The chances are you already know who Christopher Modoo is, if not from other luxury “galaxies” ( you must have read his rather precious advice that helps you become that top-notch gentlemen of the world… or if you are a lady, to help your better half present himself, as he is the Sartorial Guru of The Rake, and there are many more “places” from where you might have known him, including being lucky enough to have benefited from his talent on Savile Row ), then at least from our previous interview. When I was introduced to Christopher, I was impressed by his talent and character (and that doesn’t happen often), thinking… “Wow! If I would have been a male designer, that’s how I would roll as a creative…” and also, “How come such a character doesn’t have his own label, and that if someone is meant to have it, than there he is! He really should be the owner of his business!” Well…. dear friends of Trend Privé Magazine, it is my joy to bring you updates on Christopher’s career, to discover together… “Who is Kit Blake?” And very important, the values of the brand.
Doina: We left off in our last interview, with the amazing work you have accomplished in your Creative Director role at Chester Barrie, Savile Row. Now we find you more so than ever before in your element, reflecting on the successful launch of Kit Blake last October. As Creative Director and Co-Founder, can you share your thoughts on the transition, the preparation, and the vision that brought it all together?
Christopher: Moving on from Chester Barrie gave me the opportunity to reflect on my career and the fashion industry. I expected to find another full-time creative role but I knew it would take time so, to keep myself busy, I started to write on fashion and offer my services as a stylist. The opportunity to create my own collection has been amazing and it is great to work on a brand without any baggage or preconceptions.
Doina: How did you choose the name of the brand?
Christopher: Kit Blake was my pseudonym when I worked on Savile Row as a salesman. Kit is an archaic version of Christopher and I lived on Blake’s Lane. I never expected it to one day be a fashion label.
Doina: Finding the ideal business partner is extremely important: from the joint vision to the myriad of daily operations and details. What is the history of the dynamic duo of Christopher Modoo and Richard Wheat?
Christopher: Richard Wheat has been a friend and customer of mine for over fifteen years. He is an entrepreneur who has built several successful brands across various industries and is refreshingly laid-back for a man with such responsibility. We work well together.
Doina: How would you describe the magic of Kit Blake?
Christopher: The genius of Christopher Modoo.
Doina: Since the launch, the line presented success, being considered among “la crème de la crème” brands on lists such as The Rake’s online shopping platform, as well as attracting recognizable and important public figures from the industry. To what do you attribute the instant attraction?
Christopher: This is down to my experience. I have always created collections with integrity and I have worked hard to create positive relationships with the press. The Rake have been incredibly supportive of Kit Blake and given it an international platform. The support from the menswear community has also been remarkable.
Doina: Besides the undeniable high quality and stylish garments that Kit Blake creates, the brand is based on strong ethical values. I would point out that workers from the supply chain are safeguarded and paid fair wages, and that the brand is promoting a buying philosophy of purchasing fewer but higher quality clothing items that have a prolonged life span. Please tell us about it.
Christopher: We do not need any more bad cloths in the world. Consume less, buy good quality and make sure you treat everyone in the supply chain fairly and with dignity.
Doina: Kit Blake’s signature cloth, or at least the first one, is called “The Blake Check”. Can you tell us how it is made, and why is it so loved and special?
Christopher: The Blake Check captures the essence of the brand. We commissioned it from The Lovat Mill in Hawick, Scotland in a luxury travel quality. It is a super 120s but has a ply warp & weft construction…using such a fine yarn to make a travel cloth is unusual because it is so expensive but the result is magnificent. The combination of luxury, comfort and resilience is sublime. The design is a variation on an estate tweed and both Richard and myself are fans of this design. It is remarkably versatile and can be worn both casually and formally. They look as elegant and appropriate worn with loafers and polo shirt as they do with velvet slippers and a dinner jacket for black tie affairs.
Doina: You mentioned something that some may call shocking, or at least quite surprising: “The suit is dead!” How would that statement resonate with the men who are dressing in formal attire for work?
Christopher: That is a very expansive question but when I say the suit is dead, I say it in a historical perspective. And I am specifically referring to the lounge suit. The 19th century casual item that has become a corporate uniform. I noticed this trend whilst working at Ede & Ravenscroft, that suits have become a specialist item only worn for certain occasions. You need a reason to wear a suit and you never used to. It will survive as formal wear.
I like suits and probably still own a dozen or so but I have never understood why a jacket and trouser in matching cloth is intrinsically smarter than complementing cloths.
In morning dress, the opposite is true and there are variations of black and white tie that also have contrasting cloths that are equally formal.
And whilst the suit is dead, tailoring will survive.
Doina: How would a gentleman build his wardrobe in a manner of taste and fashionable relevance? Would you share some tips on the essential pieces you would recommend from the collection in order to be prepared for every eventuality?
Christopher: Buy less but buy better. Shoes are the most important part of the wardrobe and do not become over-reliant on denim jeans. From Kit Blake, you need grey flannels and one of our coats. Dressing well is simple.
Doina: The summer will soon be knocking at the door, and some gentlemen think it is a bit difficult to find a comfortable way of formal dressing during heated weather. What do you recommend in terms of style and fabric?
Christopher: Wool is a much misunderstood cloth for warm weather but it is one of the best cloths to wear in warm and humid conditions. Fuller cut clothing is better then anything skinny.
Stop wearing skinny fit.
Doina: Do you have a passion for a cause or charity that speaks to your heart?
Christopher: We do not have a nominated charity but I would like to become involved in helping people dress for interviews etc. who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. I would like to give something back.
Doina: What should we expect in the upcoming seasons from Kit Blake?
Christopher: We have some great waistcoats coming in this spring. A waistcoat is such an easy way to add some colour into an outfit. We will be expanding our coat collection as well as adding more trousers styles.