08 October 2013
I first heard of Mr Phil Green a while back after spotting him during one of the first editions of London Collections: Men. I remember being very impressed with the way he presented himself. Every piece of tailoring was perfectly fitted and he looked sharp yet relaxed. He personified the image of the modern gentleman.
Over the last couple of seasons more and more images of Phil have been appearing everywhere due to this excellent styling skills of his, which have made him a key figure at Topman and FarFetch.com. He is also part of a new collective – The Sartorial 7, which brings together fashionable and influential gentlemen living in London.
With all of this, I was interested to find out more about Phil, his background, interests and a few tips on how to improve a man's wardrobe.
When did you first become interested in fashion? What arose your interest?
I fell in to fashion if I'm completely honest. I joined Matches when I was 16 straight from school. I always had an interest in fashion but I think it was my time there that opened my eyes and allowed me to work with such amazing brands. That's what made me decide that a career in fashion was that I wanted to pursue.
What was the specific thing or moment that made you actually see fashion as a plausible career possibility?
While I was at Matches they were already well on their way to becoming one of the most successful boutiques in Europe. This allowed me to see all aspects of a boutique environment. From buying to PR everything was done in-house, which was beneficial an allowed me to pick the path I wanted to take.
How did you get started working in the industry? What made you go for the styling path?
Working in a multi-brand boutique worked for me as I was able to find a look and a style that I was comfortable in and enjoyed wearing. After 4 years with Matches I then moved to Yves Saint Laurent. That's when I knew I was more sartorially inclined and that tailoring was right for me.
What did you do at Yves Saint Laurent? How did you end up at Topman?
At YSL I was the senior salesman for menswear tailoring. I loved working for one of my favourite houses and it was also an opportunity to focus on a single brand. Later on, as the brand took a change in direction, I was approached by Topman to launch its new Personal Shopping service.
What was the most odd/interesting request your clients ever asked for?
The most interesting request was an outfit for a bohemian and carnival wedding in London – it was a tough find!
What was the last thing you bought?
The last item I bought was a Topman Design wool navy double-breasted blazer. Another one to add to the collection!
Having worked as a personal shopper at Topman for quite a while you must have seen first-hand the changes in men's attitude towards fashion over the last couple of years. What would you highlight about these changes and what do you think motivated them?
For me it was great to see men finally stepping up in the appearance stakes. I think it was people in the public eye who made men realise it was fine to take pride in one's personal style. At Topman I found that a lot of men really opened up to having fun with their look – from trying out new cuts to mixing trends. This has now become the norm for the majority of British fashion.
Do you think that this reintroduction of a 'style awareness' into popular culture will benefit the menswear industry? Would it perhaps end up turning it into something similar to what womenswear is today, which has been described as a bit of a circus?
I think it's a very exciting time to be involved in the menswear industry. And London is definitely at the heart of it right now. I don't think it will turn into the circus or have the stigma that's attached to womenswear. However, with whole scale of menswear growing, I think it will take a big effort for this not to happen!
At the risk of being cliched, what would you say are the essential pieces a modern man should own?
I've always believed that it's always better to keep your style simple rather than to overcomplicate outfits and risking them look forced. I think an essential piece for any man would is a navy blazer. It can be dressed up or dressed down for any occasion, it's a really versatile staple.
Which are your favourite stores to shop?
My favourite store to shop in London is Liberty. Everything from the buying to the design of the store itself is beautiful. As for online, it will have to be FarFetch.com – it brings premium boutiques throughout the world into one place.
What three items are on your whishlist at the moment?
You have recently left your job at Topman – can you say what you will be doing next? Is there another field/angle of the industry that you would like to have a go next?
After 3 great years at Topman Personal Shopping I'm now moving to FarFetch.com to launch their Menswear Personal Shopping. I've always wanted to be a buyer and being with FarFetch it is now somewhere where I can develop my skills in order to, hopefully, become a buyer.
Have you ever used your name to your advantage? I can imagine being called Phil Green got people confused once or twice, especially at Topman.
Haha yes, my name was good at Topman as nobody could ever forget me! I did get asked if I was his son on a weekly basis!
What's currently on your playlist?
I'm listeting to 'AM', the new Artic Monkeys album at the moment but my taste changes weekly!