Man up for a classic summer
Melissa Chrys asks Simon Lyssiotis from Melbourne-based t-shirt label Fontaine what should men be wearing this summer
Summer fashion can be tricky for men; a minefield of luridly coloured t-shirts and board shorts, flimsy singlets and inappropriate shoe options. But Simon Lyssiotis from Melbourne-based t-shirt label Fontaine says men can minimise summer fashion disasters by sticking to a classic summer wardrobe. This means basics like good quality t-shirts, shorts and pants, basic linen pieces, great shoes and strong accessories. "We do a lot of research on trends coming from Europe and New York and have found that the classic look is very strong. This means pieces with classic cuts; slim fit t-shirts and classic crew necks. Also, the v-neck is making a very strong comeback this season.
"While the styling is very classic, the spring/summer colour palette reflects more than basic black and white. It is all about dull, earthy colours; subdued greens and pinks, vintage blacks and cool dark blues are everywhere. "Linen is also great for men in summer," adds Simon. "A linen shirt or pants always looks great and is easy to accessorise with. A pair of linen pants paired with a great t-shirt and a panama hat is an easy summer look." Accessories are a key addition to any man's summer wardrobe, particularly hats and scarves.
"Classic hats, not caps, are another key trend," says Simon. "Panama hats are very cool for spring/summer, as are light summer scarves. A trend we've seen come out of the European summer is the idea of using a coloured silk scarf instead of a belt in your jeans or shorts." Simon recommends investing in a pair of smart casual shoes that can be worn easily with trousers, jeans or shorts; the Otto Black style by Antoine & Stanley is a great option. Simon Lyssiotis started his t-shirt label Fontaine in 2010.
"My background isn't fashion," he says "I got a job in corporate marketing straight out of university and did a lot of travelling, but soon realised I wasn't interested in having a corporate career.
"In 2009 I made a pact with myself that I would leave my job and pursue my real passion. "My vision is that Fontaine will become Australia's haute couture men's t-shirt fashion label. I believe I'm giving the market what it has been lacking - serious artistry in t-shirt prints, combined with high quality fabrics and fantastic cuts." Simon's vision is quickly becoming a reality. He started his online store in December 2010 and today Fontaine t-shirts are sold in 34 boutiques throughout the Australia. His first collection, Dream of Passion, reflected Simon's exodus from the corporate world.
He is currently working on his next collection, which will also have a unique theme and story behind it. "I don't have any experience working in fashion," says Simon. "I have no formal training and never even worked in a clothing store. But I have always been a very creative person and I'm a very quick learner. When I decided to start this brand, I worked hard to find out everything I could about the market and manufacturing and I designed my first pattern from scratch. "Everything in the Fontaine collection is done from scratch and it's all made here in Melbourne."
Simon's advice for aspiring designers and entrepreneurs is simple. "My attitude is to follow you heart and to be brave enough to do what you want to do. I think our society is too timid and too well-conditioned by expectations. You can't worry about society or other people's expectations; you have to do what you love. If you want to do something, you have to get it done, no one else is going to do it for you." For Fontaine stockists or to purchase from the online store, visit www.fontaine-designs.com
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