KISHStyle: My style took decades to evolve
Instagram is fast becoming the go to for fashion-savvy men seeking inspiration and style tips. Over the past few months, one account in particular @stylebykish, managed by the stylist and Creative Director of KISHWear – Kish Raveendran, has peeked our interest. You will have come across images of 28 year-old Kish from New York Men’s Fashion Week and Pitti Uomo strewn across the best street style blogs and most recently on GQ, New York Post and Glamour. So when I heard that the Sri Lankan born KISHStyle blogger was in town visiting from his current base in Toronto, Canada I had to meet him. The one place suitably suave to host such a meet was the lobby bar of One Aldwych Hotel, fast becoming one of London’s hottest spots.
London is one of the most stylistically advanced cities … Londoners know how to take risk
GS: You have just returned from Pitti Uomo SS16. How were the shows?
KR: I was back from Pitti and travelling all over Europe for a month, it was an absolutely amazing experience. I go every year because I get to meet the most incredible talent, brands and creative forerunners in men’s fashion.
GS: Why is this bi-annual event generally lauded as the most important in menswear?
KR: Because it educates and is informative for all those that intend to learn more about the men’s fashion industry and keeps you up-to-date on what’s trending. It’s also a think tank and great collective energy for networking and discussing brand, social media and influencer marketing with your fellow peers.
GS: You have spent the last month travelling through several countries. Which country in your opinion are men ‘stylistically’ the most advanced?
KR: Each country has its own sensibilities, however I would say London is one of the most stylistically advanced cities from what I seen during my recent travels. Londoners know how to take risk.
GS: In your opinion, are South Asian men becoming more style conscious?
KR: There are too few South Asian men really conscious about fashion however, I feel it’s part of our more reserved culture and it’s hard for us to not worry about how our own community perceives or will think about us. Even my style took decades to evolve and took time to not to worry about what other people think of me.
GS: You recently established your own brand KISHStyle. What does your brand specialise in?
KR: KISHStyle is a platform for cutting edge men’s fashion – what inspires me and which brands that I feel people should know about to incorporate in their daily lives.
Social media really gets you out there if you do it right
GS: I’m a huge personal fan of your Instagram page. How important has this been in establishing your brand?
KR: Thank you for that compliment – Instagram is huge nowadays and is a very integral platform in conveying my fashion sensibilities to the world. I feel like this is where my followers get to know me, see my work, see what inspires me and in turn elevate their style.
GS: How has social media changed the menswear industry and allowed people like you to become an authority in men’s style?
KR: You cannot get away with having poorly managed social media accounts. Most people now check their social media accounts before their email or doing anything else on their phones. It allows your audience and fan base to authentically get to know you, your aesthetic and most importantly, the ethos of the person or brand you follow. Social media really gets you out there if you do it right.
My style inspiration is David Gandy – he is the quintessential stylish man
GS: I’ve always wanted to ask you this. How much do you spend on clothes each month?!
KR: Ha! Good question. I get asked that a lot. In the beginning I used to spend an average of $2000 dollars a month, but this can go up or down as you constantly have brands that want you to promote their line and usually everyone offers product in return for the brand integration. They want you wearing their stuff.
GS: In your home city of Toronto, you are widely regarded as one of its most stylish inhabitants. Are you comfortable with being a style icon?
KR: It took me a minute but I have now gotten comfortable with that term and being referred to as a style icon. When people tell me they follow me and my blog inspires them, it’s a validation that they appreciate the style choices that I have developed over all these years and continually push to evolve.
GS: Who are your style icons?
KR: My personal style inspiration is David Gandy – he is the quintessential stylish man. His eye and ability to put style pieces together are great. I also get a lot of my style inspiration from other blogs, social media, magazines, trade publications, red carpets and fashion shows.
GS: What do you enjoy more, styling yourself or others?
KR: I really do love both. Styling myself is easier because I can just plan an outfit in my head, experiment and just put it on. Styling others is little more complex because you have to really dig in and get to know the person, their occupation, lifestyle, personal choices etcetera before you put them in the right clothes.
GS: Use 3 words to describe your style.
KR: Clean, classic and fitted.
GS: What would we find in excess in your wardrobe?
KR: Definitely blazers. I love all kind of blazers, preferably double breasted.
GS: Fashion aside what else are you passionate about?
KR: Beside fashion, I love music. It’s good for the soul and makes me happy.
GS: What are your future projects?
KR: That’s a big one. My goals are to continually inspire and take my fashion sensibilities to next level and educate the younger generation on style and fashion. Also, we are looking at expanding and taking KISHWear into other markets by the end of 2015.
Thanks to Morts & More for providing the awesome blazers.
For other interviews with on stylish Asian men take a read of these: