The Garmsman dozen #4: Roland from Italy

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Welcome to the fourth instalment of the “Garmsman Dozen” question and answer session. The response to the first weeks has been tremendous. Did you miss earlier articles? There are links at the bottom of this page.

This week we welcome Roland from Italy!

Who are you, where do you live and what interests you?

Name: Roland, approaching relentlessly the 50ieth spring on earth
Instagram: roland_novak
Location: Situated in the mountainous north of Italy
Job/hobbies: Storytelling Nerd in my blog (rolandnovak.com) and on IG (roland_novak), developing photographic series, sequences, themes and stories around items
visible and not. Usually, those items inspire me to outline a story in which they could have played a role. The outfit should help locate the story and/or emphasize certain aspects of the
storyline. Life wise a music teacher (electric guitar), to satisfy my daily needs, composer and guitarist in the rockabilly group William T (www.williamt.net) to satisfy my lust for the stage.
I admit I have an issue there with collecting things. I generally hoard way too much, but on the other hand, none of those items are meaningless, at least to me. Clothes and general
knowledge about what we put on our naked beings every day is a crucial cultural aspect I tend to emphasize in my daily inter-human relationships since everybody around tries to be
conscious of what he eats, what he drinks, but the aspect of what we wear is not really consciously thought about.
 

Thinking back to your childhood, what were your most memorable or favourite clothes?

My first attempt to consciously get out on the streets with a style that I loved and still love, was, when I discovered my dads tailored wedding suit. It was a black pinstriped
wool mix trouser, high waisted, but definitely tapered, and a three button jacket, very fitted, since it all was made in the early 60is. In the years I wore the jacket with jeans,
with white shirts, with ties, on stage, in everyday school life and so on. Now I just have to remember where I put it… I certainly wonʼt fit in it any more, but at least I
could take a decent photo. I would definitely try it and wear it, though 😉

How would you describe your style today, and what are your influences?

Today I am still in love with high waisted trousers, wool in the winter, denim or cotton chinos in the summer, preferably with a military design background (love the m51 or
Korean era cargo pants) and/or workwear inspired, coupled with different layers in the winter and lighter layering in the summer. Since the references through the years
became more selected, today I would say I have a strong so-called heritage/vintage inflection, durability and longevity is a crucial point in choosing the garments, natural
fibres are a key element, although you never can completely avoid synthetic fibres. Since I live in a mountainous region thereʼs a long tradition of outdoor-ready wool
mixes and thatʼs my main go-to winter fabric. Linen, cotton and recently the newly rediscovered hemp are the fabrics of my favourite summer garments.

What are your best tips for buying?

I am a collector. Now I said it 😉 I collect vintage clothes (military provenance) and try to get single pieces from collections from a definite group of makers/designers. Since
I live in Italy, there are a few manufacturers/designer that I love the collections of and try to buy some of it when I can get my hands on. The discerning element remains
the fit. All of the makers/designers collections fit my not so standard body shape/measures: Most of all the collections of Max Rohr made for Maglificio
GRP (available among others at the ULTRA Shop Florence), the THE_GOOD_KIDZ and VV_KIDZ collections (both made for and available in Florence at the Dexter
Store), the Manifattura Ceccarelli work jacket, that I love truly, and the naval-inspired Cpt. Santors clothes (which I both can get at my hometown shop, the Sublime run by
the beautiful Miss Karin and her husband Lukas). I also have a few pieces of Mikas Fleur des Bagne, Scartilab and so on. On the denim side, there is (among the classic
brands such as Leviʼs Vintage, Edwin, Studio DʼArtisan, Rising Sun …) this guy from Ohio, Zace Mayers, whose Denim pants and Overalls I wonʼt live without. And thereʼs
always the same reason why I love them: they fit me. I experienced a lot of unpleasant encounters in trying to fit in, say, different manufacturers pants and
jackets, especially the main so-called Italian fashion brands. Unfortunately, I am a so-called “finto magro”, which best translates in “falsely accused of looking slim”. This
causes me to look out for pants and fits that have at least a 36” waist and with that, I am on the higher limit of what most manufacturers produce, especially the Italian.

How do you think others would describe your style and garments, do you get any reaction from friends and random strangers?

