Les Gens // Tell us about yourself and MEN OF SUITS
Chas // I am Chas Gunner, a Chartered Accountant graduated from University of Auckland in New Zealand. At present a Commercial Financial Analyst at Wesfarmers Group and Founder and CEO of MEN OF SUITS LIMITED. I had to wear a suit and tie everyday to one of the Big Four Accounting Firm’s for nearly 4 years. When I could not find an off-the-rack suits cut to my liking, I began having clothes custom made. After trying many tailors without finding exactly what I wanted, I decided to open my own tailor shop.
MEN OF SUITS (MOS) born in 2014, after years of research which helped me to develop a product that is strongly inspired by high quality yet approachable menswear with a modern flare. MOS follows a combination of tradition and innovation giving each person the chance to discover their style and identity.
LG // Describe the process you go through to design and make a suit
C // Tailormade process starts with you discussing your needs with myself, before selecting the cloth and styling details. Either I or my tailor will measure you. We often take over 20 measurements and configurations in order to get a thorough blue print of your body. This is then cut out and chalked onto your chosen cloth. Once the cloth has been “struck”, it is put into a bundle together with the linings, pocketing, canvasses and buttons (known as trimmings) in preparation for making. It is then sewn together by my experienced tailor, ready for the first fitting.
After the first fitting, taking into consideration any alterations that need to be made, my tailor will carry out any structural work in preparation for the next fitting. After the second fitting button holes and edge stitching are completed. The suit is then pressed prior to third fitting. Further alterations, if required, are carried out and clothing is pressed a final time before delivery.
LG // How do you select the materials you use?
C // Finest English cloths (merino wool blends – super 100s-130s, merino wool cashmere blend and etc.), some of the finest Italian cloths, flannels, linen and cotton seersuckers
Patterns include pin stripes, chalk stripes, glen plaid and herringbone, and checks
LG // Describe the MOS customer
C // A MOS customer is a person who aspires to be the best. A person with no boundaries and a thirst to achieve every goal they set themselves.
LG // Who are some of your favorite designers?
Mr. Raro of Mararo
LG // What is your biggest source of inspiration?
C // My biggest source of inspiration comes from my father. He was a very well dressed man whom in my eyes, aspired to be the best in his time.
LG // What are your plans for the future?
Once we have an established brand name in NZ we will look to head overseas to Australia.
We have other projects in the pipeline that we will look to execute. I am afraid I cannot disclose the specifics. You will have to wait and see.
You can make an appointment at email@example.com
Chas Gunner by Clare Andrew
Les Gens // Hi Samantha! How are you going?
Samantha // I’m doing pretty good thanks. Today has been a good day!
LG // How do you spend your days?
S // At the moment it’s all writing, writing, writing. If I don’t have a modelling job on, I’ve just been writing non-stop, but I love it; it’s the one thing I can totally lose myself in. I’ve just launched my new travel and lifestyle blog, Bright Eyes, so I’m trying to get ahead of myself with content before things get busy with NZFW next month. The whole blog world is pretty new to me; it took me a bit of time to set it all up and get used to all the technical stuff, but I’ve got the hang of it now (I think). I’ve got another couple of projects I’m working on too which has involved a lot of brainstorming, research, and planning, so that’s been keeping me busy. Throw some exercise in there too for peace of mind – sitting at a computer all day makes me feel a bit guilty – and a casting or audition when they pop up.
LG // What does a regular day look, feel, taste like for you?
S // The first thing I do when I wake up is make a matcha green tea. I’m obsessed! It’s a green tea powder from Japan that you dissolve in boiling water, and I add oat milk too. It’s got heaps of health benefits plus it’s a good burst of energy because it’s high in caffeine but it’s not acidic like coffee. I usually give myself an hour in the morning to regroup before I’ll start doing any work. I’ll check my emails, check social media, read the news online, and have breakfast. Each night I soak raw rolled oats in oat milk with a spoonful or peanut butter and put them in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning I chop up a banana and put it in. It’s seriously so good!
After that it’s just whatever I need to do that day: writing, castings, meetings, catch up with a friend, whatever is on the agenda. I try and do some exercise most days too; either a hot yoga class or I’ll go for a run. I tend to stay up quite late and edit my work, but I’ll also sneak in an episode of whatever series I’m watching. I just started Ray Donovan but it’s making me miss LA a bit too much though…
LG // You’re a familiar face around Auckland. Where have we seen you before?
S // I’ve modelled for six and a half years so I have worked for a lot of Kiwi designers along the way – from Ruby to Karen Walker to Trelise Cooper – and most of the magazines too. I’ve done a few TV commercials as well and I was on Shortland Street for three months when I was 18. Recently I was a finalist in the MTV VJ Search, which is actually why I came back to New Zealand. That was awesome.
LG // Where are your favourite places to hang out / eat in Auckland?
