Seersucker with Swagger feat. T-Michael

August 24th, 2015

I love when a designer takes something traditionally old-school and updates it in a unique and unexpected way. I especially like it when a designer takes something commonly associated with the preppy/WASPY lifestyle – like a seersucker fabric that you would expect to find in a Connecticut country club – and spins it into something cool, hip, and modern.

T-Michael is one of the hardest working menswear designers in the game. He creates multiple collections every season; for his own tailoring brand T-Michael, the incredibly crafty and functional Norwegian Rain, and numerous other product collaborations from eyewear to luggage to footwear.

On a more personal note, he’s a worldly man with a smart British accent and a calm, cool, confident demeanor. He’s the type of guy that people gravitate toward in the room, both because of his unique sense of personal style and his suave, not-trying-too-hard disposition.

We caught up with T-Michael at the Liberty Fairs menswear show to share a little more about his story, and of course, his world-class personal style.

Gingham Seersucker DBmensstyletmichael (12 of 22)

Seersucker is not just a blue stripe. It’s simply a style of “ribbed & crinkled” cotton fabric that can be weaved into any size, proportion, color, pattern, etc.

Here T-Michael gives us a glimpse at a rare gingham seersucker fabric in navy/white (could there be a more perfect summer fabric?), cut in an even-more-rare 2×1 pocketless double-breasted suit.

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“I was born in Accra Ghana and spent my teenage years in London. I finally ended up in Bergen, Norway by way of love. My ex-wife is Norwegian, hence my relocation. Bergen is one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

Growing up in Accra meant we were always spruced up for church on Sundays. We didn’t have that much, but we took good care of what we had. Our clothing was tailored by local tailors…but this wasn’t a ‘cool’ thing at that time. Most of us in Ghana were more interested in the American influences; jeans and t-shirt culture. When I moved to London I was presented a whole new direction. You had tailoring based purely on tradition, then there was tailoring juxtaposed with the immigrant styles of the Africans and the West indians, and then there was the tailored style mashed up with the punk movement! The options were endless and it was an exciting time.

Today I’m a bespoke tailor/ shoe designer/ bag maker / film dabbler… I’ve worked all kinds of jobs along the way, from restaurant work, to sales, to clothing. I was a late starter I suppose, starting my current journey at the age of 27. I finished tailoring school at the age of 29 and opened my studio on my 30th birthday! I believe it was the right thing at the right time, backed by a tremendous amount of work, determination, motivation…and just not fucking giving up!”

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  • Eyewear T-Michael x Ralph Vaessen ·
  • White band collar shirt by T-Michael ·
  • Chunky bracelet by Yvonne Kone ·
  • Chunky ring by Ziva Jelnikar (Bergen) ·
  • Split stingray Ring by Henson (Syndey) ·
  • Brown perforated loafers by T-Michael
  • · Gingham Seersucker Suit

Gray Shadowcheck Performance Wool Suit

Burgundy Dyed Seersucker

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Speaking of over-dyed seersucker, this is one of my favorite interpretations of the season.

T-Michael puts an incredible amount of detail into each garment that he designs, many of which will go unnoticed by anybody other than the wearer. Check out the hidden chest pockets, the built-in patch pockets, the turned-up sleeves, the french-cuffed band collar shirt, etc.

The true genius of his functional design is fully realized in the rainwear pieces he creates for Norwegian Rain; easily the most style-forward weatherproof brand on the market. Turns out Bergen Norway is the rainiest city in Europe and one of the wettest climates in the world.

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I’m a product of all the things I do and the people I surround myself with. So, what I wear mirrors what I do, and vice versa. Needless to say, first impressions matter and the way one dresses – and more importantly the way one carries himself – can determine the way he is treated, evaluated and perceived. 

Style is in constant movement. It’s about evolving gracefully (hopefully) with the years and becoming more tasteful and specific. I’m still on my journey…but I’m at ease with myself now and everyday dressing has become very easy. I believe in uniforms. Having a set way of dressing. I only wear white shirts at the moment, for example, and it’s either a suit or a jacket/trouser combo.

My style, if I had to define it, is a blend of classic and contemporary. It’s traditional with subtle hints of eccentricity.”

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  • Eyewear T-Michael x Ralph Vaessen ·
  • White band collar shirt by T-Michael ·
  • Chunky bracelet by Yvonne Kone ·
  • Split stingray Ring by Henson (Syndey) ·
  • Chunky ring by Ziva Jelnikar (Bergen) ·
  • Leather zip sandal loafer boots by T-Michael
  • · Burgundy Seersucker Suit

Burgundy Worsted Suit

Whipcord With a Twist

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Last but not least, the whipcord seersucker suit.

This fabric is the most “traditional” of the three (since it’s white & blue striped) but the scale of the the “ribbing” is much smaller/tighter, making it a “whipcord” rather than a traditional seersucker. The thinner scale makes the fabric a little less “country club” and a little more “city streets”.

Again, it’s all about the details (including the fit and accessories) that modernize this old-school fabric and make the look cool and current.

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“Inspiration comes from all around. The more you look, the more it reveals itself. Eyes wide open folks! 

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic creatives including Matteo Gioli (Super Duper Hats), Sam Lambert & Shaka Maidoh (Art Comes First), Kalaf Angelo (author/poet), Aroun Ducroux (Lotho Eyewear), and so many others. Collaborating with talented creative people always leaves a lasting impression on me…it’s always pleasure to follow and watch what these guys are up to. It inspires me to dig deeper!

At the moment I am working on Autumn/Winter 2016 for both T-Michael and Norwegian Rain. I will be doing some work with Rocco Shoes, a pop up shop Barney’s Ginza Tokyo in October, and another event at H. Lorenzo on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles this November. For Norwegian Rain, we have a shoe project in the works with Grenson and a bag project we’re developing with Ally Cappellino… No rest for the wicked!”

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Any last words of advice for our readers looking to up their style?

“Be a Gentleman. At all times. Always!”

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  • Eyewear T-Michael x Ralph Vaessen ·
  • White band collar shirt by T-Michael ·
  • Chunky bracelet by Yvonne Kone ·
  • Black perforated leather loafers by T-Michael
  • · Whipcord Seersucker Suit

Stone Chalkstripe Suit

Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to T-Michael for participating. 

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

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