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Beyond the Sneaker I

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A monthly look at up and coming/current brands and people who inspire us...

colchester rubber co sneakers

Ian in his Colchesters

First up is Ian Riley from Fitmanstyle , Ian has a blog where he writes about style for the athletic man. We first met Ian nearly a year ago, and we really dig his style and outlook on life. You can also find him on instagram @fitmanstyle 

How long have you been an influencer for and what inspired you to get started?

Quite frankly, it wasn’t a goal. You can say I “fell” into it when I realized folks were coming up to me asking questions on how to dress better. These were general questions but I saw there was a certain group of men that were underserved in the style space, fit/athletic men. As a fellow gym rat who just so happens to like fashion, I figured why not create a platform were men like me can get tips on dressing well. Thus, Fit Man Style the youtube channel was born January 1st, 2017.

What is one of your most favorite looks to wear for casual, sporty and dressy?

It depends on the weather because New England weather has a mind of its own. Right now we’re in winter so for casual, bubble vest over a turtleneck sweater, chinos and sneakers (Colchesters most likely). Sporty, a shirt no tie layered with a zip up sweater and sportcoat, jeans with some suede chelsea boots. Dressy, two or three piece suit, shirt and tie, double monk straps.

As a fashion and instagram blogger, where do you draw your style inspiration from?

Trial and error, lol. As a fit man, you don’t know what fits you well so you have to go out there and try lots of brands. Some work out well, others you’ll waste your money on. For formal attire I love the subtle sophistication of the 1920s-1940s era. The three piece, braces, bold peak lapels, fedora type of gent is my style. For casual, I’m Americana all day.

What are some brands and/or people that really influence your fashion choices?

For brands, pretty much anything that can fit my broad shoulders and big quads. For people, I’d say the Italian Sprezzatura culture, The British class and elegance. When it comes to sartorial matters, Angel Bespoke on IG is the man, for more casual I look to Jose Zuniga over at Teaching Men’s Fashion.

Our Sneakers are based on American heritage and history, how has your heritage influenced your style and outlook?

That is something I want to do more of. Being African, there is so much style and culture I can incorporate into my personal style. We are known to show up and show out with bold colors and patterns. I need to start expressing that side of me in both formal and casual wear.

What’s your favorite outfit to pair with sneakers?

Jean jacket, V cut t-shirt and chinos

What’s it like living in the city where it all began… where basketball was first invented?

I came from Africa to Springfield MA in 2002 with no idea this was the birthplace of basketball. As soon as I arrived in June of that year Magic Johnson was being inducted in the Hall of Fame and was staying at the Sheraton down the block from my apartment. There was a rumor Jordan was around but that wasn’t true. That was when I realized the importance of my new home. It’s pretty cool to have the Hall of Fame right down the street, it shows that basketball was more than the players, the coaches and broadcasters all contributed to the sport we love. Colchester had an honorable mention in the timeline of basketball history.  Of course everyone in the city believes they can ball which isn’t the case and it’s pretty cool to host the various championship games during March Madness. You kind of get a glimpse of future stars.

Any advice for anyone who’s interested in becoming a fashion influencer?

Before you break the rules you must first know and respect them. I see too many guys trying so hard to be “extra”  and it makes their outfits look more like a costume than their authentic style. Just be yourself and let your style story speak for itself.

What goals do you have in the future in regards to your influencer career?

Honestly, the goal is to expand beyond cyberspace and into the real world. We live in a world where perception is everything. Your clothes introduce you before you even say a word. I want to reach out to the younger generation or pretty much any generation and teach them the importance of dressing well. Your appearance alone can open doors for you. In the beginning stages of an image consulting company.


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