in no position to write about fashion and its history or analyze a fashion environment and judge celebrities. I mean, who is interested in that? The first motto of my enterprise was “I do not beat around the bush”. Now, it has been changed into “stylish clothes give gigantic strength” because it works well with the blog’s name. The blog has transformed into a portal because, while adjusting my offer to the needs of users, I have changed a business model. Menwithballs.pl is supposed to be a one of a kind place in Poland where a man can buy clothes and accessories selected carefully by an unbiased eye of a stylist. The products come not only from Polish stores and designers but also from world-renowned fashion designers. Surprisingly, their products are often cheaper than ours. Regardless of price, all clothes, including the ‘vintage’ ones, are to have one thing in common - aesthetics. The user will go from a blog to an online store. There will not be a lot of items, because I make a careful selection and choose the offers with the best prices. I rely on discounts, sales, loyalty programs and other market information unknown to a very busy user.
What is it like to write about men’s fashion from a female perspective? What are you paying attention to?
I think it is important for a woman to be giving inspirations and advice on good style. My instructions are often based on very subtle nuances; I do not criticize directly and I do not present short-lived fashion trends. I choose pictures very meticulously and make sure they are not random. In Poland, men have great expectations towards women’s looks, but to make men take care of themselves is a real challenge. It is not a very open-minded attitude. I do not want to criticize anybody here, absolutely not; I do not feel the urge to heavily influence one’s sense of style or to manipulate a reader. I treat my work on a blog as a professional help and the way to show readers interesting things, broaden their horizons and awake in them a vivid imagination.
What do Polish men wear? Or maybe, where should they derive courage from?
Exactly - derive courage. The essence of the name menwithballs. Surely, it is not about the strength, power, or a typically male behavior. It is about openness and living in harmony with oneself in opposition to fading away, adapting oneself to others and hiding under an umbrella made of qualms. No doubt it is a slightly romantic approach to life, but maybe it is what we need nowadays… Such sensitivity and intuition are very manlike to me. The fight for what is withering away in the contemporary world.
The outside courage Poles should derive from those countries which have fashion sense in their blood, however, they should look as if they did not put a lot of effort into the process of selecting clothes. What I mean is that every man, but also every woman, should look as if they did not force themselves to look cool, trendy, or perfect. A hint of nonchalance and freedom in the way of dressing is a natural behavior, as natural as the need to have a nostalgic element in a wardrobe. The vintage style, present in fashion for many years now, symbolizes an indispensable part of human nature - the feeling of longing for something.
It is worth deriving courage from a good look and everyday self-confidence. I do not believe we are not paying attention to other people’s looks just as much as I do not believe when somebody is saying advertisements do not affect him/her. We live in times where the first few seconds become crucial, we scan one another instantly. If you can adjust your clothes to an occasion, you will be more effective and, what is significant in a man’s world, more successful. The credibility of a designer goes down if he/she does not pay attention to his/her own aesthetics. A manager should communicate stability and a universal approach, a lawyer- a care for detail. Not to mention politicians…We should care about a visual promotion of ourselves - there is nothing inappropriate about that.
From your perspective of a stylist and a fashion consultant, what is the key to a good look?
Rely on the classic and minimalism. Be guided by awareness and smart decisions. In men’s approach to dressing – contrary to women’s impulsiveness and engagement of emotions – I value stability and loyalty towards good brands as well as quality and functionality. Choose durability, unique design, natural fabrics, and fancy accessories. Buy less things but of a better quality. Make sure clothes are neat and ironed. A sense of style is rather inborn, but it can be worked on!
If you do not feel confident in the area of fashion, keep your distance and use a help of a stylist. There is no point in buying lots of high-end brands’ clothes, because they will do no good if you put them together incorrectly. A fashion advisor will dress you a way better using the same budget you spent on clothes you cannot match because he does research on a daily basis and has sense of style in his blood!
Photographer || Kalun Leung | A MAN & A PLOT
Stylist || Natalia Sochacka | Menwithballs.pl
Creative producer || Piotr Chlewicki
Hair & Make-up || Suzann Cheng
Models || Dominik Kołowiecki | Panda Models || Przemek Gębarski | Hunter Models