Image by Neil Bedford for MR PORTER
Tell us about your job as a brand and content director and what do you do daily?
For 10 years I was the brand and content director of Mr Porter. Initially my role was to shape the tone, voice and look of Mr Porter and make sure that every touchpoint it had with its consumers was on brand. Content was a key part of Mr Porter’s DNA across all its platforms; the tool with which we informed and entertained the customer…and inspired them to shop. It was such a privilege to watch the business grow from stocking 72 brands to over 700 by the time I left. Now I consult for brands who want to engage with their consumer in a meaningful way; to have a dialogue with their customers rather than just talk at them.
I understand you are now an author-tell us about your book.
I have a book coming out on May 20 called Vain Glorious: A Shameless Guide for Men Who Want To Look Their Best. It will hopefully be seen as a humorous, honest and helpful walk through the trends and insecurities that shape how men dress, look and see themselves. I also test different treatments and share some of my hit-and-miss style and grooming adventures.
"there are so many treatments and products that can help us to look and feel as good as we want to"
Tell us about the importance of grooming for you.
I like to look the best I can. Not always an easy task. But today there are so many treatments and products that can help us to look and feel as good as we want to. I don’t think men should be made to feel ashamed of working hard to look good; but nor should they be remotely worried if that’s not there thing, either. Luckily, there’s a lot more choice and a lot less judgment out there. Whether it’s justified or not, I like the fact that the beauty industry has rebranded itself as a self-care one. It’s a very healthy approach.
Have you seen health and wellness and men’s grooming shift in the past few years?
There has been an extraordinary shift. Medical advances have opened up all sorts of paths to wellness and beauty: whether that’s aesthetic treatments, the rise of supplements, apps that give us a proper insight into our health and exercise programs, more knowledge of what we should be eating, and more insight into how harmful or helpful the products we choose are to the environment around us.
I know you live up in the lake district of England surrounded by nature. What does the environment and nature mean to you and what do you think companies should be doing to be more environmentally conscious?
Climbing some of the UK’s highest mountain ranges has been so important for my physical and mental health. Looking down from a mountain peak literally gives you a new perspective on life; it has helped me deal with the stresses and changes that the pandemic has brought to us all. It has also emphasised the importance nature and its ingredients can play in every aspect of our lives if we let it and respect it. The beauty industry is working hard to combine the effectiveness of both science and nature as a powerful duo.
Who is your design icon and why?
My design icons are, firstly, the late Sir Terence Conran, founder of Habitat. Not many men get to invent the way an entire nation lives and decorates and even cooks through a democratic rather than dictatorial approach to design and lifestyle. His influence and his eye were extraordinary.
Fashion-wise, my style icon is Halston. He dressed himself, his homes and his clients impeccably. He wore very little colour aside from his red socks; his house had very little colour, apart from a red blanket. And boy did he know how to party.
How are you doing considering the current state of the world?
It’s tough. Although I’m very lucky to live here, and to have my health, I worry for my children’s futures, I miss my friends, I miss the freedom to go out at will, I miss candles flickering on restaurant tables, I miss martinis brought by waiters, I miss the hustle-and-bustle energy of collaborative office working.
"Community to me is being part of something you care about that you share with people you care about"
What does community mean to you?
Community to me is being part of something you care about that you share with people you care about. Work communities, family communities, friend communities, habitat communities…
How has life during a pandemic changed how you look at self-care?
I’ve had more time to experiment and test different products; more time to research about the products I’m interested in; more time to look at the ethics and aims of the businesses I buy from. It’s made me embrace a more holistic approach, for sure.
How do you normally start your day? Do you have any rituals?
I wake up at 6am and listen to the Today show on BBC Radio 4 for 60 minutes. Then shower, brew the coffee, feed the dogs and chickens, check on the horses, wander around the garden and then read the news online over two cups of coffee and some sourdough (predictable, I know). And then a quick run before starting work.
Do you have favourite products you use as part of your daily grooming routine?
Yes, I use a local brand called PureLakes for the shower, and a shampoo bar by another local company, called Shoreline. I use some hyaluronic acid from the Inkey List and a Niacinamide Powder by The Ordinary along with Caffeine Eye Serum by Q&A in the morning to feed and refresh my skin. In the evenings, I’ll dab on some Retinol eye cream by The Inkey List and A Good Night face moisturiser by Dr David Jack.
How do you balance yourself alongside the current daily news and world events?
I spent 12 years working for newspapers so I’m addicted to news. I wake up in the morning listening to it. And sometimes what I hear reported makes my stomach churn with stress. To combat this I go for a run in the morning to shake off the stress and at least once a week go for a long hike or climb. I always come back feeling less stressed and more optimistic that things can and will change.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be...
An architect. I’m obsessed with property and would love to design and build my own.
An object I would never part with is...
My signed copy of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. My favourite writer. He wrote the most perfect, crisp sentences.
If I didn’t live in England I would live in X and why?
The south of France, near Grasse. My grandparents lived there and I used to spend summer holidays with them. It is a beautiful part of the world that holds beautiful memories for me.
The last music I listened to is...
Watch This Liquid Pour Itself by Okay Kaya. Beguiling and calming.
The Books on my bedside are currently...
Revelations, a biography of Francis Bacon by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swann. Shuggie Bain, an extraordinary novel by Scots writer Douglas Stuart. All The Young Men: How one woman risked it all to care fo the dying. By Ruth Coker Burks. A heartbreaking and heartwarming memoir by an amazing woman who selflessly helped those men dying from Aids who had been abandoned by their families.
The one artist I would collect if I could would be...
The abstract expressionist Clyfford Still
Jeremy’S LATEST BOOK,
Vain Glorious: A Shameless Guide for Men Who Want To Look Their Best IS AVAILABLE > HERE