The Collective are a big part of everything that we do at Your Samples collective, and it's always great to sit down with some of our friends and have a cuppa to discuss what they're up to.
I’ve often found that the menswear style landscape has been lacking in great sources of curated directional content both written and visual, outside of physical titles such as Fantastic Man, Monocle and GQ Style to name but a few, and perhaps it’s because of the big budgets that publishing powerhouses have, but the “little guy” hasn’t quite hit the big time.
Many blogs have come and gone over the past few years since menswear boomed in 2012 with the launch of London Collections Men (I even attempted to start one up years ago myself) and for the most part, we’ve never quite managed to grow style aficionados in the same way that the women’s fashion and beauty space has.
This isn’t to say that some great taste makers haven’t appeared on the radar such as Jordan Bunker, Man About Town, and Mat of Buckets & Spades, but I for one have wanted to see more bonafide experts in the field who bring a knowledge and energy that has been lacking.
So it was great to Insta-stumble across Dan and Alex, and their menswear commentary platform WorkDuds where they highlight product and people who inspire them, and even better they get in front of the lens to show their take on how they style their wardrobes with British brands and international finds.
Firstly, thank you chaps for taking some time out of your weekend to have a chat about what menswear means to you, and more importantly to give some more insight into WorkDuds.
Our Instagram was started originally as a celebration of style. A way of interacting with people who share the same hobby.
And it definitely is a hobby when you find yourself scouring Ebay in the wee hours for a specific type of pleated trouser.
What made you decide to embark on WorkDuds as a duo?
We’ve been friends for almost two decades and have always shared a keen interest in menswear. There’s never really a moment when it isn’t at the forefront of our minds and the tips of our tongues, so seeing others share their style made us realise that we’d like to do the same.
Being partial to a bit of photography anyway, it was a fun way to channel our interest towards like-minded individuals…and give our friends ears a rest!
"We've always thought of style as an amorphous concept"
You mentioned that you met as the two tall slightly geeky kids at school, do you find that after all of this time that your personal style choices influence one another?
Definitely. To this day we’re still very much a point of reference for one and other.
Being the same size means that we have the crafty privilege of sharing clothes, which can be really helpful if we ever need to plug gaps in our wardrobe. Our taste is very similar, so it’s fair to say our style evolves in unison.
When one of us tries something new, or pulls something from the archives, it’s very common for the other to follow suit, or evolve the concept.
There is something quintessentially British about the way that you both dress, and it’s refreshing to see that you don’t push trends over style. Was this a conscious decision?
Pushing ‘timeless’ style over trends is definitely not a conscious decision on our part. Some trends are great. Classic style is great too, but sometimes it’s nice to move forward and experiment with it. We amend our style to what we find interesting, or what we’re inspired by - whether that’s a picture in a Sunday supplement, or your average guy walking down the street.
We’ve always thought of style as an amorphous concept – one day you might fancy an air of Carey Grant, another day you might exhibit an air of Carey Grant’s gardener. It’s really down to where your mood takes you.
The menswear landscape has been adapting in recent years, becoming much more sportswear focused. How do you predict men’s style to change in the near future?
We always talk about how fashion seems less tribalist these days. Of course, many people still enjoy classic looks - American heritage, streetstyle, classic British/Italian tailoring, but the lines are beginning to blur, which is really exciting as mixing the aforementioned can result in a totally fresh aesthetic.
Old sartorial ‘rules’ are being binned and we are all for it. Pair navy with black! Wear sandals with socks! Mix your metals! Just because someone says you can’t, doesn’t mean you should listen.
You’re finally making the jump from solely using Insta, and incorporating a website to the WorkDuds mix, what can people expect to find when they log on?
Our website will be a menswear destination charting the latest in style, fashion and brand news. We’re essentially graduating our Instagram account to something we’ve always wanted to create - a platform on which to share the most interesting fashion news, roundups and reviews of the latest drops, styled editorials and generally a journal for anyone looking for a captivating read.
A core focus of YSC is about celebrating the “Everyman” so it would be great to know what you think are the qualities that make for an everyman?
We’ve talked a lot about this and it’s actually been really cathartic to ringfence the precise qualities that make an everyman. Something to aspire to!
For us, it’s living true, caring for your friends and family, being understated and mastering the art of subtlety. Oh and manners maketh the man! Being kind and polite is important. We’d also like to think an everyman is marked by their routine and relishes the simple pleasures in life, whether it’s coffee on a cold morning, or beers on a warm evening.
Make sure to head over to the WorkDuds website when it launches in the coming weeks, but for now keep watch of their instagram for daily updates.
Both Dan and Alex have impeccable style and taste, and we're looking forward to working with them again in the near future.
Images by Scott Duncan