S // I never thought I would say this, but this is actually a really tough question. Auckland has so many great places to eat now, and so many have opened since I left in 2012. It’s been cool venturing all over town to try them out. Recently I went to Baduzzi and The Oyster Inn, both of which I loved and can’t wait to go again. I like the cocktails at Mea Culpa. Coco’s Cantina is still one of my favourite restaurants too – everything from the food to the vibe is just so good. I’m a big fan of more bistro style dining. I love Depot too. For brunch I’m dying to go to Little Bird in Ponsonby but every time I go the wait it so long so I default elsewhere. I just tried Dear Jervois last weekend and that was great, I’ll definitely be going back.
It’s actually been nice coming back because I’ve tried to fill my weekends with activities and play tourist in my own city. Things like going to the art gallery or an exhibition, climbing Rangitoto, taking the ferry to Waiheke etc. It’s fun!
LG // Your favourite social spaces / places abroad?
S // I love LA. The first time I went there on holiday I hated it, but after going back and actually living there I fell in love with the city. I don’t even mind that it’s so big, that’s what’s cool about it; it’s like lots of different cities in one big one. I love West Hollywood; Melrose and Melrose Place, Sunset etc. at night and in the day too for shopping and hanging out. Abbott Kinney in Venice is maybe my favourite daytime spot in LA. Great cafes, good coffee (try Intelligentsia), and cool shops. It’s way more chilled over those ways too so that’s a welcome change of pace and scene, LA can be a bit sceney. For exercise, hiking up Runyon Canyon is amazing. No matter how many times I did it I could never get sick of it, or the view. You can see from downtown all the way to beach (when it wasn’t too smoggy). It’s pretty incredible. They do free yoga classes three times a day in the park at the bottom too, so that’s a great way to find balance.
LG // Creative people in your life who inspire you? [Artists, musicians, designers, writers…]
S // My talented friend Jasmin inspires me everyday. She’s a journalist and documentary filmmaker living in Sydney. Every time I talk to her I walk away wanting to change the world and feeling like anything is possible. Her documentary GENERATION A is so incredible. It’s about education in Afghanistan being the catalyst for change. It’s hopeful, not like what we read in the news. The fact that she is not only following her dreams but has the courage to fight so hard for something she believes in is beyond inspiring.
LG // Who is your style inspiration / muse?
S // I don’t really look to anyone in particular for style inspiration, I just wear what I feel like wearing. I’m more inspired by my where I’m at and my surroundings than by anyone in particular. I guess I’m drawn to classic, feminine pieces, and at the moment I’m loving a longer hemline but with a split or a figure-hugging fit so it’s a bit sexier. In terms of style, I love designers like Rag & Bone, All Saints and Alexander Wang for a cool, casual daywear kind of vibe. I love The Row for something a bit more sophisticated, and I’m obsessed with everything Saint Laurent. Locally I love Zimmermann for resort and swimwear, and I’ll always be a Ruby girl.
LG // What will we find you listening to in your car?
S // The song Vienna by Matt Costa is the soundtrack to my life right now. I could listen to it over and over again and never get sick of it; it’s that beautiful. I recently changed to a Telecom plan which comes with free Spotify premium and this has literally changed my life. If I’m not listening to other people’s playlists I’m probably listening to Lana Del Rey or Broods or maybe Disclosure if I feel like a car dance. I still love a good MGMT throwback.
LG // Where will we find you on a Saturday night?
S // Saturday night usually revolves around food. A nice dinner somewhere and probably a cocktail or two afterward, usually in Ponsonby. FYI Mea Culpa makes great margarita! This Saturday I’m going to go see the Jimi Hendrix film at the New Zealand International Film Festival and then try that new Indian place Cassia by Sid Sahrawat. I’m so excited, the food sounds incredible and definitely not what you would typically think of when you think of Indian. Yum!
Samantha by Rebekah Farrell
Les Gens Ladies Lunch at The Sugar Club
Photography by Veronica Crockford-Pound
Les Gens // Your new collection ‘Waves’ is about to hit the streets. Congrats!
Georgia Alice // THANKSSSSS <3
LG // What’s the inspiration behind the collection?
GA // EXPLORERS, SANDY HOT LANDSCAPES - A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN TASTE THE HEAT, THE TRACK TARO BY ALT J, THE DOCUMENTARY “THE SOURCE FAMILY”, THE OCEAN (ALWAYS THE OCEAN).
LG // Do you draw influence from other creative sources [artists, books] — if so, what/who and why?
GA // MY BIGGEST INFLUENCE IS ARTIST OSCAR ENBERG; he will forever be somebody whose opinion I respect, he is my biggest support person and my closest friend. I think because we have known each other for so long we know each other’s secrets and so it’s easy to be free in our ideas. He is an inspiring human being. He questions what I do - all the creative decisions I make - he challenges me… which is so important.
LG // What kind of materials do you love working with and why?
