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IN CONVERSATION WITH… CALUM BEST
THE FACE OF BURTON MENSWEAR FOR AUTUMN/WINTER 2015
Everyone goes through phases in their life when they are not entirely happy with their personal style. Style is a very personal thing and can sometimes depict what point you are at in your life and this in turn can constantly change. One person in particular who has been through various changes in their life is Calum Best. Having been faced with many struggles and challenges throughout his life, Calum has recently decided to radically transform his lifestyle, which has not just included his fitness and health, but also the style of clothing he chooses to wear.
Calum has not exactly been portrayed in the best light in the press in previous years, however he is now wiping the slate clean by becoming the fresh face of one of the UK’s leading high street menswear brands. Burton has teamed up with Calum, for AW15, to produce a new collection that reflects this transformation. It focuses on the transition from boyhood into becoming a more mature gentleman, which is evident throughout this collection with its very smart and sophisticated tailored pieces. A three-piece navy suit, tapered casual trousers and a slate grey overcoat, all help create a very clean looking collection which I believe would appeal to every man looking for this sort of style. MWS had the opportunity to speak to Calum about his project with Burton, his thoughts about fashion and his personal style.
What does fashion mean to you?
"Fashion and style is an expansion of your personality, it can show where you’ve been and where you’re going to. It can be very personal and important."
At what age do you think you really started to take notice of how you looked and what you wore?
"I would say it was in my early teens growing up in Malibu on the beach. As you can imagine the style was very laid back, ripped jeans and Converse. Really easy style."
Why did you choose to start a collaboration with Burton? What do you like about Burton as a brand?
"I’m more of a brand ambassador than a collaborator really. The AW15 campaign was all about providing grown-up pieces for guys who’ve entered a new stage of maturity in their lives. That’s definitely something I can relate to in recent years. As I’ve got older my style has got a lot more classic and I’d rather not buy something that is not going to be in style in 12 months time. I love that the collection is based around timeless menswear pieces that you build your wardrobe around rather than focusing on trend pieces that may not be so stylish the next year."
You have recently been quite open about how you want to transition from a supposed 'party boy' into more of a 'gentleman', what has instigated this change and why have you chosen to do this now?
"This wasn’t really an overnight process or decision. It’s something I’ve worked on for many years and the future is all about how I express my maturity. I’m reflective of my past as it’s made me who I am but I’m definitely all about looking to the future now."
What three pieces do you believe are the most important to have in your wardrobe?
"You should always have a tailored three-piece suit in your wardrobe. Obviously it’s not something you’re going to wear every day but you should always be prepared, you never know when you might get invited to something formal. It takes time to find the right suit so it’s not something you can easily rush out and buy. Then I’d say a pair of black skinny jeans, they’re easy to dress up or down depending on the occasion and always look pretty sharp. Finally I’d say a black leather jacket, a total classic and will always look effortlessly cool. It’s easy to wear and instantly adds cool factor to your look."
Do you personally prefer to buy a lot of different clothes or would you rather have a few classic quality pieces?
"I’d rather buy a few classic, quality pieces each season and then build up my wardrobe around those. It’s exactly why I wanted to work with Burton on their collection this season as that’s what it’s all about."
Do you prefer to shop online, or in a store?
"I still prefer to shop in-store. I like to see things for myself, to try things on and to touch them."
Who would you say inspires you in men's fashion?
"From the past it has got to be Marlon Brando and James Dean. They both had such a great attitude to style and always looked so good but not too try-hard. Their clothes didn’t overshadow them or their careers but they still looked so great. In terms of the future, I kind of make my own decisions. I’ve become a lot more comfortable in my own skin to happy to make my own decisions."
In your new campaign with Burton you are modelling a variety of suits, what would you say are the key elements to a well-tailored suit?
"Cut, fit, attention to detail and comfort. You still need to move around in a suit so make sure it fits properly to allow for movement."
How would you describe your personal style on a day-to-day basis?
"On an average day I’m usually in gym gear and casual daywear. However I still like to look smart. Just because something’s casual or sporty it doesn’t mean it can’t look good. I like things to look as neat as if they’re straight out of the box."
Do you think men are taking more notice of how they look nowadays? Do you think the general variety of choice in men's fashion is improving?
"Overall I’ve noticed that men are taking more care of themselves in terms of gym, diet and fashion. There’s less of a stigma to those things now and it’s good that things have become more about health than vanity. I think choice in men’s fashion has definitely improved. The high street is doing some great things and you can get great investment pieces for some really good prices. Burton has nailed it this season."