Wearing these clothes in everyday life makes me, at least in my hometown, one of say 20 guys that consciously select their wardrobe in this vintage-inspired/workwear
inspired style. Since I love caps, hats, pocket squares and ties too, or different neckwear, thereʼs always a certain amount of “cared for style”, and the reactions
usually are between “ok, he is not from here”, or “this outfit, oh my!”, or, especially from the female part, “ok, they still exist, men who care about their individual style
and invest some time caring for it, although he seems to come out from a historic movie”.

When putting together an outfit combination, do you spend a lot of time considering it?

I usually decide in the early morning hours, depending on the weather forecast, which items to put on. So, usually for trousers, I will keep the same for a few days, same for
jackets, shirt has to change two or three times a day depending on the amount of time spent outside, tie remains for a few days, as do socks (sic!) and shoes/boots.

Most garmsmen will have a few “grail items” in their collection. Not to out you, but if your house is burning, which garments do you grab?

Definitely, my vintage items are my grail items, so theyʼll be those to pick in case of having just one choice ;-).

Having a large collection of clothes can lead to changing outfit on a daily basis, but if you were going to wear a single outfit the next two weeks, what would it be?

These, the vintage items, would also be the one I could wear for a longer period, without changing much, well at least a fresh shirt once a day, or, on the other hand,
when I am on vacation with my family, in winter thereʼll be military wool, otherwise thereʼs just layers of denim, a few shirts, a tie/bandana, a cap/hat, some decent white
Brando style T, and a trusty pair of Beckmans. Usually, my choice of garments will increase the longer the journey is, since I try to hunt down specialized stores
everywhere I get.

Does your interest in clothes influence other aspects of your life?

I would say itʼs the contrary, my different activities, from music teacher to rockabilly guitarist and occasional IGrammer and model for my stories, influence my interest in
clothes. On the other hand, I get a lot of inspiration from the fellows on IG.

Who are your favourite Instagram profiles?

The ones that influence me 😉 For example, if Iʼd plan to visit Norway, or Sweden, or the UK, or even the Californian Sun, then, thanks to some random unique IG fellows,
I already know, there are for sure some places I would visit. Those are my favourite, and I continue to discover new ones on a weekly basis 😉

If your clothes need repairs or alterations, do you do it yourself?

I usually take a small sewing set with me, but Iʼll use it only for small repairs, such as fixing a button or a small tear that could happen. Otherwise, I rely on experienced
craftsmanship in my hometown.

Do you have a good style or garment based story?

Determining in hindsight the sparkle that blew this flame is the easier task then foreseeing future developments. It was exactly in the year 1977 when the death of
Elvis A. Presley and his subsequent heroisation through a constant stream of his films and movies on TV lead to an extended interest in the cultural background he
lived in. He had the looks, the voice, the moves, the facial expressions, the clothes and showed me a direct link to the images these clothes formed. He not only
influenced me musically but also in his aesthetics and some of his personas still remain a style inspiration for me. Subsequently, there were obviously the John
Wayne, Sam Shepard, Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, James Stewart, James Dean, Stewart Granger etc. So, to cut a long story short (40 years in a few words is not
easy), my socialization in all matters regarding style happened through movies.
Living it out in everyday life was not always economically feasible and rewarded with social acceptance, but it was tempting. So I went through different stages of style
evolution and experimenting and I still am. There is though a basic imagery I tend to aspire when deciding what clothes to put on, and this obviously comes from the 40is
to 59s, those movies, that music, that street style, that formal and casual wear still is my main reference.

How do you think trends such as denim and heritage style will evolve and survive? What will be the next big thing?

Not sure about this. I just can hope, that the “slow-everything” trend will continue and emancipate itself from food to clothes. With this I am sure, issues such as longevity,
sustainability, but also research on the history of textiles and clothing styles will become more prominent and this will have an impact on our everyday wear, though I
think there will always be the nerdier part of the style conscientious / style aware wearer (both male and female) that will proudly wear what others wonʼt 😉

 

Thank you, Roland!
Did you miss the first Garmsman Dozens?

PS: If you have suggestions for participants, let me know. Or have your mother suggest you, if you’re a bit keen to suggest yourself. My email is WellDressedDad (@) gmail.com

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4 Comments

  • Roland Novak 11/03/2018 at 09:57

    Thank you Nick! Honored to take part in this series!

    Reply
    • nick 11/03/2018 at 11:14

      It’s an honour to have you take part!

      Reply
  • shaun brown 12/03/2018 at 15:45

    A great read Roland, and its good to know you a bit better.

    Reply
    • Roland Novak 12/03/2018 at 18:29

      Thank you 🙏

      Reply

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