GA // I am very much about textures and keeping the palette as refined as possible. I use as many natural fibres as possible - denim is my favourite, it’s classic, strong and offers so many shades of blue - my favorite colour.
LG // You’ve very quickly made a name for yourself a designer of timeless, wearable pieces — the Battenberg print, for example, is something of an instant classic. Did you set out to make something iconic?
GA // Why thank you!! [With] Battenberg I wanted to try and make a statement - it was the loudest collection I have made; I heavily focused on denim - which is something that has become more important to me. I always try to make a statement with everything I do… it was a successful collection and I am proud of it… I am trying to grow the brand up a little.
LG // What is your intention as a designer?
GA // I guess [with] every collection I try to make clothing that I would want to wear everyday - but within each collection there has to be something jarring; something that makes the eyes look twice. I am all about creating clothes that women of every age can wear, so quite classic - but I don’t want it being too easy. Fashion is about statements; it’s not about shocking but creating a strong sense of self through what one wears…and sometimes things that are too easy can be boring. So I guess I try to get that balance of beauty/ease and what is difficult/new.
LG // You’re sometimes making shout-outs to your friends, ambassadors and other creatives on facebook. How is a sense of creative community important to your work?
GA // It’s so important to me - those people are my friends and people who I respect creatively. Everyone has dreams, goals and visions but we sometimes we need each other to realise them… collaboration sometimes brings out beauty where you never would have seen it before. I couldn’t have gained half of my achievements without the support of my friends and I like to recognise that.
LG // What kind of woman do you imagine wearing GA clothes while you design?
GA // Someone who has a great sense of style; is strong and brave; moves through life like a spark; is a little different; kind and amazing in every way. Oh — and is imperfectly perfect.
LG // Where beyond NZ will we be able to find the new collection? [If you’re permitted to talk about it.]
GA // Australia and hopefully soon the U.S.A <3 I will keep you posted.
Georgia by Adam Bryce
Late in May 2014, Charta founder Adam Bryce dressed three striking models in soccer uniforms and photographed them goofing around on a playing field.
A cheeky, gleefully provincial celebration of the 2014 World Cup, the shoot is equal parts fun and weird. Full of flying hair and unscripted grins, it’s the kind of oddball spontaneity that’s impossible to manufacture, and can only be delicately managed. It’s like hosting a great party — your choices in space, light, food and music dictate the mood; whether or not your guests have a good time depends almost entirely on these choices.
Adam Bryce’s guests are having a good time at the party.
A self-confessed football obsessive born and raised in NZ, photographer, stylist and creative director Adam Bryce spent his teenage years immersed in the raw aesthetic of such 90’s photographers as David Sims, Corrine Day and Glen Luchford. ‘I come from an era of anti-fashion. I like things to look real; I prefer things to not be perfect… because that’s not real, is it?’
With a wealth of experience across many aspects of the fashion industry, Adam has worked to serious influence in the U.S. — from founding cult street culture site slamxhype.com in 2003, to working as both stylist and creative director. Over the past year, Adam has been developing new vision — an arts and culture publication deeply inspired by New Zealand’s isolation and raw landscapes; actualised through the eyes of talented creatives and artists both in NZ and abroad.
Gone are melodramatic and expensive editorial spreads. Streetwear collides with high fashion; confident, playful subjects model brave styling choices — often showcasing androgynous, unisex looks with little/no make-up. Charta imagery is setting its roots in distinctly New Zealand settings; suburban footpaths, grey-green landscapes and disarmingly claustrophobic domestic spaces. It’s fast become a regular portal for a young generation of quick-rising photographers such as Harry Were and Alex Schipper, both of whose work occupies a NZ-centric territory.
An advocate for local talent and personalities, Adam is encouraging, uncovering and documenting the talent of people down-under that is often neglected and currently untapped. The precursor to Charta was Right Here, Right Now, a moment-in-time celebration of bright young creatives.
New Zealand’s size and isolated location is a genuine creative asset, Adam asserts. ‘With raw landscapes, developing culture and an ungraded energy, risk is possible,’ he says. ‘There is rare scope to re-examine, to again be curious.’
The eye behind many portraits for Les Gens amidst an ongoing stream of shoots for Charta and beyond, Adam is prolific; relentlessly pursuing imagery and art. ‘I’m constantly looking to surround myself with great imagery’, he says. ‘I look towards so much work out there as inspiration.’ His all-time photographer is David Sims; echoes of Sims are evident in Adam’s confronting and vulnerable interior portraits; always playing to his subjects’ natural features.
There’s a potent energy to Adam’s images, and to the developing body of tightly-curated work under the Charta banner. It’s no shallow trickle of news-bites and pretty pictures; Charta is ‘is ‘a kind of smoke signal to the world’, a fresh and visionary publication responding to New Zealand’s capacity for creative risk. This is raw power; carefully harnessed and joyfully realised, with stunning results — your host knows what he’s doing.
Adam Bryce by Richard Symons