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THE MAN WHO LOVES WACKY SUITS
WE TRACK DOWN JUDE RANASINGHE, ONE OF GRESHAM BLAKE’S MOST CREATIVE CLIENTS
Jude Ranasinghe is a man that has a pleasant lassitude for contemporary Menswear. Speaking to him earlier this week I could sense he isn't so much indifferent to current trends, but dispassionate and wearisome. I sensed a hollowness in his sartorial appetite. A voracious appetite that can only be satiated, nay, nourished with garish flamboyance. On our first introduction he was wearing his bespoke Gresham Blake suit, entirely ladled with digitally printed calling cards. I didn't know whether to photograph the man, ask for his autograph or write down a number from one of the calling cards I was coveting.
“I think men's fashion isn't very interesting generally - even in London. I buy stuff online and from bigger fashion houses but I find it difficult getting anything interesting - Gresham suits my style. It's about as bespoke as you can get really. I first walked past Gresham's place 5 years ago in Brighton, an eclectic store with very vibrant colours and interesting designs. Initially I bought off the peg shirts but we soon collaborated on some things that were more unique and bespoke. The images and graphics are created digitally on PC from photos, then printed onto a suit fabric - generally a plain background piece of cloth like any other fabric which is made into suit material.” – Jude Ranasinghe.
We conversed tepidly at a book launch but that suit was more memorable than the short exchange (I spent the night entirely in the shadow of Steve Coogan, laughing at his quips like a disgusting sycophant). It wasn't until years later that I was rifling nostalgically through the Gresham Blake lookbook and found Jude nestled between the pages of Christian Slater and Ray Winstone (Possibly not chronologically correct but I don't have the book to hand as I write this so allow me some artistic license). I reached out to him and when we spoke again I initially found him quite taciturn. By no means rude, but surprisingly reserved, cordial and unassuming. Hardly congruent with the loudness of his suits. Was this merely a front? A masterclass in peacocking?
“It’s not a deep seated psychological issue. I've done it for so long that I now feel underdressed if I go out in jeans and a shirt. I have about 15 whacky suits and I wear them all the time, whenever I go out to a restaurant and meetings etc. The reactions are 99% positive - some people think It’s weird and school kids will laugh but generally people are really positive. If you see women wearing whacky outfits nobody bats an eyelid, but as soon as a man goes whacky with his style you get much more attention. People have tattoos everywhere and that's considered normal these days. I don't have any tattoos, but I have brightly coloured suits and that’s considered crazy.”
Jude Ranasinghe and Gresham Blake are currently in talks about an exhibition of his suits to showcase Jude Ranasinghe’s personal suit collection, so stay tuned and watch this space. To hear more about the process of making a bespoke suit listen to Gresham Blake on the MenswearStyle Podcast.